The text, needless to mention, is possibly the earliest composition exclusively credited to the women folk. The publication incorporates some thought provoking issues like Position and Status of Women in India in the sixth century B.C., the Buddhist Community-Buddhist Pratimoksha Sutra-Origin and Nature of the Buddhist Safigha Doctrinal and metaphysical aspects and changing scenario of the Vinaya-vastu in the Buddhist Monastic Order.
The book delves deep into the regional flavor and focus, generating a sense of reality blended with facts and practices-thus posing a fresh paradigm relating to contemporary society and religion.
To quote Professor S.K. Pathak (Foreword) she is 'a promising scholar of our days attempted to explore a rarely traversed path in Buddhistic researches,' from historical and sociological perspectives.
In addition to her specialization in Buddhism, her research interests include early epigraphical and iconographical reflection on religion in Southeast Asia. Further she has also published over fifteen articles/research papers in Journals of national and international repute. Sayamtara an upcoming scholar participated in the International Buddhist conference at the Buddhagravaka Bhiksu University, Anuradhapur, Srilanka, in 17-19 February, 2012; 15th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists in Paris (6-10 July, 2015); attended the Parliament of the World's Religions 2015, Salt Lake city, Utah, USA (October 15-19, 2015); Spent a few weeks (10th Oct.-15th Nov.2015) with the Nuns at Hollywood Santa Barbara and Chiago Vedant Society of Southern California for her research work. WAG8 held in Kyoto, Japan (28th August -2nd September, 2016).
Articulate, well researched and extremely grounded with her subject of specialization, she is presently engaged with study of early Indian Buddhist, Jaina and Hindu art and iconography.
She is currently associated with the Visva Bharati, Calcutta and Presidency universities as Guest teaching faculty. Dr. Sayamtara is also a regular contributor and member of various professional and academic organizations like the World Archaeological Congress,. Art History Congress, Indian History Congress, Numismatic Society of India (Banaras), Paschimvanga Itihasa Samsad (Kolkata), etc.
Obviously the materials are based on the Tibetan rendering of (Mulasarvastivada) Bhiksuni Pratimoksha Sutra (Tibetan Dge slong ma'i so sor thap pa'i mdo.) The Tibetan text (Peking edn folio nos. Bkali bgyur Hdul ba 1 b: 1 - 25 a 5) had been rendered into bod skad (bhota bhasa in Sanskrit) Tibetan from rgya gar skad (Bharata bhasa) by Jinamitra of Kashmir and Klu'I rgyal mtshan or Jhu Chen Lo tsa ba. The Tibetan erudite according to order of the Tibetan ruler Dpal the btsan pa of the Btsan Monarchy in the early ninth century translated the Sanskrit text that refers to Ral pa can in the Btsan Monarchy royal title. It presupposes that Tibetan Buddhist communities might have felt requirements of the Bhiksuni Safigha (Tibetan: ani gompa) by then for their social development. That stream has not yet discontinued.
It is to be noted in this context that the term 'status' is defined as 'the position of an individual in relation to another or others', while 'position' is meant one's social standing and a post of employment'. (The Random House Dictionary of the English Language edited Jess Stein, pp.1035, 1283). Under `status', woman as wife, as mother, as daughter, as a maid, friend can be traced out, while under 'position' woman's education, hobbies and plays, freedom to love and live, employment as an ambassador, adviser and guide to the king, and her leading to the life of a poet, a musician, a dancer, a singer and a house wife, etc are dealt with. As the chapter titles and section headings indicate, this study is designed to discover the distinctive perspective of the Buddhist Pratimoksha vis-a-vis Studies on Women in Buddhism. Throughout the following study, we have extensively used G. Roth and Akira Hirakawa's translations of Bhikkshuni Pratimoksha and Manual of Discipline for Buddhist Nuns along with the relevant canonical texts in Pali.
But the study of Buddhism becomes intensive and systematic one with the foundation of the Pali Texts Society in 1881. According to T.W. Rhys Davids, the founder of the PTS.
Apart from the textual studies which formed the substratum of all subsequent researches, the main emphasis of earlier writers of Buddhism was on clarifying various traditions. With this kind of critical analysis it was possible to make a distinction between the mythical and historical elements contained in the legendary data in regard to the life and achievements of the Buddha. Moreover, the study also throws light on distinguishing a primitive Buddhism from the doctrines supposed to have been grossly altered at the later period. The growth of different Buddhist sects and their doctrines, the rise of Mahayana with its increasing emphasis on the extreme form of philosophical idealism, and a corresponding mythological development to this speculative approach were also brought to light. Attempts were also made to prove that early Buddhism was by its very nature opposed to Brahmanism and that its followers formed a congregation, the object of which was to realize a perfect life into which members were admitted only after the performance of certain vows and rites and from which they could not return without becoming renegades. The historical process through which the geographical expansion of Buddhism throughout the Indian subcontinent and beyond was possible was also understood to a considerable extent.
The history of Buddhism and its varied historical and social contents demonstrated with the decipherment of the Mokan inscriptions. Different categories of Agokan inscriptions, i.e., rock edict, pillar edict, votive stapa edict, etc, which are of great importance to the study of Buddhism, were dealt with by Burnouf, Kern, Cunningham, Senart, Buhler and Hultzsch, D.C. Sircar, B.M.Barua and others. On the basis of the archaeological evidences James Burgess in 1833 published a book entitled- The Buddhist Caves and Inscriptions.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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