Huifeng wrote: So is it their duty to ordain anyone who comes to them? I think that the issue of it being a right or not, must also be considered together with whether or not the preceptor has the reciprocal duty.
Do we still have the master-apprentice system going on? In Taiwan it is largely seminary programs where while there might be a preceptor, the ordinands are trained in a school with multiple instructors. In the big organizations they have colleges where the organization, not a single individual preceptor, looks after the ordinands.
Elsewhere in the Buddhist world it is often just a matter of showing up to an ordination ceremony and getting your precepts. At that point you're free to request basic accommodation and food in various monasteries. It might not be much, but it'll be something.
It seems to come from the position of not obstructing others. But what we are referring to here is that others are obliged / it is their duty, to assist them.
So, where does compassion and charity factor into all this?
It doesn't obstruct others. In Taiwan you have enough money to build an enormous stupa and shopping mall with a Starbucks inside, so what would a few dozen old people cost in comparison to that? A bit of food, a basic room and maybe some medicine. They can do their practice as a monk or nun in whatever capacity they are able, and hopefully die content and ready for the next life. This is far better than them sitting out in front of train stations selling lotus flowers.
They might not give much in return (a lost investment in commercial speak), but if someone wants to die as a monk or nun, then let them. Chances are people who have no family and are otherwise alone would be the only people showing up requesting such things. Rather desperate people really. These are the people you need to really care for because chances are they've had a rough life and want to die in peace. If you get a few bums who just want a free lunch, then so be it. Toss them a bone and show them some pity, and maybe ask them to help out to generate merit.
The UN Declaration of Human Rights is irrelevant. We're talking about kindness towards fellow sentient beings.
Yes, bhiksu does mean "beggar" is a sense. But becoming a beggar doesn't imply that others have a duty or obligation to give to that beggar.
It pains me to hear that from you. Where's your Mahāyāna spirit? How about bodhisattva compassion? What you're saying here sounds rather elitist and inconsiderate. If you have a rich Buddhist organization (and not just Chinese as many other organizations are fantastically wealthy), what's wrong with looking after a few elderly people who come begging for a bit of help and the dignity of retiring in robes?
In India and Nepal a lot of the monasteries, which are relatively poor in many cases, act as welfare services in a society whose government does not provide much help to the poor and downtrodden. If they can manage to give some dal, rice and a bed to a lonely old man, why couldn't a rich Buddhist organization do the same thing?