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Lives of Early Buddhist NunsBiographies as History$
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Alice Collett

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199459070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199459070.001.0001

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Family, marriage, and class

Family, marriage, and class


(p.161) 10 Family, marriage, and class
Lives of Early Buddhist Nuns

Alice Collett

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on social status; a discussion borne from Paṭācārā’s decision to elope with an unsuitable man. Social class is conceptualized in the canon and commentaries as focused around family. Few of the nuns are said to hail from families of low status and none—with the possible exception of Paṭācārā—marry those from socially excluded groups. Also, while women often leave their husbands to go forth, they are rarely presented as abandoning a brahmin husband in favour of the Buddha. The chapter also explores the question of female agency with regards to marriage and women’s prerogative to choose their own spouses, which is a feature of both Paṭācārā’s biography, and that of Bhaddā Kuṇḍalakesā

Keywords:   family, marriage, class, caste, choice, female agency

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