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Attracting the HeartSocial Relations and the Aesthetics of Emotion in Sri Lankan Monastic Culture$
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Jeffrey Samuels

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833855

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833855.001.0001

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Narada Thero

Narada Thero

Affective Bonds and the Making of a Social Service Monk

(p.1) 1 Narada Thero
Attracting the Heart

Jeffrey Samuels

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter provides the temporal and theoretical starting point for a discussion of recruitment, monastic training, and institution building. Discussing the life events of one monk, Venerable Narada, from his decision to become a monastic to his choice to remain in the sangha for life, it examines how social bonds influence the decisions that people—monastic and lay—make about their role in society and their commitment to the sangha. By assessing carefully the factors that contributed to Narada's decision to serve people's social and economic needs, the chapter maintains that the model of generalized economic exchange that is sometimes used to describe Buddhist monasticism as a social institution limits our ability to understand and appreciate how groups of monastics and laypeople interact on a regular basis. Although it may correctly be asserted that both monastics' material needs and the laity's ritual wants and their desire for merit are central factors that draw and hold together groups of monastics and laypeople, it is argued that social ties based on shared emotions and collective histories play a central role in the formation and continuation of Buddhist monastic communities.

Keywords:   monastics, Buddhist monks, Buddhism, sangha, social bonds, lay people, monasticism, social ties, collective history, Buddhist monastic communities

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