The Problem of Eating Together: Commensality in the Vinayas and its Chinese Reception

When and Where

Friday, November 24, 2023 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Hybrid / McMaster
University Hall 122
McMaster University, Hamilton ON


Yi (Allan) Ding (DePaul University)


Yehan Numata Program in Buddhist Studies 2023-24

Commensality holds a pivotal role in many religions, including Buddhism. It delineates the contours of monasticism and demarcates the distinctions between monastic and lay communities. The vinayas regulate food-sharing practices with rules and legal precedents and offer a glimpse into the religious landscape in early India. As Chinese Buddhism began to take shape from the second century onward, there was a pressing need to reframe and adapt Buddhist commensality to fit the Chinese religious contexts. This reshaping is evident in the different forms of zhai observed in medieval China.

YI (ALLAN) DING is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at DePaul University, Chicago. His research interests include Buddhist rituals, Chan Buddhism, and Sino-Tibetan Buddhism. He currently works on a book manuscript that focuses on various forms of Buddhist feasts and observances in medieval China.




University of Toronto, McMaster University


McMaster University, Hamilton ON