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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 III: Development of Belief and Religious Experience in Pāli Discourse


In the last chapter, Pāli discourse in Dīgha- and Majjhima-nikāya, not only represents the text of Buddha’s sermon, can be reckoned the epic of Buddha’s mission containing the stories of how the Buddha confronted people and converted them into his follower. This chapter aims at investigating the pattern of the conversion, starting with the first encounter between Buddha and a hearer who is the main character of the story. As depicted in discourse, the belief in the Buddha gradually increased and and reached the end that the hearer became a follower. Dealing with the depiction, the author observes the development at three stages: first, at first hearing the Buddha’s reputation and seeing him in person; second, at hearing the sermon, in which the hearer might express an impression; and last, at the end, in which the hearer said and behaved in reaction to the sermon. The result, which is the concept of the spiritual development, will be discussed with the theory of religious experience in order to understand the relation between Buddha, his sermon, and the hearer, expressed with verbal and non-verbal expression presented in the discourse.

3.1 At First Hearing the Buddha’s Reputation and Seeing Him in Person

The story in the introductory begins with Buddha’s arrival at a community, where the hearer, the main character of the discourse, lived. Through the medium of hearsay, the reputation of the Buddha on his qualities had grown in the community that attracted...

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