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3. Paths of Monastic Practice from India to Sri Lanka: Responses to L.S. Cousins’ Work on Scholars and Meditators

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1. Title Title of document 3. Paths of Monastic Practice from India to Sri Lanka: Responses to L.S. Cousins’ Work on Scholars and Meditators - Buddhist Path, Buddhist Teachings
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Bradley Clough; University of Montana; United States
3. Subject Discipline(s) Religious Studies
4. Subject Keyword(s) Buddhist path; L.S. Cousins; Abhidhamma; Pali literature; meditation; Samantha Trust
5. Subject Subject classification Buddhist Studies; Asian Studies
6. Description Abstract In 1996, L. S Cousins published a groundbreaking piece on paths of monastic
practice titled ‘Scholar Monks and Meditator Monks Revisited’ (Powers and
Prebish 2009, 31–46). As the title suggests, this work reconsiders the role of
two types of monks, doing so by closely analyzing a famous sutta (Mahācunda
Sutta, A III 355–356) that depicts a strong dispute between jhāyins or ‘meditators’
and dhammayogas, whom scholarship has almost universally defined as
‘scholars’. Because of this, almost all have interpreted this debate as the first
sign in early Indian Buddhism of a great bifurcation in the saṅgha between
those concentrating on book learning (pariyatti) and those concentrating on
practice (paṭipatti) — a split that became more and more marked over the
centuries until the division became more or less official in medieval Sri Lanka.
Cousins convincingly contests this history, with one of his main points being
that the dhammayogas were not at all just scholars. Like the meditators, theirs
was a practical path that resulted in profound realization of the Dhamma,
albeit a different path from that of the meditators. Cousins then goes even
further, arguing that the split between scholars and meditators is not very
evident in South Asian Buddhist history until the time of Buddhaghosa and
thereafter. My intention here is to respond as fully as possible to Cousins’
methods and conclusions, by offering evidence and arguments that sometimes
support his work further and sometimes critique his work. This is done
in the spirit of spurring on more discussions on this important, complex, and
contested issue.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 08-Oct-2019
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.33385
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Buddhist Path, Buddhist Teachings
16. Language English=en en
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.)
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd