April 15, 2016/ 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

243 Royce Hall, UCLA

What Did It Mean to Be Ordained as a Monk in Medieval Japanese Tendai?

Colloquium talk by Professor Paul Groner (University of Virginia)

When the founder of the Japanese Tendai precepts rejected the traditional Buddhist rules of monastic discipline, he set off a series of interpretations that would give Japanese monks a unique interpretation of monastic discipline, which often included sexual relations, drinking alcohol, and eating meat. They also identified ordination, traditionally considered to be an initiation into Buddhist groups, with the realization of advanced states on the Buddhist path. At the same time, medieval Japanese exegetes were aware that they differed from more traditional Buddhist practitioners and some were preoccupied with explaining their position. I look at how they explained and defended their interpretations.

Paul Groner received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Yale and spent most of his career at the University of Virginia. His research has focused on Japanese Tendai with an emphasis on the relation between institutional history and doctrine. His major publications are Saichō: The Establishment of the Japanese Tendai School and Ryōgen and Mount Hiei: Japanese Tendai in the Tenth Century. He has also written articles on the bodhisattva precepts, doctrinal justifications of violence, Eison and the establishment of the Shingon Ritsu tradition, and the biography of the monk who established the first public library in Japan.

Cost : Free and open to the public

Sponsor(s): Center for Buddhist Studies, Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, Asian Languages & Cultures