Hickersonia wrote:I think I'd have a hard time being able to work in anything white... robe or otherwise. Working in a warehouse, I imagine the dust and other dirty things I have to work with would be enough to ruin anything solid-white on it's first wearing. :-/
Sounds like an interesting outward symbol of what one has going on inside, but definitely difficult to apply to certain livelihoods.
Certainly, it isn't for everyone.
but to further what Khalil said earlier - My understanding from reading the texts is that the white clad lay followers mentioned before, wore the white clothing all the time, so may of been more dilligent practitioners not ready for whatever reason/unable to ordain due to circumstances/prohibitions.
There are certain classes of adherents that are difficult to know exactly what they done, due to the texts lack of reference, and only gloss of them. there are actually four kinds of female disciples, the lay follower, novice, X (I do not remember the name but they followed 6 precepts, which I think is still found within mahayana schools and is the five precepts and a precept on high beds/chairs if I remember) and the Bhikkhunis. the male only mention three lay, novice, & bhikkhus. but who the white clad were is anyone's guess, and men probably didn't have the 6 precept version due to social norms of the day, as I know there is speculation (at least) that they were married so had certain obligations socially/family.
one guess I had once, but think it doubtful is that they were those who couldn't ordain for some reason (other than being married) so adopted the jain style, or were originally Jains, but were satisfied with the form they had already undertaken??? but these are guesses and I do not know of any backing for them other than my own imagination.