smcj wrote:Only monks with lineage can ordain other monks.
That's not entirely true. There are a class of bhikṣus who become bhikṣus by virtue of their personal vows. The extant systems don't recognize this as legitimate any longer, but in the Buddha's day it happened.
But generally speaking you need ten pure bhikṣus to ordain a new bhikṣu. The ten must be pure in that they have confessed all their transgressions. If they withhold anything, then the ordination is supposed to be invalid.
So, in order for a new bhikṣu to really be part of the Vinaya lineage you technically need 25 centuries of ordinations being carried out by 100% pure bhikṣus. The modern Chinese Vinaya master Hongyi believed there were no more real bhikṣus in China any longer.
So, the technicalities don't work out so well when you think it. It does make you see, however, how Vinaya lineage is just a social construct. You become an accepted member of the group by virtue of party consent and privilege rather than what the book says.
The other issue is that there are multiple Vinaya systems and they all demonstrate a late period development. Some of it is clearly adapted to environmental circumstances (like discussing how furs can be worn, or even introducing Mahāyāna elements). Such lineages are just social constructs. They serve a function, sure, but I don't think they impart any kind of additional blessings.