Buddhist monks are almost always imagined as ascetic spiritual practitioners, indifferent to mundane concerns. In fact, however, like any other institution, a monastery must be governed and the burden of these administrative duties necessarily falls on monks. This raises the interesting question of the status of monastic administrators. Looked at in one light, they are at the top of the monastic hierarchy. From another perspective, however, they are divorced from the main purpose of monastic life. In this book, Jonathan Silk examines the way in which this question was debated in the formative years of Indian Buddhism. He shows how various texts reveal ambivalent and controversial attitudes towards monastic administrators.

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