When Subba consulted Buddha about the question of renouncing the world, Buddha frankly admitted that he had no basis for judging that every hermit was ethically or intellectually superior to every householder, or vice versa. Therefore, he concluded, each man, whether he be monastic, recluse, or worldly householder, could best be judged only on his individual merits. Buddha's general and most reiterated reason for asking his followers to become monks was, as he has here confessed, not because their way of life was spiritually superior but because, in his own words: "Painful is the life of a householder and free is the life of renunciation." This is not an ethical reason, therefore, but a purely practical one. He recommended external renunciation because it relieved a man of domestic troubles and family burdens; it was a rule of expediency rather than an absolute principle of spiritual method.
-- Notebooks Category 1: Overview of the Quest > Chapter 3: Independent Path > # 233