Anders Honore wrote:
The provisions about age and physical shape are frankly just common sense practical rules. There are certain rigours a bhikshu or bhikshuni must be equipped to meet. And perhaps it is also worth bearing in mind here that ordination is a privilege, not a right.
This way of thinking allows certain groups to monopolize the right to ordain people and hence increase their power.
The renunciate with the formal sanction from recognized clergy is able to acquire material and social support, while the renunciate without said sanction would find it difficult. However, in order to gain that formal sanction one must inevitably bow down in unquestioning obedience and serve ends one may not initially agree with. In such a context deference, faith in authority and free labour become virtues which at the end of the day serve a small group of individuals at the top of the hierarchy.
In other words it is a way for certain groups to coerce and demand conformity, obedience and service from individuals, which serves their own interests quite well.
This is really just samsaric behaviour wrapped up in robes and tonsured skulls. It has nothing to do with the spirit of renunciation.
A real renunciate simply drops all that bullshit and pursues enlightenment with or without the formal sanction of some hierarchy. Even if they don't have a Vinaya ordination, it doesn't matter because the Vinaya is just a set of general house rules for monastics.
Robes, house rules and shaved heads do not make renunciates.