Lineage and Transmission:
Integrating the Chinese and Tibetan Orders of Buddhist Nuns

Heng-Ching Shih
Professor, Dept. of Philosophy,
National Taiwan University

Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal
No. 13.2  (May 2000)
pp. 503-548

Copyright 2000 The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies

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  There are four-fold assembly of disciples in Buddhism: and, (fully ordained men and women) upaasaka and upaasikaa (lay men and women).  In Tibetan Buddhism the assembly of is non-existent.  As Tibetan Buddhism becomes more and more popular in the world, it faces more and more criticism of its non-existence of a order, as it indicates more or less a sex discrimination.

  Recently two seminars on the ordination and the possible establishment of a Tibetan lineage were held in Taiwan and Dharamsala.  In response to this movement, this paper deals with the issues concerning the ordination in different vinaya traditions, the Chinese ordination and how a Tibetan lineage can be established.  Specifically, the paper includes three parts.

  The first part compares ordination in different vinaya traditions, including Dharmagupta, Muularsarvaastivaada, Theravaada, Mahaasaa^nghiika, etc.

  The second part discusses as how the Chinese order was established, the procedures of the ordination and the validity of the Chinese lineage.

  The last part deals with the issues concerning the establishment of a Tibetan order, including the difference of the between Dharmagupta and Muulasarvaastivaada, the single




and dual ordinations, the possibility of the combination of two different vinaya lineages.  Finally, the ways for the establishment of a Tibetan sa^ngha are suggested.




Key words:    1.    2. Full Ordination    3. Tibetan Buddhism     4. Dharmagupta Vinaya

                      5. Muulasarvaastivaada Vinaya    6. Buddhist Women






  Since the Chinese Communists unintentionally 'openedTibet's doors to the western world, Tibetan Buddhism has become more and more popular in the international community.  As a result, the Tibetan tradition has attracted quite a few western women to join the Buddhist Sa^ngha.  In Buddhism there is a four-fold assembly of disciples, namely, upaasaka and upaasikaa (layman and laywoman), and (fully ordained man and woman).  However, Tibetan Buddhism has never had a sa^ngha in its history.  The lack of a sa^ngha in Tibet has led some Buddhist scholars to argue both that Tibet is not a 'centralland of the Dharma and that Tibetan Buddhism harbors sexual discrimination.

  In recent years, Tibetan Buddhism in the West has faced more and more pressure from its Western followers in general and Western nuns and female devotees in particular, to establish a lineage.  The Dalai Lama, who has been very open-minded concerning this issue, has assigned Tibetan monks familiar with vinaya to do research on various vinaya traditions and the lineage in Chinese Buddhism in order to investigate the possibility of establishing a Tibetan lineage.

  Recently two conferences were held specially to discuss the lineage.[1] Vinaya masters from various Buddhist traditions gathered together to discuss the issues that the Tibetan tradition is




most concerned with, namely, the validity and continuity of the Chinese lineage, the procedures of the ordination, the difference between Dharmagupta and Muulasarvaastivaada Vinayas, and the actual procedures to be followed if a Tibetan sa^ngha is to be established, etc.

  This paper, which tries to discuss these issues, includes four sections.  Section one describes the early ordination tradition according to the textual record to determine what constitutes correct ordination for  Section two examines the historical record in the Chinese tradition to show that a genuine ordination was established in China and has been continuously maintained to the present.  This finding is important since there have been recent claims to the contrary.  Section three compares the Dharmagupta vinaya followed by the Chinese sa^ngha and the Muulasarvaastivaadin vinaya followed by the Tibetan sa^ngha and finds that the difference are not so great as to prevent members of the Tibetan nuns from receiving ordination from the Chinese sa^ngha.  Based on the discussion and findings in the first three sections, section four makes suggestions for the possible establishment of a Tibetan sa^ngha.


I.    Procedures of Bhik.sunii Ordination

  It is a well-known fact that the first Buddhist nun was Mahaaprajaapatii, the aunt and stepmother of the Buddha.[2] It was




recorded that one time when the Buddha was staying at Kapilavastu, Mahaaprajaapatii together with five hundred `Saakya women came to ask for the Buddha's permission to renounce the world and 'go forth from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder.' [3] They were refused three times by the Buddha.  Finally, on behalf of the women, Aananda asked the Buddha if a woman, having left the household and taken ordination, could realize the fruit of arhatship.  The Buddha responded positively to the question, but he also made a condition that women follow the 'eight chief rules(gurudharmas) before allowing them to be ordained.

  The eight chief rules vary slightly in different vinaya texts.  According to the Dharmagupta Vinaya, the eight rules are:

(1)    A, even if she has been ordained for one hundred years, should bow down before even a newly ordained

(2)    A is not to revile or abuse a

(3)    A should not admonish a whereas a can admonish a

(4)    A should receive the upasa.mpadaa ordination from both and sa^nghas after two years of studying the precepts.

(5)    A who has committed a serious offence should undergo the maanatta discipline[4] towards both and sa^nghas.

(6)    Every half month the should ask the sa^ngha to give exhortation.

(7)    A should not spend the rainy season in a district where there is no

(8)    After keeping the rainy season, the should hold the




ceremony of repentance of their offences (pravaara.naa) before the and sa^nghas.[5]

  The practice of these eight rules thus became a necessary condition for any woman wishing to become a Buddhist nun and guidelines of governing the relationship between the and sa^nghas.[6] The fourth rule specifies that the upasa.mpadaa (full bhik.shu.nii ordination) has to be confirmed by the sa^ngha.  Although it appears that the final authority of the full ordination lies on the sa^ngha, the supervision of the whole process of a woman's ordination, beginning with the pravrajya ordination, leading to the `sik.samaa.nika ordination (for two years' study of the six dharmas) and culminating in the upasa.mpadaa ordination (except the final step), lies with the sa^ngha.  In order words, the Buddha gave the sa^ngha the right and full responsibility to train its novices.  The following are the steps and procedures in becoming a

  Any woman who resolves to become a needs to go through three ordinations, namely, `sraama.nerikaa, `sik.samaa.naa and (including two separated ordinations from the and sa^ngha──this is usually called 'dual ordination' ).




l.    `Sraama.nerikaa ordination

  The first step in the ordination process for women is to ask permission to leave the household life and to request pravrajyaa ordination from the sa^ngha.  Before doing this, a lay woman (or layman) has to obtain the consent of both parents.  One of the questions put at the pravrajyaa and upasa.mpadaa ceremonies of the candidate for ordination is 'Have your parents given their consent?' [7] In the case of a married women, she has to obtain the consent of her husband before she can be ordained.[8]

  After the woman gets permission from her parents or husband, the sa^ngha is also required to give its permission.  The Preceptor (karmakaarikaa), who asks for the permission from the sa^ngha, says, 'May the Noble Sa^ngha listen! The girl so-and-so desires to receive the pravrajyaa ordination from the upaadhyaayinii so-and-so.  Now is the proper time for the Sa^ngha to grant so-and-so the pravrajyaa ordination.' [9] This request ought to




be repeated once more.  After the sa^ngha gives its consent by remaining silent, the upaadhyayinii master then shaves her head and confers the pravrajyaa ordination.

  After taking the pravrajyaa ordination, the woman may take the ten precepts from her upaadhyayinii and becomes a `sraama.nerikaa.  According to the Dharmagupta Vinaya, a `sraama.nerikaa must: (1) be at least twelve years of age, or old enough to be able 'to chase crows' ;[10] (2) keep the ten precepts of a `sraama.nerikaa; and (3) eat only one meal a day.[11]

2.    `Sik.samaa.naa ordination

  A `sraama.nerikaa who is at least 18 years old may take the `sik.samaa.naa ordination with her upaadhyaayinii before the Sa^ngha.  She then lives as a `sik.samaa.naa for a two-year period.  There are two reasons for the requirement of two years of `sik.samaa.naa training: (1) to ascertain that she is mature enough to become a, and (2) to ensure that she is not pregnant.

  According to the Dharmagupta Vinaya, the reason for the two-year training is that after joining the Sa^ngha some young women did not know the precepts and therefore misbehaved.  The Buddha therefore made the two-year training a requirement prior to the upasa.mpadaa ordination.[12]

  The Da`sabhaa.navaara Vinaya (Shih-sung lu) gives another reason.  At one time some unknowingly ordained a pregnant woman.  Later, when they found out about her pregnancy, they accused her of sexual misconduct and wanted to expel her from the Sa^ngha.  She defended herself by explaining that she was pregnant




before she became ordained.  The reported this to the Buddha, who proclaimed, 'From this day hence, a `sraama.nerikaa ought to study the six dharmas (six precepts) for two years to determine whether or not she is pregnant.' [13]

  Only women eighteen and older are to be given `sik.samaa.naa ordination, but there is one exception: a girl who is ten years old and has been married is allowed to take `sik.samaa.naa ordination.  There are four rules concerning the `sik.samaa.naa ordination in the Dharmagupta Vinaya, namely,

(1)    If a does not give the `sik.samaa.naa precepts to a woman who is over eighteen, or the full precepts to a woman who is over twenty, she commits a paayantika;

(2)    If a gives the two-year training in the precepts to a woman over eighteen but does not give her the six precepts, then when she is twenty years old gives her the full precepts, she commits a paayantika;

(3)    If a ten-year-old girl who has been married has had two years of training in the precepts, a can give her the full ordination when she is twelve years old.  If she gives her the precepts when she is younger than twelve, she commits a paayantika;

(4)    If a ordains many disciples, yet does not teach them for two years nor provide them with two things (i.e., Dharma and the requisites), she commits a paayantika.[14]

  In addition to the ten precepts of the `sraama.nerikaa, a `sik.samaa.naa must observe six dharmas.  However, the six `sik.samaa.naa precepts given in the various Vinaya texts do not agree.[15] In Dharmagupta




Vinaya the six dharmas are to abstain from : (1)unchastity and from touching a man, (2) stealing, (3) killing, (4) false speech, (5) eating at improper times, and (6) intoxicants.[16] The Muulasarvaastivaada Vinaya gives six dharmas and six anudharma (incidental dharmas).  The six dharmas are to abstain from: (1) going along a road alone; (2) crossing a river alone; (3) touching a man's body; (4) sleeping in the same room with a man; (5) acting as a go-between for marriage arrangements; (6) concealing a's paaraajika offense.  The six anudharmas are to abstain from: (1) touching silver or gold (2) cutting the pubic hair; (3) digging in the ground; (4) cutting trees or grass; (5) eating that which are not received from another; (6) eating leftover food.[17]

  Regardless of the number of `sik.samaa.naa precepts there are, the purpose is to train in the observance of the precepts strictly and to prepare the `sik.samaa.naas for ordination.  The Dharmagupta Vinaya specifies that in case of any violation of the `sik.samaa.naa precepts, the precepts must be retaken and the `sik.samaa.naa has to begin the two-year training all over again.

  Before a `sraama.nerikaa may take a `sik.samaa.naa ordination, the sa^ngha must give its permission.  The procedure for `sik.samaa.naa ordination involves the candidate, her upaadhyayinii, and the sa^ngha.  First, the `sraama.nerikaa herself requests permission from the sa^ngha by saying,

May the Noble Sa^ngha listen!  This `sraama.nerikaa so-and-so is requesting the two-year study of the `sik.samaa.naa precepts.  My upaadhyaayinii is so-and-so.  May the Sa^ngha, out of compassion, grant me the two-year study of the precepts.[18]

After she repeats this request three times, the karma




master recites the so called 'one-statement and four-karma' [19] on her behalf.  This procedure consists of stating the motion once, asking for agreement three times, and stating the decision.  The Karma Master introduces the four-fold karma with this motion:

May the Noble Sa^ngha of listen!  This `sraama.nerikaa, so-and-so, has asked the Sa^ngha for two-year study of the precepts.  Her upaadhyaayinii is such-and-such.  Now is the proper time for the Sa^ngha to grant her the two-year study of the precepts.  This is the motion.[20]

After making this statement, the Karma Master begins the first karma:

May the Noble Sa^ngha of listen!  This `sraama.nerikaa so-and-so has asked the Sa^ngha for two-year study of the [`sik.samaa.naa] precepts.  Her upaadhyaayinii is such-and-such.  The Sangha is to grant her the two-year study of the precepts.  If you sanction [this karma], please remain silent.  If you don't sanction [this karma], please voice your objection.[21]

The second and the third karmas follow in the same general format.  If there is no objection, the Karma Master announces the sa^ngha's decision of assent.  The upaadhyayinii then states the `sik.samaa.naa precepts one by one and asks the `sraama.nerikaa if she will be able to keep them.  After the `sraama.nerikaa answers in the affirmative to each precept, the `sik.samaa.naa ordination ceremony is complete.




3.    Full Ordination (upasa.mpadaa)

  (1) Full Ordination from the Sa^ngha

   After a `sik.samaa.naa has completed two-year training and been twenty years old, she is eligible to take the upasa.mpadaa ordination to become a  First, the `sik.samaa.naa should go to a qualified and request that she become her Preceptor (upaadhyaayinii).  To do this, she says,

I, so-and-so, request your reverence to become my Preceptor.  By following your reverence, I will be able to receive the upasa.mpadaa ordination.[22]

  After this request has been repeated three times, the upaadhyayinii replies, 'Your request is granted.'    Then two other precept masters should be chosen.  They are the Karmakaarikaa and the Instructor  According to the Dharmagupta Vinaya, in addition to the three preceptors, another seven 'Witness Mastersshould be present at the upasa.mpadaa ceremony.[23] The Karmakarika is responsible for carrying out the karmas, while the Instructor, responsible for determining whether she is qualified to receive the upasa.mpadaa ordination, instructs and asks the candidate various questions (antaraayika-dharmas) to determine her qualifications.  The Instructor asks her the questions in a secluded place, because some of the questions are very personal.  The number of questions varies in different versions of the Vinaya.  There are twenty-four questions in the Pali Vinaya,[24] thirty-two in the Mahaasa^nghika Vinaya,[25] twenty-three in the Dharmagupta




Vinaya,[26] and thirty in the Muulasarvaastivaada Vinaya.[27]

  After the candidate is found to be pure and free of obstacles to ordination, she can formally receive the full ordination.  The Instructor should inform the Sa^ngha by saying, 'I have now finished questioning so-and-so, and she is pure.  There would be no obstacles to her upasa.mpadaa ordination.Then the Karma Master recites the three karmas:

May the Noble Sa^ngha of listen! So-and-so shall receive the upasa.mpadaa ordination from such-and-such Upaadhyaayinii Bhik.sunii.  She is pure and has no obstructing dharmas.  She has reached the required age (of twenty) and is equipped with a bowl and (five) robes.[28] Now is the proper time for the Sa^ngha to grant her upasa.mpadaa ordination.  If you sanction [this karma], please keep silent.  If you do not sanction it, please voice your objections.[29]

This is the first karma.  The second and the third follow the same pattern.  If there are no objections, the Karma Master then states the sa^ngha decision of assent and the upasa.mpadaa before the sa^ngha is completed.  The `sraama.nerikaa who has completed this ordination is referred to as a 'basic dharma'

  (2) Full Ordination from the Sa^ngha

  Next is the final step of the ordination, that is, the ordination from the sa^ngha.  On the same day that the




upasa.mpadaa ordination is given by the sa^ngha, the precept masters and the candidates ( 'basic-dharma should go to the sa^ngha, composed of ten precept masters.  First, the Preceptor asks the sa^ngha to grant the upasa.mpadaa to the candidate.  She makes the request as follows:   

May the Noble Sa^ngha of Bhik.sus listen!  So-and-so has received the upasa.mpadaa ordination from Bhik.sunii such-and-such.  She has been found to be pure and without obstructing dharmas.  She has reached the age (of twenty) and is equipped with [five] robes and a bowl.  She has studied and kept the [`sik.samaa.naa] precepts purely.  Now is the proper time for the Sa^ngha to grant her the upasa.mpadaa.[30]

The sa^ngha expresses its consent by keeping silent.  Then the candidate herself must ask the sa^ngha to grant her the upasa.mpadaa, repeating the request three times.  After the request is granted, the Karma Master asks the candidate about the obstructing dharmas (exactly the same questions already asked by the sa^ngha).  After the candidate is found to be pure, the karma master performs the final karmas to grant the upasa.mpadaa.  These consist of stating the motion once and reciting the three Karmas and stating the final decision. These karmas are the same as recited in the presence of the sa^ngha.

  In the Dharmagupta Vinaya, after the four karmas are performed the Karma Master states each of the eight paaraajika precepts and asks the candidate if she can keep these eight precepts.  He also asks whether she can accept and abide by the four ni`sraya dharmas (requisites):[31] using robes made of rugs,




begging for food, lodging under trees and using urine as medicine.[32] After she responds in the affirmative to all these questions, the upasa.mpadaa ordination ceremony is complete, and the candidate becomes a fully ordained

  The ordinations for `sraama.nerikaa, `sik.samaa.naa, and are basically the same in various Vinayas, with slight differences.  All the Vinaya traditions agree that for a woman to become a fully ordained, she has to go through these three stages.  The ordinations of `sraama.nerikaa and `sik.samaa.naa have to be given by the sa^ngha and the ordination of by both and sa^nghas.  This signifies that the sa^ngha has the right and responsibility for screening, accepting, and training its new members.[33] Thus, although the upasa.mpadaa ordination has to be taken from both sa^nghas, as I.B. Horner said,

If the final decision of allowing a candidate to become a senior rested with the almsmen, the preliminary and formative stages were entrusted to the almswomen.  Theirs was the power of acceptance or rejection, and in them was vested, equally with the men, the knowledge of the qualifications necessary for following the higher path.[34]

In Taiwan many of the vinaya masters who have presided over many of the so-called 'triple platform'   ordinations[35] fail to see




the significance of the role played by the sa^ngha in a woman's spiritual process from laywoman to  Therefore, they take women as their disciples, ordain them as `sraama.nerkaa and `, and allow nuns to receive the upasa.mpadaa ordination from the sa^ngha alone, erroneously according the sa^ngha full authority for the ordination of women, while in actuality the Buddha entrusted the right and responsibility for training novice nuns to the sa^ngha.[36]


II.    The Establishment of the Chinese Bhik.sunii Lineage

  According to the Ta-sung Seng-shih Lueh (The Brief History of Buddhism in the Sung Dynasty), the first Chinese woman to become a Buddhist nun was named A-pan.  No record of the date or details about her life can be found.  Strictly speaking, she cannot be called a because she only took refuge with the Triple Jewels and did not take any other precepts, simply because the Vinaya was not available at the time.  The earliest translation of the Vinaya was completed by the Vinaya Master Dharmakaala of Central Asia during the Chen-pin period (249~253 A.D.) in Luo-yang.  He translated the Seng-chih chieh-hsin, the Essentials of the Mahaasa^nghika Vinaya.  In 254 A.D. another Vinaya master Dharmasatya translated the Dharmagupta Karman.  This marked the beginning of the ordination strictly following the procedures of the Vinaya.  However, the first full ordination of did not take place until almost two centuries later in 434 A.D.

  The Biographies of (Pi-ch'iu-ni-chuan) records the




biography of the first Chinese[37] Her name was Ching-chien and she was born as the daughter of a magistrate in 291 A.D. She was diligent in learning in her childhood and became widowed at an early age.  She taught music, writing and reading to the children of the wealthy and nobility.  Although she took delight in learning Buddhism, she found no teacher to give her instruction.  At last she met the monk Fa-shih, who was versed in Buddhist scriptures, and studied Buddhist teaching under his guidance.  One day she said to Fa-shih, 'Since the scriptures mention that there are bhik.sus and, I wish to be ordained as a' [38] Fa-shih told her that although there were bhik.sus and in the Western Land (India), in China the precepts were incomplete.[39] Ching-chien asked, 'What is the difference between the precepts of bhik.sus and replied, 'The foreign monk said that there are five hundred precepts for Fa-shih agreed to make inquiries about the precepts and ordination for her.  He asked the Monk J~naanagira from the kingdom of Kashmir, who explained, 'The precepts for are basically the same as those for the bhik.sus with only minor differences.  But without the proper procedures, nobody can confer the precepts.  The nuns can take the ten precepts from the sa^ngha, however, they will have no preceptors to depend on for their studies.' [40] Nevertheless, Ching-chien, together with twenty-four other women




was ordained by J~naanagira and took the ten precepts of a `sraama.nerikaa.

  During the Hsien-kang period (335~342 A.D.) of the Chin Dynasty, the monk Seng-chien brought back from the Central Asian kingdom of Yueh-chih the Mahaasa^nghika Karman and the  In the first year of Sheng-ping (357 A.D.), the Indian monk Dharmagupta was invited to Luo-yang to setup a precept platform to confer ordination, but the Chinese Monk Tao-ch'ang objected on the basis of the Chieh-yin-yuan-ching (Suutra of the origin of the Rules).[41] The reason for his objection was probably that aside from the bhik.sus, there were no in China to confer the ordination.  The ordination ceremony went ahead despite his objections and was performed on a ship in the middle of a river.  Ching-chien together with three other women became the first in China.  More precisely speaking, Ching-chien was the first Chinese to take the upasa.mpadaa only from the sa^ngha. However, as all Vinaya systems specify, the upasa.mpadaa should not be given by bhik.sus alone, but by both and sa^nghas.  This 'incomplete ordinationwas not remedied until more than half a century later.

  The earliest records of the dual ordination of can be found in the biographies of Gu.navarman and Sa^nghavarman, and the Biographies of (Pi-ch'iu-ni chuan).  Gu.navarman, a Vinaya master from Kashmir, came to Yang-chou in 430 A.D. and translated many Vinaya texts.[42] Sa^nghavarnam, a Vinaya Master from India, came to Yang-chou four years later in 434.  Both of their biographies found in the Kao-seng Chuan (Biographies of




Eminent Monks) mention their involvement in the dual ordination of the Chinese[43] Nevertheless, the most thorough account of the dual ordination is found in the biography of the nun Seng-kuo from the Pi-ch'iu-ni Chuan, one of the first group of Chinese nuns to be fully ordained by both sa^nghas.

  Seng-kuo had unusually strong faith and devotion, as she had presumably established affinity with the Dharma in her former lives.  It was said that 'even as a baby at breast, she did not transgress the monastic rule of not eating after mid-day.She did not get permission to leave the household life until she was twenty-seven.  Seng-kuo diligently pursued Buddhist practice and strictly observed the precepts.  Her meditation practice was at such a high level that she could meditate from dusk to dawn and 'stretching in spirit to the pure realm of the divine, her body stayed behind looking as lifeless as dry wood.' [44] Her biography continues to record how she was involved in the first dual ordination in China.

  In the sixth year of the Yuan-chia (429 A.D.), a foreign boat captain named Nan-t'i brought eight Buddhist from Sri Lanka to the capital of the Sung dynasty.  The Sri La^nkaan nuns stayed at Ching-fu Ssu (Luminous Blessings Monastery).  Not long after, they asked Seng-kuo, 'Have foreign nuns ever been here before us?' [45] Seng-kuo answered that there have been none.  The




Sri Lankan then asked if that was the case, how had Chinese nuns taken full ordination from both and sa^nghas? Seng-kuo replied,

They took the ordination from the sa^ngha only.  Those women who went through the ritual of entering the monastic life began the reception of monastic obligations.  This reception was an expedient to cause people to have great respect for the monastic life.  Our eminent model for this expedient is the Buddha's own step-mother, Mahaaprajaapatii, who was deemed to have accepted the full monastic obligation by taking on herself, and therefore for all women for all the time, the eight special prohibitions incumbent on women wanting to lead the monastic life.  [These she accepted from the Buddha only.]  The five hundred women of the Buddha's clan who also left the household life at the same time as Mahaaprajaapatii considered her as their instructor.[46]

  Although Seng-kuo justified the validity of the single-ordination observed by the Chinese, taking the case of Mahaaprajaapatii as a good example and precedent, she herself still had some doubts.  So she consulted with Vinaya Master Gu.navarman about whether it was permissible to retake the ordination.  Gu.navarman replied,

[The Buddhist threefold action of] morality, meditation, and wisdom progresses from the subtle to the obvious. Therefore, receiving the monastic obligations a second time is of greater benefit than receiving them only once.[47]




  Answering the question of the validity of the single-ordination taken by the Chinese, Gu.navarman said,

As the ordination is finalized by the sanghga, even if the 'basic dharma(i.e. the ordination taken from the sa^ngha) is not conferred, the ordination still results in pure vows, just as in the case of Mahaaprajaapatii.[48]

  Responding to Seng-kuo's question of the possibility of re-ordination, Gu.navarman replied,

Very good! If you wish to increase your wisdom [by retaking the ordination], I will certainly offer my help with joy. However, since the Sri Lankan [who are in China] have not reached their 'precept age,' [49] and their number is less than ten,[50] they should first start learning the Chinese language.[51]

  Four years later in the tenth year of Yuanchia (433 A.D.), the ship captain, Nan-t'i, brought back eleven more from Sri Lanka, including one named Tessara. By this time those who had arrived earlier had become fluent in Chinese, and Gu.navarman had passed away. Thus, Seng-kuo and the other Chinese requested the Indian Vinaya Master Sa^nghavarman to preside over the dual ordination at the ceremonial platform in Nan-lin Monastery. Altogether more than three hundred women were ordained by both sa^nghas. This marked the beginning of the proper transmission of dual ordination for women in China, that is, of receiving the precepts from both and



p.524 sa^nghas.[52]

  According to the brief history of the dual ordination in China related above, two things are clear:

  (1) The single-ordination conferred since Ching-chien in 357 A.D. was valid and pure.  As Tao-hsuan (596~667 A.D.), the Patriarch of the Chinese Dharmagupta Vinaya School, stated in the Ssu-fen-lu Che-mo Shu Chi-yen Chi:

Even if a ordination is transmitted directly from a sa^ngha without first conferring the 'basic dharma,it is still valid, as nowhere in the Vinaya indicates otherwise.  However, the precept masters commit an offence.[53]

  All the Vinayas of the different Buddhist schools specify the requirement of dual ordination.  Although it is true that, strictly speaking, a single-ordination from either the or sa^ngha alone is not in accord with the Vinaya, still nowhere does the Vinaya indicate that single-ordination is invalid.  Tao-hsuan did not explain why the precept masters commit an offence, but it presumably had to do with not following the procedures strictly.  When asked the same question,[54] Gu.navarman answered,




'Wherever are available, if a preceptor confers a ordination to a woman without having first trained her in the precepts for two years, he commits an offence.' [55] This means that a commits an offence if he knowingly gives ordination to a woman who has not gone through all the necessary stages (`sraama.nerikaa, `sik.samaa.naa, and ordination) from a sa^ngha.  As discussed previously, before a gives the ordination, he has to ask the woman whether she has been trained in the `sik.samaa.naa vows for two years, and whether she has already received ordination from the sa^nghas.  If he does not ask these questions or knowingly ordains a woman without `sik.samaa.naa or 'basic-dharma, he, not the woman, commits an offense.  The general rule for the outcome of this improper conferring of the ordination is that 'the precept receiver obtains the precepts, whereas the precept giver commits an offense.Here the main issue is not what offense a commits for giving the upasa.mpadaa to a woman who has not received ordination from the sa^ngha first.  The important point is that an ordination by the sa^ngha only, even technically flawed with respect to prescribed procedures, is still valid and a woman taking such an ordination obtains 'uncorruptedand pure vows.

  (2) From the brief history of the dual ordination in China, it is clear that the first dual ordination which took place in 434 followed the proper procedures, and the lineage thus established was pure and flawless.  However, during the Conference held in Dharamsala in August, 1998, Dao-hai, a conservative vinaya master from Taiwan argued otherwise.  For two reasons, he argued that the Chinese lineage could not be considered 'perfect and flawless. The first reason is that Seng-kuo and other nuns had previously received ordination from bhik.sus alone and thus




'not a new one. Dao-hai contends that such an ordination would invalidate subsequent ordinations, though there is nothing in the Vinaya to substantiate his claim.  The second reason is that Hui-kuo and other nuns were not trained in the precepts for two years prior to their dual ordination, although there is no evidence to support this contention.[56]

  As the history of the initial dual ordination indicates, after the arrival of the second group of Sri Lankan, which made up the necessary quorum of ten, Seng-kuo and many other nuns took the upasa.mpadaa first from the Sri Lankan sa^ngha and then from the sa^ngha headed by Sa^nghavarman as the Preceptor in the very first dual ordination in China.  How can this first dual ordination be considered 'not a new one,and thus 'incomplete' ?  Even if it were a re-ordination, nowhere does the Vinaya indicate that re-ordination is invalid.  On the contrary, re-ordination was considered a re-affirmation.  This can be attested to by the affirmation given in the Sarvaastivaada `Saastra (Sa-po-lo Lun), which says, 'To re-ordain enhances the quality of a previous ordination.  One who is re-ordained does not lose one's previous precept age.[57] ' [58] Therefore, Tao-hai's theory which dismisses the Chinese lineage on these grounds is not credible.

  Dao-hai also strongly asserted that Seng-kuo and the other nuns had not taken the `sik.samaa.naa ordination and thus had not trained in the precepts for two years, but he did not provide any textual proof for this claim.  In fact it can be argued that the nuns had trained for two years.  The first group of Sri Lankan




stayed at Ching-fu-ssu, the monastery where Seng-kuo and other nuns lived, for four years before the arrival of the second group.  During these four years, it is quite likely that the Sri Lankan conferred the `sik.samaa.naa ordination on the Chinese nuns to prepare them for the dual ordination.  They must have been very keen to make sure that complete and proper ordination procedures for the nuns' ordinations were observed; otherwise they would not have raised the question concerning the validity of the previous single-ordination.  Even if the Chinese nuns did not formally train in the precepts for two years, their dual ordination was still valid and pure, because, as mentioned before, the fault for conferring the ordination improperly falls on the precept masters, not on the precept candidates.

  We can conclude that an authentic lineage in China was properly established according to the Vinaya in the fifth century.  This lineage continues without interruption up to the present day.  There is no record that indicates otherwise.

*     *     *     *     *

  The most detailed record of eminent is the Pi-ch'iu-ni chuan compiled by Pao-ch'ang in the early sixth century.  From the sixty-five biographies included there, we get a picture of a sa^nghas with a remarkably high level of learning and spiritual attainment.  Pao-ch'ang praised them,

For several hundred years' nuns of great virtue appeared in China one after the other.  Of these nuns, Shan-miao and Ching-kuei achieved the epitome of the ascetic life; Fa-pien and Seng-kuo consummately excelled in meditation and contemplation. Individuals such as Seng-tuan and Seng-chi, who were steadfast in their resolution to maintain chastity, and Miao-hsing and Fa-chuan, who were teachers of great influence, appeared very frequently.  Such virtue as theirs is like the deep ocean or the lofty peak──like the




harmonious music of bronze and jade bells.[59]

  It is evident from the biographies that the sa^ngha was very strong from the fourth to the sixth centuries.  Although two persecutions of Buddhism took place in 446 and 574 C.E., they did not cause lasting destruction to Buddhism.  Actually, Buddhism flourished during the Six Dynasties (265~589 A.D.), especially during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386~534 A.D.). According to the Fo-tsu t'ung-chi (A Chronicle on the Buddha and patriarchs), there were four million monks and nuns in the Northern Wei during the sixth Century.  In the south Buddhism flourished and was influential as well, especially during the Liang Dynasty at which time Emperor Wu-ti was renowned for his earnest support of Buddhism.

  Buddhism flourished even more during the Sui and T'ang Dynasties (581~907), a period referred to as the golden age of Buddhism in China.[60] The sa^ngha developed extensively throughout these periods.  The came from all walks of life and social classes, and they included queens, princesses, court ladies, etc. Regrettably, after the Pi-ch'iu-ni chuan was compiled in the sixth century, no biographies of were again compiled.[61] Still scattered biographies of can be found in various historical records, such as dynastic histories, epitaphs, bronze and stone inscriptions, etc. Many of the were outstanding in teaching, meditation, and moral discipline.  In the Ch'an School some also became teachers of Ch'an monks.[62]




  Although Buddhism suffered a great setback and lost much of its vitality due to T'ang Emperor Wu-tsung's persecution that lasted from 841 to 845 C.E., it survived intact.[63] In fact, the census taken during the reign of Emperor Cheng-tsung of the Sung Dynasty (997~1021 C.E.) reveals that there were more than 397,000 bhik.sus and 61,000 at the time.[64] As for the lineage of dual ordination, there is no record of any break.  On the contrary, there are two records in the Ta-sung seng shih lueh that clearly indicate that dual ordination was conferred during the eighth and ninth centuries.  This document records that in 765 C.E. Emperor Tai-tsung of T'ang decreed that an ordination platform be established in the capital city and that ten bhik.sus and ten of great virtue and well versed in the Vinaya be selected to confer the ordination.  It also records that this 'became the standard practice forever.' [65] The Ta-sung seng-shih lueh also documents that Emperor Yi-tsung of T'ang (859~873 C.E.) had an ordination platform built in the Hsien-tai Palace where the nuns of Fu-shou Nunnery received an ordination conferred by ten bhik.sus and ten[66] This indicates that the dual ordination was a standard practice.

  It is well documented that the dual ordination was carried out from the fifth to the ten centuries.  However, in the fifth year of the Kai-pao year (972 C.E.) the Northern Sung Emperor T'ai-tsu issued a decree that be prohibited from going to




monasteries for ordination.[67] This means that nuns would have to take the upasa.mpadaa from the sa^ngha only.  Vinaya master Dao-hai from Taiwan, drawing on this record, concludes:

In a word, the lineage of ordination in China has clearly been broken (to receive base rules from a sa^ngha consisting of only, not to mention receiving one-group ordination from bhik.sus) during Sung Dynasty (around C.E. 972).  Following the resolution of the prohibition, most of the ordinations were one-group from a sa^ngha of  There is no historical documentation that proved that the lineage of two-group ordination were pure and complete.[68]

  This speculative and incorrect conclusion is drawn without any textual proof.  Actually, there are textual references that indicate otherwise.  The earliest record of prohibition is found in the Ta-sung seng-shih lueh written by Tsan-ning:

After the years of Chien-wu (335~348 C.E.), the nuns had been going to the monasteries of monks to take ordination without interruption throughout all the previous dynasties. Recently Emperor T'ai-tsu (972 C.E.) issued an edict forbidding nuns from going to the monasteries of monks to take ordination. After that, the nuns obtained the 'basic dharmafrom the sa^ngha of alone. The ordination was not complete. Now the present Emperor [T'ai-tsung, the successor of T'ai-tsu] is sagacious and makes intelligent decisions. Those who are protective to the Dharma should make a request to the Emperor to restore the old practice [of dual ordination] lest the Dharma should perish.[69]

  Four years after the decree of prohibition issued in 976,




Emperor T'ai-tsu died and his son T'ai-tsung succeeded him.  In the same year Tsan-ling compiled the Ta-sung seng-shih lueh (The Brief History of the Buddhist Sa^ngha in the Great Sung) by order of Emperor T'ai-tsung.  Taking into consideration that Tsan-ling was an eminent and learned monk respected and trusted by Emperor T'ai-tsung, and was ordered by him to compile the history of the sa^ngha and biographies of eminent monks, and also considering that Tsan-ling was very concerned with the effect that the edict might have upon Buddhism, it is possible that he himself made the request to the Emperor to abolish the edict. There is also evidence indicating that the edict lasted for only a few years, certainly not long enough to disrupt the lineage.

  The first evidence that the edict was short-lived is Emperor Chen-tsung's (997~1021 A.D.) edict of 1010 C.E., which states:

The edict ordered that in the T'ai-pien Hsing-kuo Monastery in the imperial city, the official Kan-lu Precept-platform be established [to give ordination] and the other official precept-platforms be established all over the country, totally seventy-two.[70]

  The precept platforms were built by the court and thus naturally regarded as official.  That means that all monks and nuns went to the official precept platforms to take ordination; therefore nuns were able to get dual ordination as usual.  Since only thirty-eight years elapsed between the edict of prohibition and the edict of re-establishing the official precept platforms, this would not be long enough for the lineage to totally die out, even in the worst case scenario.

  The second source of evidence comes from Chih-p'an's Fo-tsu T'ung-chi (compiled between 1258~1269).[71] Chih-p'an comments




on the edict of prohibition:

The intention [of the edict] was to keep distance between monks and nuns [not to forbid nuns from taking ordination].  However, [Emperor T'ai-tsu] did not know that nuns must take the final ordination from the sa^ngha.  There is no rule [in the Vinaya] that allows nuns to take ordination from their own sa^ngha only.  This [edict] was only a temporary remedy for impropriety and should not be taken as a normal practice.  Nowadays the edict is no longer in effect.[72]

It is obvious that by the time of Chih-p'an, the prohibition had already been lifted and the dual ordination was restored.  This passage lends credence to the theory that dual ordination was the norm during this period.

  There are not many historical documents that indicate how the dual ordination was implemented after the thirteenth century, however, it is clear that the lineage of dual ordination for continued, for at least two historical records of the practice can be found.  The first is from Hung-tsan's Pi-ch'iu-ni Shou-chieh Lu (The Record of the Ordination) and the second is from Shu-yu's Erh-pu-seng Shou-chieh Yi-shih (The Ritual for the Dual Ordination).

  Hung-tsan (1611~1685), a Vinaya Master of the Ch'ing Dynasty (1644~1912), mentions in his Pi-ch'iu-ni Shou-chieh Lu in 1657 C.E., when he was in Kuang-chou, many nuns coming from different counties asked him to give them the upasa.mpadaa ordination.  Hung-tsan thus got together ten bhik.sus and ten to confer the dual ordination.[73] Shu-yu (1645~1721 C.E.) was also a Vinaya Master.  In the preface of his Erh-pu-seng Shou-chieh Yi-shih, he recorded a dual ordination:

In the spring of 1667 C.E., the Venerable Bhik.sunii Mi-chau from




Kun-shan and Madame Hsu came to our monastery to make offerings.  The accompanying `sik.samaa.naas made a request to my late Master to give a dual ordination. They stayed at the monastery to study for half a month and were able to know the proper deportments.  My late master then asked Bhik.sunii Mi-chau to be the Upaadhyaayinii, Bhik.sunii Chau-tseng from Yang-chou to be the Karma Master, and Yuan-cheng from Chen-chou to be the Instructor Master.  He also chose seven other virtuous as Witness Masters to preside over the ordination.[74]

  From the above two records, it is very clear that during the seventeenth century the dual ordination was still being carefully implemented, and the proper procedures were being observed.  However, Hung-tsan also says that 'the dual ordination had been long lost.' [75]  Probably what he meant was that the nuns only took the ordination from the sa^ngha alone.  However, so far no historical record can be found to verify his statement.  Even if Hung-tsan was right, the ordination from sa^ngha only, as discussed early in this paper, is still valid, although the precept master conferring it commits an offense.

  There is another record that indicates the dual ordination had been discontinued.  In his Essence of the Vinaya, Vinaya Master Hung-yi (1880~1942) wrote,

According to the rules set by the Buddha, must take their ordination twice.  First, they take the 'basic dharmafrom the sa^ngha, and then the vows are taken formally from the sa^ngha.  The ordination actually takes effect during the ceremony with the sa^ngha.  However, the dual ordination rule has not been implemented since the Southern Sung Dynasty (1128~1276).' [76]




Although Hung-yi was a respectable Vinaya master, his statement is obviously incorrect.  This can be proved by the fact that dual ordinations were given to nuns during the seventeenth century, as Hung-tsan and Shu-yu's writings show.

  After Hung-tsan and Shu-yu, the tradition of ordination continued until today.  Although it is true that in some cases the dual ordination procedure has not been strictly observed,[77] still the ordination and the lineage of Chinese continue.  In other words, in the historical records there is no evidence indicating that there is any time in Chinese Buddhist history when there were no


III.    A Comparison of the Dharmagupta and the Muulasarvaastivaadin Suutras

  Aside from a concern for the validity of the Chinese lineage, Tibetan Buddhist scholars have also been very concerned with the differences between the Dharmagupta Suutra followed by the Chinese and sa^nghas and the Muulasarvaastivaada followed by the Tibetan sa^ngha.  The Dharmagupta Suutra was translated into Chinese in the Later Chin Dynasty (383~418 C.E.) by Buddhaya`sas. This text has been exclusively followed by the Chinese since the T'ang Dynasty when the Dharmagupta Vinaya School was established.  There are two Chinese translations of the Muulasarvaastivaadin Praatimok.saa and Vinaya: one is the Ken-pen Shou-yi-ch'ieh-you-pu Pi-ch'iu-ni Chieh-ching (T.24, no.1455) and the other Ken-pen Shou-yi-chieh-you-pu Pi-chi'iu-ni Pi-na-yeh. (T.23, no.1443) Both of these texts were translated by Yi-ching during the T'ang Dynasty.  There are also two Tibetan translations of the




Mulasarvativadin Vinaya: the Praatimok.saa Suutra (Dge slon mahi so sor thar pahi mdo) and the Vinaya-vibha^nga (Dge slon mahi hdul ba rnam par hbyed pa), although the texts exist, no Tibetan lineage has ever been established based on these texts.

   Much important research on Vinaya and Praatimok.saa Suutras translated from Sanskrit have been done by scholars.  For example, Akira Hirakawa's Ritsuzo no Kenkyo (Studies on the Vinaya Scriptures) has a section on the Praatimok.saa Suutra from various vinaya traditions, Karma Lekshe Tsomo's Sisters in Solitude contains English translations of the Chinese Dharmagupta and the Tibetan Muulasarvaastivaada Praatimok.saa as well as a comparative study on these two traditions, and Chatsumarn Kabilsingh's A comparative Study of Bhikkhunii Paatimokkha.  This section of the paper is based on their research.

  Despite minor variation in the number of the precepts, the categories of precepts cited in the Dharmagupta and the Muulasarvaastivaada Praatimok.saa Suutras are identical, namely, the paaraajika-dharma, sa^nghaava`, ni.hsargika-d, paayantika-d, pratide`saniiya-d, `, and`samatha-d.  The number of precepts in each category is given as follows:[78]



Dharmagupta (Chinese)

Muulasarvaastivaada (Tibetan)

Ni.hsargika- paayantika




  The eight paaraajika offenses for are basically the same




not only in the Dharmagupta and Muulasarvaastivaada versions, but in all extant versions of Praatimok.saa.  The eight paaraajikas include prohibitions against (1) sexual conduct, (2) stealing, (3) taking life, (4) falsely claiming the attainment of supernatural powers, (5) touching a male's body or being touched with desire, (6) touching a man's clothes or entering a covered place with a man, (7) concealing the wrongdoing of a guilty of a serious offence, and (8) persistently following a suspended monk, after the third admonishment.  They are identical in the two versions however, the Muulasarvaastivaadin Praatimok.saa includes the prohibition against taking the life of a human fetus (in other words, abortion), while the Chinese Dharmagupta text makes no mention of a fetus.

  The category of sa^nghaava`sesa has 17 precepts in the Dharmagupta and 20 in the Muulasarvaastivaada.  Of the seventeen sa^nghaava`sesa in the Dharmagupta, only one has no equivalent among those in the Muulasarvaastivaada, namely, accusing a layperson before a government official.  The Muulasarvaastivaada has one sa^nghaava`sesa which has no equivalent in the Dharmagupta, namely, pursuing the wealth of the deceased.  The reason that there is a difference in the number of sa^nghaava`sesas between the two versions, 17 versus 20, is because the seventh sa^nghaava`sesa of the Dharmagupta combines the four 'alone precepts,into one, while the Muulasarvaastivaada takes them separately.  These precepts include crossing water alone, entering a village alone, staying overnight in a village alone, and staying behind the group alone.

  According to Karma Lekshe Tsomo, only two out of the seventeen sa^nghaava`sesas in the Chinese version have no equivalent among the sa^nghaava`sesas in the Tibetan translation: accusing a lay-person before a government official and ordaining a woman known to be a thief.  On the other hand, six sa^nghaava`sesas in the Tibetan translation have no equivalent in the Chinese, though some occur elsewhere: (1) ordaining a woman without permission from her guardian, (2) pursuing the wealth of the deceased, (3) forsaking the




Dharma, (4) digging up faults of, (5) misbehaving with women, (6) and enjoining who are misbehaving together not to live separately.[79]

  In the category of the ni.hsargika-paayantika, all Vinayas list thirty precepts, except the Muulasarvaastivaada, which has thirty-three precepts.  Among the thirty, sixteen precepts concern robes and the proper time and manner to obtain them; two concern the begging bowl; one concern medication; eight concerning business exchange; and three concern gold and silver.[80] There is one ni.hsargika- paayaantika in the Dharmagupta that has no equivalent in the Muulasarvaastivaada: accepting a robe in an emergency and keeping it beyond the proper time.  There are four rules in the Muulasarvaastivaada that have no equivalent in the Dharmagupta: washing clothes and cooking for an unrelated, taking a robe from an unrelated, having one's upper robe blessed on a new moon, and openly begging for oneself.

  In the category of the paayantika, the Dharmagupta has 178 precepts, while the Muulasarvaastivaada has 180.  Among these precepts, there are three which occur only in the Dharmagupta, while there are thirty precepts that occur only in the Muulasarvaastivaada.[81]

  A number of paayantikas deal with offenses related to ordination.  For example, there are twelve precepts common to both the Dharmagupta and Muulasarvaastivaada, including ordaining (1) a pregnant woman, (2) a `sraama.nerikaa not trained for two years in the six rules, (3) a married girl less than 12 years, (4) a married girl of 12 years but not agreed upon by the sa^ngha, (5) a prostitute, (6) a woman with a husband, (7) a woman less than twenty years old, and (8) an emotionally disturbed woman; the other precepts




include: (9) after giving ordination, not taking care of one's trainee; (10) not ordaining a well-qualified `sik.samaa.naa; (11) not going before the sa^ngha on the same day as the ordination with the sa^ngha; (12) giving full ordination before one has been a for twelve years.[82]

  There are several paayantika precepts that are not found in the Muulasarvaastivaada, namely, ordaining a woman with both male and female organs, ordaining a woman who discharges urine and excrement from one's orifice, and ordaining a woman who is nursing.  The rule that a cannot give ordination every year (that is, a can only ordain disciples every other year) is found only in the Muulasarvaastivaada.  It is worth mentioning that although the eight gurudharmas specify that a woman should take full ordination from both sa^nghas, among all the Vinaya traditions, only the Mahii`sasaka Vinaya contains a precept against ordaining a woman by one sa^ngha only.

  There is a very important principle behind all these rules concerning ordination.  That is, no offense is incurred by women who receive ordination in violation of these rules; instead, an offence is entailed on the part of bhik.sus or who gave ordination (i.e., precept masters).  For example, during the Buddha's time, it happened that a woman was ordained and found herself pregnant later. Although such a physical condition would be a hindrance to her religious life, the Buddha did not invalidate her ordination.  Instead, he allowed her to give birth to her child and raised it among the sa^ngha.[83] Therefore, ordaining a pregnant woman was prohibited, but in case of an infraction of this precept, rather than on the woman herself, the fault is on the or who knowingly gives ordination to a pregnant woman.  The principle that the precept masters take the blame in




case of a violation against the ordination rules applies similarly to the dual ordination.  That is to say, if precept masters give full ordination to women who have not taken full ordination from the sa^ngha first, the women commit no offence; rather, the precept masters commit an offense.  The rationale for this principle is that the precept masters should know the rules better than the precept receivers; therefore, the fault falls on them rather than the precept receivers should any violation of the ordination rules occur.  As a result, even if such an infraction should occur, the who receive ordination from sa^ngha alone still obtain a pure and flawless ordination.

  In the pratide`saniiya category, all Vinaya traditions have eight rules, except the Muulasarvaastivaada that has eleven.  In the Dharmagupta , the eight rules are asking for the following foods when a is not sick: cheese, oil, honey, sugar, milk, cream, fish, and meat.  In the Muulasarvaastivaada we find milk, yogurt, butter, ghee, oil, honey, sugar, fish, meat, dried meat, and partaking of food in a learner's house without being invited.

  Finally, in the ` category, the Dharmagupta has 100 rules while the Muulasarvaastivaada has 99, however, the contents of the rules differ considerably.[84] Here is a list of the number of rules in different ` categories:[85]


Different sections



l. Manner of wearing robes



2. Manners of entering a devotees house



3. Manners of accepting and eating food



4. Manners of exhortation







5. Manner of urinating and passing excrement



6. Climbing a tree higher than the height of a human being



7. Behavior related to cetiya







  The most apparent difference between the two renditions is that the Dharmagupta has 26 rules related to cetiya.  This difference reflects the great importance the Dharmagupta School places on the worship of cetiya.

  The last category of precepts includes the seven`samatha rules which are the same in both Vinaya traditions.  These rules deal with legal questions regarding to the settling of disputes about the Dharma and the Vinaya.

  The above brief comparison shows how the precepts in the Praatimok.saa Suutras of these two Vinaya traditions agree and differ from each other.  They do not differ much regarding the more important precepts in the paaraajika, sa^nghaava`sesa and ni.hsargika-paayantika categories.  Most of the differences are found in the ` rules: the manner of accepting and eating food, behavior related to cetiyas, etc. These rules are basically the guidelines for daily conduct and decorum for the, and do not have much to do with fundamental ethics and morality.  Inasmuch as they do not come under any penal section, there is no punishment for violating any of them; a transgression is not considered a criminal act, but simply bad manners.[86] Some of the rules seem unrealistic and archaic and can therefore be considered 'lesser and minor preceptsthat can legitimately be abolished.[87] For example, one ` rule




requires a 'not to give teachings while standing to one who is sitting, unless the person is sick.Obviously this reflects modes of behavior current at the time, but the application of this rule is somewhat irrelevant in the present day.

  In sum, if Tibetan Buddhism were to establish a lineage based on both the Dharmagupta and Muulasarvaastivaada Vinayas, it would not cause any serious problem in terms of keeping precepts, because even though there are differences between the Dharmagupta and Muulasarvaastivaada Praatimok.saas, the differences are minor and their essence is the same.


IV.    The Possible Establishment of a Tibetan Lineage

  In light of the discussion above, there are two possible ways to establish a Tibetan sa^ngha.  One is through dual ordination by both and sa^nghas, and the other is through single ordination from the sa^ngha only.  Ordination by alone can be ruled out because it is specifically prohibited in the eight gurudharmas, the karman, and the commentaries of all Vinaya traditions.

l. Ordination from both and Sa^nghas

  As the eight gurudharmas specify, a should receive a full ordination from both and sa^nghas.  If the Tibetan Buddhist tradition is to establish a lineage through dual ordination strictly according the Vinaya, it has to depend on a Buddhist tradition that has a living sa^ngha.  At present, the sa^ngha exists only in China, Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam.  Since the Korean and Vietnamese lineages were both received from China, it is better that Tibetan Buddhism seek the help of the Chinese sa^ngha.

  Although Tibetan Buddhism has `sraama.nerikaas, they are ordained by Tibetan bhik.sus, not by  Strictly speaking, this is not in accord with the Vinaya, which specifies that women should be




ordained at each and every stage (i.e., `sraama.nerikaa, `sik.samaa.naa, and 'basic dharma' ) by the sa^ngha.  Therefore, to establish a lineage, Tibetan Buddhists can ask elder, respected Chinese to ordain lay women in the Tibetan tradition as `sraama.nerikaas.  When the `sraama.nerikaas become eighteen years old, the Chinese masters can give them `sik.samaa.naa ordination and train them for two years in the six `sik.samaa.naa precepts.  The two years' training is very important in that the novices are tested to see whether they can keep the precepts, and whether they are determined enough to lead a vigorously religious life.  After two years of training, the Chinese precept masters should give them the full ordination (upasa.mpadaa).  Ten precept masters, who must have been for at least twelve years, are needed to give the ordination.  After taking this ordination from the Chinese sa^ngha, the Tibetan nuns become 'basic-dharma'

  The final stage of the full ordination is taking the ordination from the sa^ngha.  The Tibetan ' have two choices, that is, they can take the full ordination either from the Chinese sa^ngha or Tibetan sa^ngha.  Taking the matter of Vinaya lineage into consideration, it is probably better that the Tibetan 'basic-dharma the ordination from the Tibetan sa^ngha.  This way, when the Tibetan precept masters give the ordination, they can transmit the Muulasarvaastivaadin to the Tibetan 'basic-dharma,and no problem will arise as a result of the bhik.sus and following different Vinaya lineages.  As for the `sraama.nerikaa and `sik.samaa.naa ordinations previously taken from the Chinese sa^ngha, there would be no problem, since the ten `sraama.nerikaa precepts and the six `sik.samaa.naa precepts are basically the same in the Dharmagupta and Muulasarvaastivaadin Vinayas.

  In other words, the first Tibetan dual ordination is to be conferred by a Chinese sa^ngha in conjunction with




Tibetan bhik.sus.  Tibetan Buddhists can take the first dual ordination of in China as a precedent.  As discussed above, the Chinese nuns received the dual ordination from the Sri Lankan Sa^ngha and the Chinese Sa^ngha.  Although it is not known precisely which Vinaya tradition was transmitted to the Chinese, it apparently was not the Theravaada Vinaya followed by the Sri Lankan  In other words, it is likely that the initial dual ordination of in China itself was a combination of two different Vinaya traditions.  This is significant in that no question has ever been raised concerning the validity of this lineage.

   A dual ordination conferred by the Chinese sa^ngha and the Tibetan sa^ngha could be given continuously for twelve years until finally there would be a group of Tibetan who have been ordained for the required twelve years and would therefore be qualified to conduct the ordination themselves.[88] According to the Muulasarvaativaada tradition, the Tibetan would need to be at least twelve in number.  After maintaining the precepts for 12 years, they would be qualified to serve as precept masters to Tibetan nuns.  After that, Tibetan Buddhism would no longer have to depend on Chinese for conducting the dual ordination.

2. Ordination by the Tibetan Sa^ngha Alone

  If the Tibetan Buddhist tradition wants to avoid combining two different Vinaya traditions in establishing its sa^ngha, it can do it by depending on its own sa^ngha without help from Chinese  As discussed above, the Indian Vinaya Master




Gu.navarman as well as Chinese Vinaya Master Tao-hsuan asserted that a single ordination from the sa^ngha alone and a dual ordination from both sa^nghas are not different in terms of the validity of the ordination.  In other words, regardless of the procedure used, both types of full ordination result in pure and flawless vows for the ordination candidate.  The only difference is that the bhik.sus who give the single ordination commit an offense of paayantika.  What the Tibetan tradition could do is have ten Tibetan precept masters give the ordination according to the Muulasarvaastivaadin Vinaya to a group of Tibetan nuns.  As a result, the Tibetan nuns would become, while the bhik.sus would commit a paayantika.  Since these Tibetan precept masters commit a paayantika and would have to confess their transgression, it would be better not to have the same group of precept masters give the ordination every time, so that they will not commit the same offense again and again.[89]

  Theoretically, the establishment of a Tibetan lineage by the Tibetan sa^ngha is feasible.  The Tibetan tradition could initiate a dual ordination of as soon as the first group of at least twelve Tibetan, ordained by the Tibetan sa^ngha, had been ordained for twelve years.  The feasibility and validity of such an ordination is based on the assumption that the sa^ngha has the final authority in the ordination process.  The initial ordination process by Tibetan bhik.sus alone would be justified, because no Tibetan are currently available to give the ordination.  If all schools of Tibetan Buddhism come to a consensus and agree that a ordination conducted by the Tibetan sa^ngha alone is valid, under these circumstances, most of the problems concerning the




establishment of a lineage will be solved.  However, the Tibetan Buddhists who choose this solution may be challenged, when a valid lineage exists, as to why they do not seek the help of the Chinese  If the Chinese nuns could seek help from Sri Lankan in the fifth century, how much more easily Tibetan Buddhists could get the help of the Chinese today.  Not to seek the help of a recognized extant lineage when the Chinese are ready and willing to help and to continue questioning the purity of their lineage could be taken as an affront.

  Although either way of establishing a Tibetan Buddhist lineage suggested here are slightly flawed, both ways are feasible because neither is against the principles or spirit of the Muulasarvaastivaadin and Dharmagupta Vinayas.  Tibetan Buddhism is known for putting great importance on unbroken lineages.  Since a Muulasarvaastivaadin lineage cannot be found anywhere in the world today, the Tibetans will have to choose between either a dual ordination with the help of the lineage of other traditions or a single-ordination from their own sa^ngha.  To choose the first way, Tibetan Buddhism would have to accept the fact that the Chinese lineage has continued unbroken since its establishment in the fifth century, and that the conjunction of two different lineages poses no problem because all Vinaya lineages derive from the Buddha.  If they choose the second way, the Tibetans have to accept the premise that an ordination from the sa^ngha alone is valid when a sa^ngha is not available.  Tibetan bhik.sus have been giving `sraama.nerikaa ordination to women for centuries and consider this practice valid because of the unavailability of Using the same logic, they can legitimize giving Tibetan nuns ordination.[90] Besides,




nowhere does any Vinaya specify that a ordination by sa^ngha only, even though incomplete, is invalid.  All that is required is that certain Tibetan bhik.sus be willing to take the lead in initiating the sa^ngha in the Tibetan tradition.



  To establish a Tibetan lineage involves large and complex issues.  The issues include the doctrinal, the social (the passivity of the uneducated Tibetan nuns themselves and the activism of Western nuns), cultural (conservatism of the bhik.sus), the political (Chinese government resistance to any kind of Buddhist activity), etc. This paper only deals with the doctrinal issues of what constitutes an authentic ordination, the validity of the Chinese lineage, and the compatibility of the Dharmagupta and Muulasarvaastivaadin Vinayas.  In the light of these arguments, it can be concluded that all traditional Buddhist criteria for the establishment of a lineage in Tibet are fulfilled.  Hesitancy to find a way to initiate ordination by Tibetan Institution could be viewed as sexism of patriarchal culture, whose only function is to prevent the fulfillment of the Dharma, of the world's need for the Dharma, and of the practice needs of Tibetan Buddhist women.

  Although Tibetan nuns (`sraama.nerikaas) have been in existence for many centuries, they have never enjoyed the same level of support as monks have and have always faced more obstacles. ordination is the right and obligation of a nun.  Any decision regarding the establishment of a Tibetan lineage should be taken from a stance of compassion for the benefit of Tibetan women, the Dharma and the world.  Rather than stand on a technicality and take a position that will be viewed as sexist from a modern standpoint, Tibetan bhik.sus should be able to see the great benefit that nuns can accomplish. As Ven. M. Wimalasara said to the Tibetan monks, when he attended the First Seminar of Vinaya




Scholars Concerning the Lineage of Ordination in Dharamsala in 1998, 'If you have good intentions, you will find a way.Many women in the Tibetan tradition are waiting to assess the intentions of their sa^ngha. They expect the Tibetan monks to find a way and make a favorable decision to fulfil their wishes.

















關鍵詞: 1. 比丘尼 2. 具足戒 3. 受戒 4. 西藏佛教 5.《四分律》 6.《根本說一切有部律》





 [1]    The first conference was held in November, 1997 in Taipei, Taiwan. It was sponsored by the Center for Buddhist Studies at National Taiwan University. The Dalai Lama sent Geshe Tashi Tsering to attend the conference. The other participants included Chinese, bhik.sus, and scholars. The discussions concentrated mainly on two topics: (1) the formation and development of the Chinese lineage and (2) the difference between the vinaya systems of Dharmagupta and Muulasarvaastivaada. The second conference was held in August, 1998 in Dharamsala. It was sponsored by the Department of Religious and Cultural Affairs of the Tibetan Government in exile and included Vinaya masters from Taiwan, the Theravaada tradition and the Tibetan tradition. Among the invited speakers, there was only one representative, apparently a very uneven ratio.

 [2]    The story of how Mahaaprajaapatii became a nun can be found in the following sources:

(1)     Pali Cullavagga X (I.B. Horner, The Books of the Discipline, Pali Text Society, London, 1975, vol.5, pp.352-356).

(2)     Madhyamaagama (T.1, pp.605a-607b).

(3) (T.1, pp.856a-858a).

(4)     Dharmagupta Vinaya (T.22, pp.922c-923c).

(5)     Mahaasa.mghika Vinaya (T.22, pp.471a-471b).

(6)     Mahii`saasaka Vinaya (T.22, pp.185b-186b).

(7)     Muulasarvaastivaada Vinaya (T.24, pp.350b-351a).

(8)     Mahaaprajaapatii Gautamii Suutra (T.24, pp.945b-947a).

 [3]    I. B. Horner, The Book of the Discipline, vol.5, p.352.

 [4]    Maanatta means joy to the penitent resulted from confession and absolution; it is also a term for penance,or punishment.

 [5]    The Ssu-fen Lu, T.22, p.923a-b.

 [6]    There is some debate about whether or not the eight chief rules are an accurate representation of the words of the Buddha. First, the formation of the eight rules goes against the Buddha's general procedure for establishing precepts, which is, whenever a monk or nun did or said something improper, accordingly a precept was set up to prevent future occurrence. Second, there is evidence that at least some of the eight rules did not exist at the time that the lineage was established. For example, the paacittiya rule 52 in the Pali Vibha^ngha says that 'Whichever nuns were to verbally abuse or revile a monk--this is an offence involving expiation.(For the background of the formation of this rule, see Gregory Schopen, 'The Suppression of Nuns and the Ritual Murder of their Special Dead in Two Buddhist Monastic Texts,Journal of Indian Philosophy, vol.24, 1996, pp.563-592.) This rule is equivalent to the second rule of the eight chief rules.  If the eight rules were proclaimed before the establishment of the sa^ngha, this paacittya rule would not have to be proclaimed again.

 [7]    Ssu-fen Lu (Dharmagupta Vinaya), T.22, p.925a.

 [8]   For a detailed discussion of the need for consent of parents or husband, see I.B. Horner, Women in Primitive Buddhism, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, pp.174-184.  The Pali Vinaya states, 'Let no son, almsman, receive the pabbajjaa ordination without his father's and his mother's consent.  He who confers the pabbajjaa ordination [on a son without that permission] is guilty of a dukkata offence.(I. B. Horner, Women in Primitive Buddhism, p.149).  The Ssu-fen Lu also states, 'If a ordains a woman without first receiving the permission of her guardian, at that instant, her act is to be considered a sa^nghaava` offense.(T.22, p.519b.) The 'guardianrefers to the parents, husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law or uncles.  According to the Theriigaathaa, it seems that this rule was closely followed during the Buddha's time. However, nowadays in Taiwan, where there is a large number of, this rule is not very strictly observed. In the case of a woman who cannot get consent from her parents or husband, it is argued that an adult woman has a legal right to act on her own behalf and make her own decision without anybody's consent.

 [9]    Tan-wu-te lu-pu tza che-mo (The Karma of the Dharmagupta Vinaya), T.22, pp.1047c- 1048a.

[10]    Ssu-fen Lu, T.22, pp.810c-p.811a. The Mahaasa^nghika Vinaya specifies that a 'crow-chasing `sraama.nerais between the age of seven to thirteen (T.22, p.461b).

[11]    Akira Hirakawa, Monastic Discipline for Buddhist Nuns, Kashhi Prasad Jayasawal Research Institute: Patna, 1982, p.299.

[12]    Ssu-fen Lu, T.22, p.756a-b.

[13]    Shih-sung Lu, T.23, p.326a.

[14]    T.22, p.1037c. Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Sisters in Solitude, Sri Satguru Publication: Delhi, 1997, p.54.

[15]    For a discussion of the `sik.samaa.naa precepts in the various Vinaya traditions, see Hirakawa, Monastic Discipline for the Buddhist Nuns, pp.53-54.

[16]    T.22, p.924b-c.

[17]    T.23, p.1005a.

[18]    T.22, p.1048a.

[19]    Karma means religious action, service or performance; it refers to the meeting of the monks or nuns for the purpose of ordination, confession, or expulsion of the unrepentant. (A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, compiled by William Soothill, Buddhist Culture Service, Fukuangshan, Taiwan, p.442.)

[20]    T.22, p.1048b.

[21]    Ibid.

[22]    T.22, p.1048c.

[23]    According to the Muulasarvaastivaada Vinaya, there should be twelve precept masters.

[24]    I.B. Horner, The Book of the Discipline, vol.5, p.375.

[25]    Hirakawa, p.60-62.

[26]    T. 22, p.1048c.

[27]    T.24, p.461c-462a. The questions include: (1) whether the candidate has received permission from her parents or husband; (2) whether she has completed the two year study of the precepts; (3) whether she has committed a serious offense (such as killing her parents); (4) whether she has a upaadhyayinii; (5) whether she is a woman; (6) and whether she has diseases such as leprosy, scabies, tuberculosis, mental disease, etc.

[28]    A should have three robes (ka.saaya): 1. Sa^nghaa.tii (assembly robe), 2. Uttaraasa^ngha (upper robe), and 3. Antaravaasaka (vest or shirt).

[29]    T.22, p.1049a.

[30]    T.22, p.1049b.

[31]    In the Mahii`saasakaa and Dharmgupta Vinayas, four ni`srayas are mentioned, the other Vinayas mention only three.

[32]    In the Maahasa^nghika, Sarvaastivaada and Muulasarvaastivaada Vinayas, the three ni`srayas are explained before taking the upasa^mpadaa to make sure that the candidate understands the austere life she will have to lead. However, in the Dharmagupta and the Pali Vinaya, the ni`srayas are explained after the upasa.mpadaa.

[33]    Nowadays in both Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, it is a common practice for the bhik.sus to ordain laywomen and confer the `sraama.nerikaa vows. However, this practice is not in accord with the Vinaya.

[34]    Horner, p. 144.

[35]    The so-called 'three-platform ordinationincludes the `sraama.nerkaa and `, upasa^mpadaa ( and, and bodhisattva ordinations. Usually it takes one month for all the procedures.

[36]    According to all the Vinaya traditions, women should take the pravrajyaa, `sraama.nerikaa, `sik.samaa.naa, and ordinations from the sa^ngha. Therefore, strictly speaking, a should not ordain a woman as his disciple. However, the ordination of female disciples by bhik.sus is a very common practice in Taiwanese and Tibetan Buddhism.

[37]    The Biographies of (Pi-ch'iu-ni chuan), compiled in 516 A.D. by the monk Pao-ch'ang, record the lives of sixty-five eminent For the English translation of this text, see Kathryn Ann Tsai, Lives of the Nuns, University of Hawaii Press, 1994.

[38]    T.50, p.934c.

[39]   During Ching-chien's time, the Dharmagupta Karman, which describes the karma procedures for the ordination of, had already been translated, but it was probably not available in south China. The Sarvaastivaada Vinaya was the first complete version of the Vinaya to be translated and it was not completed until 404 A.D. This is why Fa-shih said that the 'preceptswere incomplete.

[40]    T.50, p.934c.

[41]    An other name for the Chieh-yin-yuan-ching is Pi-na-yeh (Vinaya), T.24. pp.851b-899c.

[42]    The Vinaya texts that Gu.navarman translated include the Hsa-hsin, the Karman of the Dharmagupta Vinaya, the Brief Treatise on the Five Precepts of the Upaasaka, and the Twenty-two Precepts of the Upaasaka, etc. (T.50, p.340a).

43]    T.50, p.341b and T.50, pp.342b.

[44]    Kathryn A. Tsai, tr., Lives of the Nuns, p. 53.

[45]    There is another record of the arrival of the from India in the Pi-ch'iu-ni Shou-chieh Lu (The Record of the' Taking Precepts). This text says, 'During the end of Han Dynasty and the beginning of Wei Dynasty (around 220 A.D.) two from eastern India came to [the Capital] Chang-an. They asked the Chinese nuns from whom they had received the precepts. They replied that they had only taken the five and ten precepts from the sa^ngha. These two Indian sighed and said that the nuns of the borderland (i.e., Chinese nuns) were not fully ordained. They then returned to their country and solicited fifteen to come to China to administer the ordination; of these three died in the snow mountains and two died from falling into dark gorges. Only ten of them survived and reached China. Thereupon many Chinese nuns went to the capital city to receive the full ordination. Later these Indian went to the area of Wu (south of Yangtze River) and gave ordination to Chinese nuns there, too.(Hsu Tsang Ching, vol.60, p.708b.)  This account is not found anywhere except the Pi-ch'iu-ni Shou-chieh Lu by Hung-tsang. Since this text was not written until the seventeen century, its authenticity is dubious.

[46]    Kathryn A. Tsai, p.54; T.50, p.939c.

[47]    Ibid.

[48]    T.50, p.341b.

[49]    For a to be qualified to act as a preceptor she must have been a fully ordained as a for more than twelve years.

[50]    There should be ten (the three preceptors and three witnesses) to confer ordination.

[51]    T.50, p.341b.

[52]    In the biography of the nun Pao-hsien, the year given for this ordination is 434 C.E.

[53]    Manji Zokuzo Kyo (Hsu Tsang Ching), Pai-ma Publisher, Taipei, vol.64, p.454.

[54]    The nun Hui-kuo asked Gu.navarman, 'All the Buddhist nuns here in China who earlier received the obligation to keep the rules did not receive according to the fundamentals of the rituals. They had as their eminent precedent the Buddha's step-mother, Mahaaprajaapatii. But those first Chinese nuns did not know, and neither do I, whether there is any difference [between Mahaaprajaapatii's situation and that of the nuns who came after her].'   Gu.navarman replied, 'There is no difference.Hui-kuo continued, 'According to the literature of the monastic regulations that I have read, the teacher who administers the rules and the obligation to follow them has committed an offense by permitting women to receive the rules from the Assembly of Monks only. [Therefore, how can there be no difference?' ] (Kathryn A. Tsai, Lives of the Nuns, p.37; T.50, p.937b.)

[55]    T.50, p. 937b.

[56]    Dao-hai, 'Discussion of Ordination and its Lineage in China: Based on Scriptures of Chinese Vinaya and Historical facts,paper delivered in the 1st Seminar of Vinaya Scholars Concerning the Lineage of Ordination, Dharamsala, 3-5 August, 1998, p.18

[57]    The 'precept agerefers to the number of years a monk or nun has been fully ordained as a or

[58]    T.49, p.344c.

[59]    Kathryn A. Tsai, Lives of the Nuns, p.17.

[60]    For a detailed study of in T'ang Dynasty, see Yu-chen Lee, T'ang-Tai Te Pi-chiu-ni ( in the T'ang), Hsieh-shen Publisher, 1989.

[61]    In almost every important dynasty, the biographies of eminent monks were compiled, but this was not the case with regard to

[62]    Heng-ching Shih, 'Chinese in the Ch'an Tradition,Philosopher's Review, vol.15, 1992, pp.181-207.

[63]    This persecution did not last very long. Although hundreds of thousands of monks and nuns were forced to return to lay life, still many escaped from the persecution. After Emperor Hsuan-Tsang (846~859 A.D.), Wu-tsung's successor, ascended the throne he ordered that state ordination platforms be built to re-ordain the monks and nuns forced to return to lay status. Therefore, despite this devastating persecution, neither the nor the lineage was broken.

[64]    T.49. p.465c.

[65]    T.54, p.252a.

[66]    Ibid.

[67]    T.54, p.238c.

[68]    Dao-hai, 'Discussion of Ordination and Its Lineage in China: Based on Scriptures of Chinese Vinaya and Historical Facts,p.5.

[69]    T.49, p.463a.

[70]    T.49, p.404a.

[71]    For a partial translation of the Fo-tsu tung-chi, see Jan Yun-hua, A Chronicle of Buddhism in China 581~960 A.D., Vi`sva-Bharati:Calcutta, 1966.

[72]    T.49, p.396b.

[73]    Hsu-tsan Ching, vol.107, p.94.

[74]    Ibid., p.115.

[75]    Ibid., p.93.

[76]    Hung-yi, Lu-hsueh Yao-lueh, in Hung-yi Ta-shih Fa-chi, vol.3, p.1531.

[77]    Among the ordinations held in Taiwan in recent years, a few of them were conferred by both sa^nghas, while the others were by the sa^ngha only.

[78]    Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Sisters in Solitude, p.136.

[79]    Ibid., p.140.

[80]    Kabilsingh, p.74.

[81]    Kabilsingh, pp.94-96.

[82]    T.22, pp.1037b-1038a; T.24, p.514-515a.

[83]    T.22, pp.754c-755a; Sacred Books of the Buddhists, vol.20, p.385.

[84]         In the Tibetan translation of the Muulasarvaastivaadin Praatimok.saa, there are 113 ` rules. (Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Sisters in Solitude, pp.120-127.)

[85]    Shih Hui-min, 'chung-tu Pi-ch'iu-ni chuan-ch'eng yu Tsi-tsang pi-ch'iu-ni seng-tuan chih ch'ung-chien,the Journal of the Center for Buddhist Studies, National Taiwan University, vol. 3, 1998, p.l2.

[86]    W. Pachow, 'A Comparative Study of the,'   In Sino-Indian Studies, Vol. IV, part 2, ed., P.C. Bagchi, Shantiniketan, India, 1955, p.69.

[87]    Before the Buddha entered parinirva^na, he told Aananda that 'the lesser and minor rules may be abolished. (I.B. Horner, the Book of the Discipline, vol.5, p.398.)

[88]    Due to political tensions between Communist China and Tibet, it is unlikely, though not impossible that both sides will consider cooperating on this religious issue. Thus, the in Taiwan are probably the best choice for the Tibetan tradition. Besides, the sa^ngha in Taiwan is now very strong and vital.

[89]    Tibetan bhik.sus can also choose to confer the full ordination only once, and wait for twelve years until the Tibetan become qualified to conduct the dual ordination in conjunction with Tibetan bhik.sus.

[90]    The same logic can apply to the `sraama.nerikaa and `sik.samaa.naa ordinations. Until Tibetan are available, the sa^ngha can legitimately give the ordinations to Tibetan nuns.