Claire Maes


Claire Maes

Contact details

Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
Ghent University
Blandijnberg 2
5th floor, office 150.005
B-9000 Gent


Biographical introduction

I have obtained a masters degree in Eastern Languages and Cultures at Ghent University in 2005 with a dissertation entitled "De oprichting van de nonnengemeenschap in het boeddhisme en het jainisme, geplaatst in een historisch kader" (The establishment of the community of nuns in Buddhism and Jainism, placed in a historical framework"). In the summer of 2005 I went to India with a scholarship of the Flemish Government to study Philosophy at the University of Mysore where I obtained my M.A. in Philosophy in June 2007. Since October 2008 I am working at Ghent University as a Research Assistant of the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). I defended my PhD thesis "The Dialectic of the Monastic Other" on 10.07.2015.


PhD "The Dialectic of the Monastic Other: A Research into the Dynamics Behind the Origin and Development of the Theravada Buddhist Monastic Community, with a Special Focus on the Early Jain-Buddhist Contact"

Departing from the truism that the development of the early Buddhist monastic community evolved in dialogue with its wider North-Indian contexts, this PhD questions which precepts, terminology, narrative elements and structures of an important Buddhist monastic text, i.e. the Pāli Vinaya of the Theravāda school, are products of and best understood within the dynamic contexts of the early Buddhist tradition. This PhD researches how much of the early Buddhists’ inter-religious contact with contemporary ascetic or monastic communities, with a special focus on the Jain, can still be traced in this Pāli Vinaya.
This research hopes to offer an effective and much needed move away from the traditional stories concerning the development of the Buddhist monastic precepts and structures wherein (the authority of) the Buddha is having the central role, to the boundaries of the early Buddhist monastic community where ‘Buddhist’ identity was continuously being negotiated, just as the possibility of incorporating new, or differing and alternative ascetic ideas and praxes. By concentrating on the dialectic force of the monastic other on the development of the early Buddhist monastic community, I hope to successfully move the spotlight from the centre of the Buddhist community to its boundaries where the ‘flowing together of currents’ can be seen, or where, in short, the dynamics of “the making off” can still be best appreciated.

Promotor: Prof. Dr. Ann Heirman

Defence date: 10.07.2015


Sanskrit (BA I, BA II, BA III and MA)

Prakrit (MA)

Hindi (BA I)


  • Maes, Claire, 2010-2011, “One-Sensed Facultied Life (ekindriya jīva) in the Pāli vinaya: A Camouflaged Debate Between Early Buddhists and Jains,” Bulletin D’Études Indiennes No. 28-29, pp. 85-104.
  • (Master's thesis) "The establishment of the community of nuns in Buddhism and Jainism, placed in a historical framework" (Dutch). 


  • 2009 March 27, KANTL (Belgium: Dagen der Belgische Oriëntalisten -XLVIIste Sessie): Interaction between 'Buddhists' and 'Jains' in the Pāli Vinaya
  • 2010 April 20, KANTL (Belgium: Permanent Training in Buddhist Studies (PTBS), Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies): Vroege boeddhisten en andere ascetische tradities in India
  • 2010 October 8-10, Mysore (India: Jainism through the Ages, a Historical Perspective): Jainism's unique classification of living beings in early scriptures and its influence on early Buddhism
  • 2010 0ctober 30 - November 1, AAR (Atlanta): How to Understand a Jain Infiltration in Buddhist Monastic Texts? A Critical Analysis of Buddhist Monastic Rules Laid Down to Protect One Sense Facultied Life (ekindriyaṃ jīvaṃ)
  • 2011 June 21 - 25, IABS (Taiwan): The Denomination of the 'Other' in the Pali Vinaya: an Analysis of the Construction of a Buddhist Identity
  • 2011 December 13, Oslo Buddhist Studies Forum (University of Oslo): Interaction Between Early Buddhists and Other Śramaṇas: an Analysis of the Representation of titthiya in the Pāli Vinaya

  • 23 Februari 2012, UGent: Indische cultuurhistorische achtergrond van het boeddhisme
  • 12 March 2013, KANTL (Belgium: Permanente Training in Buddhist Studies (PTBS), Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies): De dialectiek van de Andere: Identiteitsvorming binnen het Vroeg Indisch Boeddhisme