Series Four Volume 2

Śrāvaka Ordination in a Mahāyāna Embrace: Triple Platform Ordination in Chinese Buddhism

Abstract: The use of Chinese tradition bhikṣuṇī ordinations to revitalize female monastic lineages in other traditions has led to disputes as to their Mahāyāna status. Here we examine the Chinese Buddhist triple plat- form ordination in terms of its Mahāyānic features using a polythetic rather than monothetic definition of what constitutes Mahāyāna Buddhism. Our examination of these ordinations’ organizational structures, preceptors and preceptees, and daily lifestyle, as well as the rites themselves for each of the three ordinations and the instructive lectures that accompany the rites, reveals that the Mahāyāna spirit pervades and embraces the entirety of these ordinations.

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