Buddhists were specifically targeted in purges and attacks. The reason later on places like Nalanda became fortresses was because of extreme hostility from Brahmin culture, which saw Buddhists as heretics. When monasticism ceased being feasible given the losing war, Vajrayāna circles developed secret organizations with their altars hidden away. This is why some Vajrayāna texts demand that the practitioner never reveal the location of the altar to the uninitiated. Nevertheless, prior to these developments monasticism served an essential function in Indian Buddhism. In the early days it was much less organized, but still my point remains: things can be adapted and modified as necessary. In the early days landed monasticism was unnecessary, but then it became necessary, so things were adapted and sets of rules drafted for those purposes.Malcolm wrote: There were and are all kinds of mendicants in yellow robes in India, not just Buddhists.
There are monks who have vows and behave like ordinary people, too, so your point isn't very strong.My position on this has not changed one iota. The fact that there are so called Buddhist "monks" who do not have vows, and generally behave like ordinary people just illustrates my point even more.
Precepts don't make a renunciate anymore than elaborate rites do.
In the East Asian context, you need to understand that the Vinaya was largely considered a specific, not intrinsic practice, for monks. You could be a monk (僧侶) just by virtue of having been tonsured by your master. The Indian legal definitions were only applicable to scholastics in the formal Vinaya schools and maybe the associated institutions connected to the central state, but for most Buddhist monastics in China and Japan, the Vinaya was often irrelevant to them. If you weren't part of the Vinaya school, you probably didn't have much to do with it. Aristocrats of course went through ordination ceremonies to legitimize their positions as bureaucrats (another example of ordination and renunciation not being the same thing).
In modern times the Chinese have seriously revived the Vinaya, but even pre-WWII it was often a matter of going through the motions of "receiving precepts" and then shelving the Vinaya manual somewhere, never to look at it again.
So, were countless millions of bald men and women throughout 20 centuries in East Asia practising the path just laity pretending to be monks? According to you, yes, but according to their own traditions and values, they were renunciates and legitimate monks.
According to the Vinaya he allowed disciples to smoke herbs in a pipe if it was so needed as medicine.Yes, and there is no precept against smoking tobacco, despite the fact that Buddha would have disapproved of it.
Why? Why can't someone set on liberation and renunciation put on robes and go forward on their own initiative? Why is it that their status has to be legitimized through a rite? Why are you so attached to forms and procedures?But this is not how it is for us today. In order to become any kind of ordained person up to bhikṣu, you must become ordained through a rite.
I went through a rite, but to be honest I feel such things are unnecessary. Precepts and rites do not make for renunciation of saṃsāra. They just make someone a bhikṣu by legal definition, which is entirely subjective and institutional. In most countries now it has no relevance in secular law, either.
I would be fine with it. Ordination ceremonies and precepts clearly don't stop people from misbehaving, just as in Vajrayāna samaya breakers exist despite all the vows and ceremonies that go with taking on a guru. I think peer pressure does a better job of stopping people from misbehaving than ceremonies and precepts ever can.Or are you suggesting we can just dispense with ordination rites as well, since after all, Buddha did not use them in the beginning?
Ordination in any case is a social construct. Renunciation is something else.
No, the various Vinaya schools of India define what they think "minor" meant.Ananda, as we know, forgot to ask what "minor" meant and no one so far as had the arrogance to decide what that meant.
In Japan nobody invented new rules permitting marriage. They just ignore their old rules. Get you facts straight.Statements like this merely prove that this age is not a suitable age for monasticism. Pretty soon we will see Buddhist "monks" "inventing" rules that allow one to be married, non-celibate, and wealthy (Oh wait, we already have that in Japan).