Why ordain the way we do?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Why ordain the way we do?

Postby dylanpieper » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:32 am

Why ordain the way we do? Why not take on it upon ourselves, like the Buddha, to renounce mundane life to live the holy life?

"Before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me: 'The household life is crowded, a dusty road. Life gone forth is the open air. It isn't easy, living in a home, to lead the holy life that is totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. What if I, having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe, were to go forth from the home life into homelessness?'

"So at a later time, when I was still young, black-haired, endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life, having shaved off my hair & beard — though my parents wished otherwise and were grieving with tears on their faces — I put on the ochre robe and went forth from the home life into homelessness."

— MN 36
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Re: Why ordain the way we do?

Postby culaavuso » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:45 am

dylanpieper wrote:Why ordain the way we do? Why not take on it upon ourselves, like the Buddha, to renounce mundane life to live the holy life?


The Buddha had to discover the Dhamma himself. Ordaining in the Sangha provides a means of training from those who are skilled in the Dhamma, and provides admirable companions to support the practice of the Dhamma. The structure of the Sangha was designed to provide a life conducive to practice of the Dhamma.

MN 82: Ratthapala Sutta wrote:As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it's not easy, living at home, to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. Lord, I want — having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe — to go forth from the household life into homelessness.


AN 3.85: Sekhin Sutta wrote:Monks, this recitation of more than 150 training rules comes every fortnight, in reference to which sons of good families desiring the goal train themselves. There are these three trainings under which all that is gathered. Which three? The training in heightened virtue, the training in heightened mind, the training in heightened discernment.


MN 27: Cula-hatthipadopama Sutta wrote:In the same way, brahman, there is the case where a Tathagata appears in the world, worthy and rightly self-awakened. He teaches the Dhamma admirable in its beginning, admirable in its middle, admirable in its end. He proclaims the holy life both in its particulars and in its essence, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure.

A householder or householder's son, hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathagata and reflects: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. Life gone forth is the open air. It isn't easy, living at home, to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. What if I, having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe, were to go forth from the household life into homelessness?'

So after some time he abandons his mass of wealth, large or small; leaves his circle of relatives, large or small; shaves off his hair and beard, puts on the ochre robes, and goes forth from the household life into homelessness.

When he has thus gone forth, endowed with the monks' training & livelihood, then...


SN 45.2: Upaddha Sutta wrote:Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.

And how does a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, develop & pursue the noble eightfold path? There is the case where a monk develops right view dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. He develops right resolve... right speech... right action... right livelihood... right effort... right mindfulness... right concentration dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. This is how a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, develops & pursues the noble eightfold path.

And through this line of reasoning one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life: It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth, that beings subject to aging have gained release from aging, that beings subject to death have gained release from death, that beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. It is through this line of reasoning that one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.
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