The Monastic Tradition and Community Care
This chapter continues to develop the argument that the notion of the total institution has been interpreted too narrowly and, through an historical exploration of monastic traditions, convincingly demonstrates the inadequacy of the monolithic conception of this archetypal total institution. Profesor Brandon offers instead a contrast between the reclusive culture of the Christian monastery and the highly permeable nature of the much older Buddhist tradition, with its emphasis not on retreat from the community but on the provision of care for it. The conclusion is that the marginalisation of residential forms of care in Western society can be linked to the heritage of Christian monasticism, and that the organic role of the Buddhist monastic tradition within the community provides a more creative model for residential institutions within today’s community care.
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