Published as “Texts Memorized, Texts Performed: A Reconsideration of the Role of Paritta in Sri Lankan Monastic Education.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 28(2), 339-367, December 2005.


During the past twenty years there has been a growing interest in monastic education within the larger field of Buddhist studies. Within the last ten years in particular, a number of monographs and articles examining the training and education of monks in Korea (Buswell [1992]), Tibet/India (Dreyfus [2003]), Thailand/Laos (Collins [1990], McDaniel [2002, 2003]), and Sri Lanka (Blackburn [1999a, 1999b, 2001] Samuels [2002]), have been published. Many of those works have paid particular attention to the texts used in monastic training, as well as to how the information contained in those very texts is imparted to and embodied by monks and novices.

While the growing attention to Buddhist education and training texts certainly provides us with a more considerable understanding of monastic culture, focusing exclusively on the contents of texts and handbooks used in the training of monks and novices neglects other forms of monastic learning. Indeed, several scholars (Keyes [1983], Blackburn [2001], Dreyfus [2003], Samuels [2004]) have recently begun to explore more diffuse ways in which monastic ideals become transmitted to newcomers to the sangha as well as to examine how learning in monasteries generates monastic identities.


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