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Little BuddhasChildren and Childhoods in Buddhist Texts and Traditions$
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Vanessa R. Sasson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860265

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860265.001.0001

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Ordination (Pabbajj ā) as Going Forth?

Ordination (Pabbajj ā) as Going Forth?

Social Bonds and the Making of a Buddhist Monastic

Chapter:
(p.229) Chapter 9 Ordination (Pabbajj ā) as Going Forth?
Source:
Little Buddhas
Author(s):

Jeffrey Samuels

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860265.003.0009

This chapter examines the processes by which boys living in Sri Lanka become Buddhist novices (sāmaera). Providing a detailed description of a pabbajjā ordination ritual as well as examining the factors that led one participant to become a novice, the author highlights the role that social relationships and affective bonds play in the recruiting and socialization process. Along with challenging the tendency to reduce monastic ordination to a person’s or family’s desire for upward social and economic mobility, the author questions the tendency of interpreting pabbajjā as “going forth” by illustrating how monastic ordination functions as a ritual through which an ordinand’s ties and social bonds become altered and expanded to include multiple communities of lay people and monastics.

Keywords:   Sri Lanka, novice, ordination, Theravāda, education, abbot, parents

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