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«Non-Monastic Buddhist» in Pāli-Discourse

Religious Experience and Religiosity in Relation to the Monastic Order


Sompornnuch Tansrisook

The book intends to grasp the meaning of upāsaka / upāsikā or Buddhist laity in Dīgha- and Majjhima-nikāya of the Pāli canon. Considering the texts as oral literature, the author examines and interprets the structure and stock phrases constructing the narrative with a theory of religious experience. Upāsaka / upāsikā is hence seen as the non-monastic follower, who, having experienced the significance of dhamma and the superiority of the Buddha, has the trust in the goal and spiritual path that the Buddha has shown. In this connection, Buddhist community is the assembly of the followers, monastic and non-monastic alike, sharing the same common ground and following the spiritual path in pursuit of individual liberation, which in tandem contributes to perpetuation of the community.
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Chapter II: Discourse as Imagery of Buddha’s Mission


Discourse or sutta is an episode of Buddha’s sermon, collected in the Nikāyas of Suttapiṭaka in Pāli canon. It depicts situations attributed to the Buddha’s lifetime, telling how the Buddha or one of his chief disciples delivered a sermon and, in respond to the sermon, how the hearer became a follower of the Buddha. Containing the teachings, Pāli discourse is a crucial source of doctrine and religious concepts in Buddhism. However, according to the perspective of oral tradition, some of the doctrines or concepts are not to achieve simply by reading because they are not directly given within the text composed particularly for oral performance or transmission, as the text is structured to convey meanings to the audience in a particular way that dovetails with the vocal. To understand its meaning is thus simply not to read and follow the written scripts, but also to understand with the knowledge about mechanism of oral literature in conveying the meaning to the audience. On the other word, it is necessary to know the system of oral text that functions on communicating meanings in a performance. In the beginning, the author surveys the structure and language, which basically relates to the presentation of followers in relation to the Buddha’s delivery of sermon.

2.1 Remarks on Pāli Discourse as Oral Literature

Pāli discourse is viewed as a collection of Buddha’s sermon delivered in different situations.148 From the perspective of the reader, the...

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