The Buddhist Saints and the Process
The preceding chapters have several times referred to the "process of monasticization," whereby phenomena that were originally connected with the Buddhist saints of the forest were translocated and transplanted into a settled monastic context. In some cases, this process involved the appropriation of one or another individual element of the forest saints' traditions by settled monasticism. For example, the forest saint Mahākāśyapa was adopted by settled monasticism to serve its need for a charismatic leader. Upagupta, Piṇḍolabhāradvāja, Devadatta, and perhaps also Śāriputra, originally essentially forest saints, similarly came to have--through different means and in varying degrees--relations with settled monasticism. The initially nonmonastic ideals of Buddha (and bodhisattva), arhant, and pratyekabuddha came, again in various ways, to be understood in relationship to settled monasticism. And ideals and practices such as the magical powers, the dhutaguṇas, and the stūpa also came to be increasingly integrated into the monastic context. In addition to describing individual forest elements undergoing the process of monasticization, the foregoing has made reference to this process on a grand scale, by which traditions that were entirely or primarily ones of forest renunciation became converted into those of settled monasticism. Such has been discussed in relation to the original form of Buddhism itself and mentioned briefly in connection with the Mahāyāna.
The present chapter contains three sections: first, an exploration of the original monasticization, whereby settled monasticism first developed out of the earliest Buddhist community of peripatetic renunciants; second, an examination of the transition of the early or proto-Mahāyāna from an entirely or largely forest tradition, such as that reflected in the texts examined in Chapter 8, into what became the conventional, monastic Mahāyāna; and third, a review of some reactions of forest traditions, both non-Mahāyānist and proto-Mahāyānist, to the process of monasticization, as these traditions see it occurring in their day.