The Application of Traditional Rules of Purity (Qinggui) in Contemporary Taiwanese Monasteries


  • Tzu-Lung Chiu Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity



Qinggui, Vinaya, contemporary Chinese Buddhism, nuns, Taiwan


Vinaya rules embody the ideal of how Buddhists should regulate their daily lives, and monastics are required to observe them, despite the fact that they were compiled nearly 2,500 years ago in India: a context dramatically different not only from Chinese Buddhism's present monastic conditions, but from its historical conditions. Against this backdrop, rules of purity (qinggui) were gradually formulated by Chinese masters in medieval times to supplement and adapt vinaya rules to China's cultural ethos and to specific local Chinese contexts. This study explores how the traditional qinggui are applied by the Buddhist sangha in present-day Taiwan, and contrasts modern monastics' opinions on these rules and their relation to early Buddhist vinaya, on the one hand, against classical Chan literature (such as Chanyuan qinggui) and the Buddhist canon (such as Dharmaguptakavinaya), on the other. This comparison fills a notable gap in the existing literature.

Author Biography

  • Tzu-Lung Chiu, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

    Prior to joining the Max Planck Institute as a postdoctoral researcher, Tzu-Lung Chiu was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, having completed her Ph.D. studies at Ghent University, Belgium, in 2016. Her research interests include Indian Vinaya rules, contemporary Chinese Buddhism, gender, the Chinese diaspora, and Buddhist rituals and practices; and she has written or co-written a number of research articles on traditional Vinaya rules regarding such matters as fasting and the handling of money as they are applied (or not) in contemporary Chinese Buddhist contexts. She is currently researching monastic networks that link Mahāyāna and Theravāda Buddhism in East and Southeast Asia, especially Thailand and Myanmar.


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How to Cite

Chiu, T.-L. (2020). The Application of Traditional Rules of Purity (Qinggui) in Contemporary Taiwanese Monasteries. Buddhist Studies Review, 36(2), 249-277.