This book provides a vivid and detailed picture of the daily life and religious practices of Buddhist monks and nuns in the classic period of Theravada Buddhism. The author describes the way in which the Buddha's disciples institutionalized and ritualized his teachings about food, dress, money, chastity, solitude, and discipleship. This tradition represents an ideal of religious life that has been followed in India and South Asia for more than two thousand years. The introduction by Steven Collins describes Theravada Buddhist literature, discusses the issue of the historical reliability of the texts, and offers extensive suggestions for further reading. The book will be of interest to scholars and students in Asian studies, religious studies, anthropology, and history.