jundo cohen wrote:
You may forget that, no matter the government's policies and intentions, these matters were actively debated by Buddhist intellectuals for a century or more and, ultimately, the Buddhist clergy "voted" on these policies ... not only within the administrative bodies of the various sects, but in their actual lifestyle choices to be married. Nobody that I am aware of was "forced" to marry, and it was all ultimately a matter of personal right and choice. With regard to Kuruma Takudo, for example ...
Well as the answer to the Japanese government policy, the heads of Eiheiji and Sojiji in the 70ties of the XIX century strongly opposed any kind of marriage and proclaimed the bill against it. However the will of the gov. was that Buddhist priests would be like Shinto priests, married and with families. Kuruma Roshi was very special case... by the way I know very well Kuruma family and his successors. So what he did was invention of Buddhist marriage ceremony for priests including Bodhisattva oath etc. One can agree with him or not. But many priests also stayed not married and opposed it, since as they claimed,it disturbs a monk practice and is useless. I am not part of any of this discussion, just write what had happened. of course different justifications in different schools appeared in the course of time. But even recently the problem of marriage is picked up. There was a book published in 90ties (XX C.), by soto headquarters about it. Unfortunately i cannot find the book and give you the title, but if I find I will write it. There are new discussions over the subject. Of course I don't think that it may change anything in the current situation. But probably changes in Japanese Buddhism generally will be deeper since Japanese society changed, and is changing a lot. And very fast. Maybe there will be some good opportunities, but maybe not. I cannot say.
For me the problem of married priests is irrelevant. Chinese monks are sarcastic about Japanese monks, but that is also irrelevant.
What matters after all for me is the quality of teaching, quality of experience and realization. If it does not work then nothing really works. Regardless of celibacy, non-celibacy etc. But I understand, that originally monks were not married. Nowhere. Now there are married priests/monks in some traditionally Buddhist countries, like Japan, Mongolia, Korea, and even in continental China. It may accord with Buddha prophecy about married monks in the latter age of dharma.