Do not say after my parinirvana that pure practitioners have no protector. Now that I have taught the Prātimokṣa Sūtra and the excellent vinaya well, regard these as the World-honored One after my parinirvana.
—Śākyamuni Buddha in the Prātimokṣa Sūtra
Nearly twenty-six centuries ago in India, our world had the extraordinary great fortune to have the appearance of a fully awakened Buddha who turned the wheel of Dharma. His teachings spread and flourished throughout Asia and, in the last century or two, have spread to Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Africa as well.
The Buddha gave us three “baskets” of teachings—the vinaya, the sūtras, and the abhidharma—all of which must be studied and practiced to maintain Buddhism as a living tradition. While all practitioners can engage with the sūtras and abhidharma, it is only the saṅgha that commit themselves to practicing the vinaya. Thus sangha communities are necessary for the preservation of the Buddha’s complete doctrine. The existence of these communities in a land is the measure of the Buddhadharma flourishing in that place.
Traditionally, the sangha has been entrusted to learn and pass down the Buddha’s teachings from one generation to another. To transmit the entirety of the Buddhadharma to a new land, it is essential that there are monastics who learn the vinaya and use it to guide their daily lives. They must train in both the prohibitive and prescriptive precepts, the prohibitive precepts being actions to abandon, the prescriptive precepts being activities that the saṅgha should engage in.
This book is based on a series of oral teachings by Vinaya Master Bhiksu Benyin given during a triple ordination platform in Taiwan. As a clear and easy-to-understand introduction to the prescriptive precepts, Karmans for the Creation of Virtue: The Prescriptive Precepts in the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya is a contribution to the growing body of vinaya literature in English.
Ven. Thubten Chodron’s website with link to Amazon for purchasing the book