Starting from the truism that the development of the early Buddhist monastic community evolved in dialogue with its wider North-Indian contexts, this PhD questions which precepts, terminology, narrative elements and structures of an important Buddhist monastic text, i.e. the Pāli Vinaya of the Theravāda school, are products of and best understood within the dynamic contexts of the early Buddhist tradition. This PhD researches how much of the early Buddhists’ inter-religious contact with contemporary ascetic or monastic communities, with a special focus on the Jain, can still be traced in this Pāli Vinaya.
This research hopes to offer an effective and much needed move away from the traditional stories concerning the development of the Buddhist monastic precepts and structures wherein (the authority of) the Buddha is having the central role, to the boundaries of the early Buddhist monastic community where ‘Buddhist’ identity was continuously being negotiated, just as the possibility of incorporating new, or differing and alternative ascetic ideas and praxes. By concentrating on the dialectic force of the monastic other on the development of the early Buddhist monastic community, I hope to successfully move the spotlight from the centre of the Buddhist community to its boundaries where the ‘flowing together of currents’ can be seen, or where, in short, the dynamics of “the making off” can still be best appreciated.