cittaanurakkho wrote:Did the Buddha teach that only he could initiate a lineage of monks?
Assuming "teach" as dhamma vinnaya, then let's consider two scenarios:
1. Suppose there is no monks left in the world today to perform ordination or there is an insufficient quorum of monks. In this case, there is no alternative procedure or even an exception in the Vinaya to initiate a lineage, which is another words of saying that the Buddha did not established a procedure to restart his lineage once the members falls below a limit (5). Thus the Buddha asserted that he is the only one that could initiate his lineage in this eon. Untill Maetreya come along to established Meatreya lineage.
2. Suppose there are many Mahayana monks in the world today and only 4 Theravadins monks left in the world. I don't think the Vinaya prohibit the Theravadins monk from borrowing one Mahayana monk to perform Theravadin ordination. But this scenario is riddle with a paradox. If the 4 Theravadins consider themself as a distinct lineage from the Mahayana, then technically they are re-initialing Theravadins lineage with the help of a Mahayana monk. Thus re-initiating the lineage without the Buddha. Yet, having asked the Mahayana monk for help, can the Theravadins really consider themself a distinct lineage seperate from the Mahayana? So what is a lineage?
For this reason, I think the original question only make sense with scenario #1. For other scenario (including the state of Buddhism in the world today), it is an improperly frame question. Consider the fact that for all of his 40 years of ministry, the Buddha tried hard, formulated rules to prevent the breaks up of his lineage into various factions. So, why would he formulate a rule regarding initialing a lineage of monks when there were only one lineage when he is still alive. And usually he formulated a rule adhock: only when there is an incident.
Perhaps some rules are best left unformulated.
Thank you for your reply and giving your views here. I see that you are repying to the first of the three questions I have asked....you are replying to, "Did the Buddha teach that only he could initiate a lineage of monks?"
I like what you have said and want to give a summary of it to be sure that I understand what you are saying. I think you are saying that although the Buddha did not declare that only he could start a lineage that actually in essence by giving rules so that if the number of monks fell below 5 then there was no way to continue or to restart his lineage he did in effect create a situation where only he could initiate his lineage. I think this is an interesting idea....but you are only applying it to HIS lineage.....this says nothing about someone else initiating a lineage....so I guess that you are saying is that in a certain sense your view is that the Buddha defined the ordination of monks so that only he could initiate HIS lineage. I think this is something worth thinking about. I'm wondering in what sense this thing called "lineage" can be thought of as being "his".....also...at the end of section #2 of your post you ask "So what is a lineage?" and I think that everyone has some vague ideas about what this means and perhaps some clearly understood ideas too and your post as well as the others is giving me a better understanding of what it means.......I think....
Also, you say that there is no reason why the Buddha would formulate a rule that only he could initiate his lineage in that he only made rules on an adhoc basis and the need never arose during his life....I think this is a good observation but there is a danger in this....taking this logic to further extents one could say that the Buddha did not make a rule against monks using the internet because the situation never arose in his lifetime and by saying that someone might be implying that monks should not use the internet......in other words it is of questionable value to try to assign an intent for not doing something....I know that you made no assertion of intent in the Buddha's non-formulation of a rule but I'm just wanting to show how someone might misconstrue this sort of thing.
And finally, I'm wondering what you think about the third question I asked, ""Is there a reference in the Pali texts where the Buddha says that he is going to initiate a lineage of monks or that he has initiated a lineage of monks?" The point of this question is that I have not been able to find anywhere that the concept of "lineage"was ever used by the Buddha in regards to monks. I am actively trying to find out if the Buddha taught any ideas that could help us understand how he would answer the question, "So what is a lineage? "