Sleeping Equipment in Early Buddhism From India to China

Ann Heirman


Sleeping constitutes an important part of our daily routine, and this is no different for Buddhist monks (bhikṣu) and nuns (bhikṣuṇī)1 Still, while sleeping is often perceived as an innocent time during which one cannot incur any guilt, it is not as harmless as one might think. During sleep, one can unwittingly cause a loss of respect or self-respect and damage one’s reputation or, by extension, the reputation of one’s community. As a result, the community tries to impose strict control over all aspects of sleeping, including the nature of beds and mats.2 It is on this material aspect that the present research focuses. How is sleeping equipment described in early (Indian) Buddhist disciplinary texts? Which guidelines have to be taken into account? What may we learn from them? And how have these Indian guidelines been interpreted in China? 

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Copyright (c) 2017 Ann Heirman