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Flügel, Peter (2019) 'The Nikkhamaṇa of Mahāvīra According to the Old Biographies.' In: Nagarajaiah, Hampa and Soni, Jayandra, (eds.), Cāruśrī: Essays in Honour of Svastiśrī Cārukīrti Bhaṭṭāraka Paṭṭācārya. Bengaluru: Sapna Book House, pp. 67-80.

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Abstract

The history of the Jaina ceremonies of ordination is yet to be investigated. Next to nothing is known about the missing links between contemporary practices and the ceremonies of ordination of common mendicants at the time of Mahāvīra and his immediate successors, as described in the hagiographic and narrative literature of the Jaina tradition. The only evidence we have on the world-renunciation of Mahāvīra are short descriptions in three of the earliest Śvetāmbara narratives of his life-story. Many of the contents in these accounts, such as interventions of the gods, are evidently legendary. Yet modern scholars regard at least some of the motifs of the highly stereotyped stories as rooted in historical fact, whether or not they reflecting Mahāvīra’s actual way of proceeding or practices prevalent in the Jaina tradition at a later time. The comparison of the overlapping, and partly contradictory, accounts of Mahāvīra’s world-renunciation demonstrates that only two elements of the plot-structures of the three narratives are invariably evident and hence considered essential: nikkhamaṇa and loya. The depiction of the so-called "self-ordination" of Mahāvīra are contrasted with canonical accounts of the ordination of common mendicants and the classical Jaina initiation procedures, which, it is argued, involve three basic steps: going forth, initiation, and ordination. The missing links in the development of monastic jurisprudence and ceremonial require further exploration.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Jaina, Ājīvika, Śvetāmbara, Āgama, Mahāvīra, Buddha, nikkhamaṇa, Prakrit, biography, narrative literature, plot-structure, history, Jaina renunciation, initiation and ordination ceremonies
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > Centre of Jaina Studies
Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
ISBN: 9789388913362
Date Deposited: 01 May 2019 13:06
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/30542
Related URLs: https://www.sapnaonline.com/ (Publisher URL)

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