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How limiting, spiritually, are lay relationships?

by Denis Wallez (@DenisWallez)
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Early Buddhism unapologetically favoured homelessness / monasticism for those striving to Awaken. Relationships —not only with their web of obligations, incl. moral / ethical duties, but also with their entangled sources of peer-pressure toward the status quo— were seen as major distractions, hurdles, binds. The ‘renunciants’ very clearly renounce the ‘ordinary’ ways of life.

This is not to say that spiritual progress wasn't accessible to lay people though. Some lay followers are praised enough in some suttas for it to be ambiguous whether they've reached “the goal of holy life.” Such examples tend to be sought by modern “secular Buddhists”.

And even if one takes the monastic (self-serving) perspective that it's virtually (if not theoretically) impossible for lay people to fully Awaken, the orthodox Theravāda school makes it clear that it's possible:

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