The incomplete end of celibacy actually caused consequences in Zen in Japan.
This change can be summed up in five ways:
1) There are no hereditary zen temples in Japan, and there is no forceful marriage. However majority choose to do so.To have children (and raise children as a result) is not a problem since you can raise them teaching dharma etc. it is quite often case. Temples are kept in Buddhist church regardless of fact if there is a priest or not. There is no FORCE to give up celibacy.
Its a lie. They are neither lay persons, since they are religious men and women.
2) It did not change the way temples were assigned it goes exactly same way like in the past
. It is a law. Now is only one difference. Monasteries lost their administrative power
, and administration was separated form the big monasteries. Administrative headquarters became most powerful, they are ruling monasteries and parish temples. Village temple did not become solely the charge of one local priest/family and did not disrupt the training monastery's influence on the local village temple. Influence of connection is still very strong, and power of control is for last 130 years kept by headquarters, and local offices of administration. As for the extension, the village is not controlling directly, direct control is in hands of danka, member families of a temple and specially sodaisan, the board. It greatly disciplines and controls abbot. As for possessivness, well, celibate monks have no less power of passion for this, pasiion for power, fame, money etc. goes the same way, sometimes even stronger. Go to Asia and look around. Go to the West and look around, you will see many examples. Each established social group is resistant to any change they may not like change definitely as a result of possessiveness, which developed under spell of possessing and privilege. Weakening influence of Buddhism in Buddhist countries is nothing unusual. On the contrary many possessive Japanese monks with families and hords of kids have genuine interest in dharma.. please visit Japanese monks forums you may read very interesting things and opinions.
3) It forced young boys to become Buddhists or practice Buddhism and, to become priests and undergo some monastic training, whether or not it suited them, or whether they were personally inclined to be Buddhists, or not,
wow wow wow I must say it is just same like I saw in perfect celibate Buddhist countries... due to the fact that it became social custom and the way to get out of poverty, or for easy and less problematic life. This also served to foster resentment toward Buddhism, as well as to weaken the overall average sincerity of practice since many were no longer volunteers. Like everywhere, like everywhere... again I may say about Japan that 5-10% of ordained are very interested in Dharma and very sincere. Up to 20-30% are good for their communities and helping to keep strong touch with dharma. 10-20% might be much less interested. 1-3% are problem... or maybe less then 1%? who knows???
4) Monasteries for ages were always boarding schools for young boys and men who were for particular reason interested in this way of life, free of trouble, protected by government, and.... giving them power to control lay people. Well once being a monk, one had to hide for 6 months each year... hide in a ''monastery''. Monasteries we know now as such are from the XX century. Before many many temples served as such.. it was a law. Today monasteries are based on the same rules as old ones.
If monks were caught outside of the ''monastery'' during cloister period 2x3 months a year, then they were severely punished, and it was easy to end up in a prison. In this sense nothing changed in the nature of the monasteries, they were always disruptive and had harsh environments, and "awakening stick" was previously used much harder then today, as today it became a gentle massage tool for reliving tension, and to gently tap someone awake if they had fallen asleep. As for the incense board that held burning incense to hold under a sleepers nose to wake them up, wow! I have to ask where one can read about such five star monastery, which used such fine methods??? Sounds like some New Age center
When monasteries were more contemplative
and voluntary to being more scholastic and disciplinary? In monasteries ancient and modern you find all sorts of characters, even criminals! Monasteries were always quite rigid institutions and were supposed to give an education... Today in Japan much less, since education department in the monastery disappeared, and edu dep. became an independent institution, namely a Buddhist university. So first one goes to uni, then to monastery.
5) The celibate monasteries had forced male hereditary model and made almost impossible for women to train as monks or priests in Zen. Again, weakening the overall effect and influence of Buddhism as a whole. It had not real power but was forced for centuries by government. That is true. Everybody was pretty tired of that kind of Buddhism in Japan as history showed. The change of system opened the society and also gave finally way for women to train, and in the XX century they established themselves very well, with good nunneries and very good female teachers. They have great opinion mostly and also lay women join them for sesshins. Now nuns are very well protected by rules and laws, first time in the 1500 years history of Japanese Buddhism.
So, as we can see, the overall effect of the end of celibacy in Japan was neither positive nor negative for improvement of Zen. Both ways had advantages and disadvantages. Celibate monks supported by state controlled lay population. It invited abuse. Then once system changed lay people got control over temples. And the decision to attack celibacy had to do with the power and influence Buddhism was perceived to have had, but was not a threat to the Emperor. Emperor and his/her court had his 5 minutes with Buddhism from the VII to the XII century, the final result was not good, not at all. There will be no change now I think, maybe not anymore changes, who knows?
The reason why many Japanese teachers who came to the west may have seen no reason to change it was because they were raised in it as a part of Japanese social set up, so for them it seem reality and many had questioned it. Though they may not talk about it to Westerners, why should they? And I think there will be no Western teacher going to Japan or elsewhere trying to change himself or herself. No way. Why should they do it?
It's sometimes when an outsider takes a look at it, does not really understand what is actually seeing, cannot even read Japanese, or understand, cannot do own research but is in hand of others opinions.
Koho Zenji, was never a reformist, NOT AT ALL he was rather on the contrary - a hardliner. Extremely feudal. Read his texts and his biography. See his traces in Japan. Such is the difficulty of reforming institutions. They are reform-less, like all religious institutions.. only when conditions change and force out old ones, then they only try to adjust to new situation and continue old habits.. and again they will represent someones interest. Moreover the reformists, form new institutions which become almost the same like old ones
It is the way humans are...
PS. I do not give in, concerning celibacy or noncelibacy, it does really not matter. I have met terrible celibate monks, and wonderful noncelibate monks. I have seen a lot of abuse by celibate monastic institutions, money is the first to mention, and same monasteries of noncelibate etc. etc. But I met wonderful people both celibate and non-celibate in robes. Open and compassionate. This counts. I do not care about celibate boasting idiots who have no even shadow of compassion and have discriminatory personality, such are also in this world. There are also people well representing interest of their group, calling it tradition etc. but are prefect hypocrites having sex, money and manipulation but bashing those who are decent, honest and have families and robes
It is really funny how people are so easily misguided just by one little thing called celibacy, which is perfect for those who can humbly carry on... Wow somebody wrote how is frequenting Buddhist summits etc. and how Japanese are treated by ''real'' celibate monks... ''they get what they deserved'', it was a missing part of the clause, but I would ask simply are those who show SUCH ''compassion'' really Buddhists? Do they really follow dharma? Is there any partiality towards ALL beings in dharma? Or are they like some Christians who put it nicely, forgive them, but punish them? Or is compassion and bodhicitta just a mouth service and they cannot keep up with it, only develop sort of terrible character like Devadatta?
I have seen many spots of gatherings for all traditions and never seen things like that even when Japanese were present.
Well just remember some celibate who got wrong politics and were interrogated.. years ago.. some money to pockets of politicians.. big money. But they are celibate and boastful, met some of them.