Multiple Mūlasarvāstivādin Monasticisms: On the Affiliation of the Tibetan Nuns' Lineages and Beyond
Dr. Shayne Clarke
Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University (Canada)
In this paper, I will discuss the various problems surrounding the corpus of Vinaya texts for nuns preserved in Tibetan. The nikāya affiliation of the Tibetan Bhikṣuṇī vibhaṅga was questioned as early as Bu sTon in the fourteenth century. More recently, doubts have been raised with regard to the affiliation of the Bhikṣuṇī prātimokṣa. I will attempt to demonstrate that the extant bhikṣuṇī textual materials can be divided into at least two distinct lineages, both of which are Mūlasarvāstivādin. Further, I will argue that the Bhikṣuṇī vibhaṅga preserved in the sTog and Shey Palace manuscript Kanjurs represents a unique tradition, differing not only from the Tshal pa lineage but also from other Them spangs ma lineages. Finally, I will examine evidence for multiple Mūlasarvāstivādin traditions beyond the problematic bhikṣuṇī corpus.