My respects to Bhikku Yuttadhammo.
Let us consider the following:
1. No form of physical contact, whether with males or females is skillful for the monk. It is well know that homosexuality is quite possible too. Can we completely dismantle the Sangha for this reason alone? As I understand it, sensuality grows on the human mind. What appears repulsive now, with time, may appear attractive later. If this is the case, the body of another male, which may not appeal sexually to a monk, may later appeal sexually too! Then how do we prevent this from happening? Can we dismantle the Sangha entirely?
2. In reality, the actual benefit of monasticism is not necessarily separation from women, but in general, seclusion. Seclusion is most important, seclude yourself from men as well as women. In view of this, therefore, it should not really matter if there is one Sangha containing all members, or two Sanghas, independently working parallelly, accepting the same Dhamma-Vinaya.
3. The Sangha is also supposed to contain laymen and laywomen. If that is the case, should monastics live among the lay men and lay women? And yet, can they live isolating themselves completely from the lay people? They need the laity for food. So has the Sangha undergone a schism just because the laity is separate from the monastics? And now, having the Vinaya as a single body, the laity does not observe all the rules for the monks. Does it then imply that we have two separate bodies accepting separate Dhammas?
4. Ranking the males as senior to the females, arbitrarily, regardless of how long the Bhikkuni has been ordained as a nun is a stretch too far. This clearly shows that the intent of this garudhamma was sexist. Show me why you think it is not the case. This garudhamma seems to imply that a monk can instruct a nun in the Dhamma regardless of how wise the nun is and how long she has been ordained. I will agree if you were to say that time you spend in the Sangha is not a determinant of how wise you actually are. But that does not imply that a nun having spent 10 years in the Sangha need not be any wiser than a young boy just joining the Sangha. If that is possible, then it is equally possible, that you (Bhikku Yuttadhammo), having ordained for several years as a monk, may not be as wise as me! If that were to be true, then what is the benefit of monasticism at all? If after several years of seclusion, one cannot become wiser than a layperson, what is the benefit in monasticism? In that case, perhaps the lay women are in a position to become wiser than the monks!
5. The Dhamma is basically summarized simply in terms of skillful and unskillful qualities. Abandoning the unskillful, and developing the skillful, this is the teaching of the Awakened. When skill has been perfected, wisdom has arisen, avijja averted and the holy life has served its purpose. So do you really think it is impossible to be skillful in avoiding contact with women, and yet giving them complete access to the Dhamma by allowing them to ordain? Now, if the only skillful way you can identify is by subjugating the other, where is the skill in that? Subjugating is something even lay people can do. Why is it impossible simply relegate them to their own affairs, completely keep aloof from them, have no contact with the bhikkunis, and yet, allow them to function as an independent, autonomous body in the Sangha, that does not answer to the Bhikkus? Is this impossible?
Now let me explore a possible model to allow for Bhikkunis and see how you may react to it. There are three steps in this:
1. Rejection of garudhamma: Reject the eight garudhammas, uniformly. Both the monks and the nuns should not accept the garudhammas. Allow Bhikkunis to accept the authority of none other than the Pali Canon alone - minus the garudhammas. Simultaneously ensure all monks also accept the authority of the Pali Canon - minus the garudhammas. So this way, both the Bhikkus and the Bhikkunis accept the same Vinaya, they accept the same Sutta, and yet remain completely separated. They are both autonomous and both take the Buddhavacana from the Pali Canon as their authority.
2. Separation of the sexes: Bhikku sangha and Bhikkuni Sangha should both spend the rains retreats separately, so that they may not interact at all. Ideally, Bhikkus and Bhikkunis should utilize the time to be secluded from everyone - even their own gender - except for their preceptor or perhaps their current rains-retreat teacher. There is no need for any cross-teaching between the Bhikkus and Bhikkunis - a Bhikku need not be necessarily wiser than a Bhikkuni, and therefore, need not teach her. If a monk and a nun, somehow, due to their "supermagnetic attraction" come together, it is a parajika (this parajka is consistent with already known parajikas in the Vinaya).
3. Seclusion even within the Sangha: Even among the Bhikkus and Bhikkunis separately, there should be minimal interaction, and maximum seclusion. Each monastic should remain secluded from everyone else, except when they go on almsround, or if there is a serious question regarding the Dhamma that requires them to meet their master, or else for a Dhamma talk by the leader of their own gender's Sangha. Therefore, not only am I recommending seclusion from the opposite sex, I am recommending seclusion from one's own gender too.
I wanted to know what you would say if this model were already present, and the garudhamma were absent. Would you still want to re-introduce the garudhamma? Do you really think they alone are the best solution possible?
Finally, the Buddha recommended that one should not cling even to the Vinaya. Clinging to the Vinaya is one of the five fetters binding us to samsara. Although I know that to gain release, we need to accept the Vinaya to begin with, the Vinaya itself is not imposed as a set of rules. The Vinaya rules are for our protection from unskillful qualities, and unskillful actions, they are not for the purpose of governing an office, or a group. Thus Vinaya is for personal application far more than for group application.
As an example, if having learned the Dhamma and the Vinaya from a teacher in a particular Theravada tradition, a monk leaves the group, or tradition, being dissatisfied, he cannot be accused of causing a schism. He can still go to another Theravada tradition and ordain there, or alternatively, like the Buddha did, go into seclusion on his own and attain nirvana on his own. Thus statutory unity of all monks and all nuns as a single organized unit does not seem necessary.
In fact, therefore, I would go as far as to say that the Vinaya rule that claims that causing a schism in the Sangha is as serious as to result in him boiling in hell for aeon, is only a later addition, made to make it a very serious matter to cause schisms in the Sangha. It appears to me that if the Buddha really coded this as part of the Vinaya, he himself was very unskillful in preventing schisms from occurring in the future. We know very well of many schisms that have taken place in the Sangha over the centuries.
On the contrary, it seems the Buddha was fairly successful in ensuring that the monks and nuns don't begin to... you know what. He coded rules that separated the men from the women, and so it appears that he was quite skillful in this regard. So in line with what the Buddha himself said, why not stick to whatever rules were skillful and have stood the test of time, and reject those that have not? (I know it is not entirely possible, but I'm asking something more fundamental here, if you could understand it. I'm asking you why we cannot take those rules that mother nature gave us - the rules the wilderness provides us - rules that predate the Buddha by aeons? In other words, why do we have to stick to specific rules, instead why not understand the general principles and skillfully apply ourselves?)