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|Title:||A Survey of Attitudes Towards Abortion in Indian Buddhist Monastic Literature|
|Keywords:||Buddhism, Abortion, Buddhist Monastic Literature, Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya, India, Indian Buddhism|
|Abstract:||Scholars, including Peter Harvey, Robert Florida and David Stott, assume that the authors/redactors of the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya—the monastic code of the Mūlasarvāstivāda school—agreed with those from the Theravāda school on the topic of abortion. This assumption appears to be primarily based on one prātimokṣa rule as it is found in two locations in the Tibetan Buddhist Canon. Moreover, a longstanding scholarly preference for sources extant in Pāli, such as the Theravāda Vinaya, and the preconceived notion that all Indian Buddhists were anti-abortion, impact contemporary studies of Buddhist attitudes towards abortion in Vinaya. The primary goal of this thesis is to offer an extensive comparison of passages related to abortion recorded in a number of locations in Buddhist monastic literature. I examine three main pieces of evidence: 1) the third pārājika rule addressing monastic involvement in homicide; 2) word-commentary and cases illustrating this rule; and 3) stories that do not illustrate a pārājika offence but include abortion in the narrative. Although Mūlasarvāstivādin authors/redactors, like their Theravādin counterparts, include anti-abortion attitudes in their monastic literature, I uncover a number of discrepancies in comparable passages related to abortion in the Vinaya of these two schools. To give but one example, Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādin and Mūlasarvāstivādin authors/redactors appear hesitant to include in their Vinayas narratives that portray monks assisting laywomen in procuring abortions: something the Theravādins record in a number of locations. While the ramifications of such differences are not immediately clear, we can at least conclude, in contrast to what previous studies imply, that Buddhist attitudes toward abortion are not recorded in a simple one-to-one correlation across extant Indian Vinayas.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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