alan wrote:We no longer walk around India. Rules made for a group of monks 2500 years ago do not necessarily apply to our lives, or work for our betterment. Worshipping rules, and following them mindlessly, is slowly strangling Buddhism, and It will kill it eventually. Why? Because no one who has a creative, independent mind will put up with it. Lose those people, and you lose it all.
We need to take a fresh look at how to go about things, friends. Let's start with getting rid of all the accumulated junk.
I'm with you in a general sort of way but
• There were always different guidelines and expectations for ordained and lay Buddhists but Western Buddhists have been blurring the difference between them - in both directions. On the one hand, some enthusiastic lay practitioners want to be as much like monks as possible; on the other, we have a new class of un-ordained teachers. I have suggested several times that we ought to look at Christianity occasionally just to see how the difference between amateurs and professionals plays out in a community that isn't comprised primarily of converts.
• Quite separately from all that, monastic life and practice in traditionally-Buddhist countries has drifted (or evolved) away from what it was in the Buddha's time. I'm not sure the the original vinaya can be made to fit modern monasteries without a lot of, ah, creative
interpretation. I'm also not sure whether either the original model or the evolved model is the best way of organising an ordained community in 21st century Western communities. However, I do suspect the answers are all "no".