Saturday, August 08, 2009

chapter headings

as i now near the close of the fifth and final chapter of my dissertation, i thought i'd share some quotes that i am placing at the beginning of each chapter, as an epigraph. each chapter itself in part constitutes a sort of reflection on the epigraph, so i will not try to comment on them here. with the exception of the first - a tibetan proverb - the rest all come from the mulasarvastivada vinaya.

"scriptural texts are like soft clay."

"Venerable Nandaka thought, 'Women have little wisdom,' and thinking that, he taught the Dharma [to a group of bhikṣuṇīs] with meanings, sentences and words that were abridged. Because they were wise, they asked him progressively difficult questions, to which Venerable Nandaka replied."

"In saṃsāra, without needing to direct efforts to it,
A body is extremely easy to attain.
In ten thousand million eons,
A worthy place to offer it is extremely hard to attain."
- Mahāsenā, after she had cut out a piece of her thigh to make a medicinal broth for an ailing bhikṣu. (Buddha compares her act to his own deeds as a bodhisattva, and then immediately thereafter bans monks from accepting human meat!)

"All girls are material to be sold by their parents; if my arm or legs are broken by my jumping up or falling down, who will ask for me? Instead, my whole life I would surely become something my parents had to take care of."
- Viśākhā, a young unmarried girl explains why she does not hop and skip like her friends.

"Dharmadattā said to her retinue, 'Sisters, the fact that the Lord has permitted bhikṣuṇīs to go forth, take full ordination and engage in bhikṣuṇīhood: This is all due to Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī.'"

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