Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Buddhism’s Theravāda: Monasticism

  • John ThompsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9345

Monasticism, living an ascetic life dedicated to spiritual matters, is central to Buddhism and even today many people in Southeast Asia (where Theravāda Buddhism dominates) briefly join a monastic order to get an education. Still, the distinction between monastics (bhikkhus and bhikkhunis) and laypeople (upāsakas and upāsīkas) is important. While by no means equivalent to education in Western academic psychology or undergoing psychotherapy, entering the monastic path entails engaging in a powerful regimen of psychological training not normally available to laypeople. Following scholarly convention, this discussion of Theravāda will use Pali, an Indic language similar to Sanskrit, for all technical terms.

Basic Points Regarding Monasticism

There are many misconceptions surrounding Buddhist monasticism that need to be addressed from the beginning. First, Buddhism is not justfor monastics, and monastics are not technically “higher” than laypeople. Second, Buddhist monastics are not...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

  1. Asma, S. T. (2005). The Gods drink whiskey: Stumbling toward enlightenment in the land of the tattered Buddha. San Francisco: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  2. Bell, C. (1997). Ritual: Perspectives and dimensions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, S. (2001). The journey of one Buddhist nun: Even against the wind. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  4. Corless, R. J. (1989). The vision of the Buddha: The space under the tree. New York: Paragon House.Google Scholar
  5. Lester, R. C. (1973). Theravāda Buddhism in Southeast Asia. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  6. Maslow, A. H. (1987). Motivation and personality (3rd ed.). New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  7. Murcott, S. (1991). The first Buddhist women: Translations and commentary on the Therigatha. Berkeley: Paralax.Google Scholar
  8. Nanamoli, B. (Trans.). (1991). The path of purification (Visuddhimagga) by Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa (5th ed.). Kandy: Buddhist Text Publication Society.Google Scholar
  9. Rhys Davids, C. A. F. (1914). Buddhist psychology: An inquiry into the analysis and theory of mind in Pali literature. London: Luzac.Google Scholar
  10. Saddhatissa, H. (1987). Buddhist ethics: The path to nirvana. London: Wisdom.Google Scholar
  11. Saddhatissa, H. (1991). The significance of Paritta and its application in the Theravāda tradition. In D. Kalupahana (Ed.), Buddhist thought and ritual (pp. 125–137). New York: Paragon House.Google Scholar
  12. Solé-Leris, A. (1986). Tranquility and insight: An introduction to the oldest form of Buddhist meditation. Boston: Shambhala.Google Scholar
  13. Strong, J. S. (2002). The experience of Buddhism: Sources and interpretations (3rd ed.). Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  14. Swearer, D. K. (1981). Buddhism and society in Southeast Asia. Chambersburg: Anima.Google Scholar
  15. Thompson, J. M. (2006). Buddhism. In L. W. Bailey (Ed.), Introduction to the world’s major religions (Vol. 3). Westport: Greenwood.Google Scholar
  16. Ward, T. (1998). What the Buddha never taught. Toronto: Somerville House.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Christopher Newport UniversityNewport NewsUSA