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Book: Setting Out on the Great Way

Chapter: Recruitment and Retention in Early Bodhisattva Sodalities

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.24513


This chapter attempts to reorient the question of the origins of the Mahāyāna away from single-hypothesis explanations by turning toward a more nuanced appreciation of the way some authors of its earliest literature actively engaged in efforts to recruit new members to the bodhisattva fold and retain them once they were in. Drawing from the sociology of New Religious Movements, I show that two voices among the earliest texts assumed very different postures with regard to bodhisattva relations with their Mainstream brethren.

Chapter Contributors

  • Daniel Boucher ( - dboucher) 'Cornell University'