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Unformatted text preview: RLG206 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 From Homeless to Settled Order: The Routinization of Charisma in the Early Buddhist Community (Weberian Terms) and the Process of Monasticization (Reginald Ray)- While Buddhist texts recount the Buddha gradually allowing the monks to become more and more sedentaryfirst allowing them to take shelter during the rainy season, and later allowing them to live year- round in special residences built for monksthe Buddhas reasons and intentions of these decisions are less transparent. - There is, however, a predominant tendency in the texts which implies that the transformation occurred according to the wishes of lay followers. - In the Mahavagga (Vin I 137) for instance, householders openly criticize traveling Buddhist monks during the rainy season: They tread on young plants and damage them, and destroy many small living creatures. And, as a result of this the Blessed One preached a sermon to the monks and decreed: monks, you should observe a retreat during the rainy season (Wijayaratna 20). - In other cases, it was the layfollowers desire to have regular contact with the Buddha which is recounted as one step in the increasing progression toward sedentary life. Anathapindika is said to have stated: Where indeed can the Blessed One dwell? He needs a place which is not too close to a town, but not too far either, where people can come and go, easy of access for those who wish to visit, not crowded during the day, peaceful at night, a place away from people, sheltered from disturbances and crowds, and appropriate for the religious life (Wijayaratna 23, quoting from Vin I 38-39, II 158). - Reginald Ray begs the essential question: did the Buddha, during his lifetime, present his dharma not only within a forest context but also within a town-and-village [context]? Ray asserts that, although early Buddhist literature, particularly the P li Canon would view this latter process as normative, this evidence has its own agenda to promote and cannot necessarily be taken at face value ( Buddhist Saints in India , p. 67). - Weber argues that charismatic communities necessarily either disappear or transform into their opposite organized institutions characterized by bureaucracy (Weber 1968b, 39; 1968d, 54)because of the ideal and material interests of the followers in seeing the continuity of their community, which become heightened upon the disappearance of the charismatic leader and encounter with the problem of succession (Weber 1968d, 54-5). - Although the specifics of the transformation are historically unclear, according to Andrew Skilton, the Buddhist sangha was predominantly residential by the end of the first century after the Buddha (Skilton 51)....
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