The rationale for such a culture is that it is supposed to reflect the karmic results of following the Dharma. It reminds me of the college I attended which believed a devout christian can become completely immune to the temptation to sin through a certain mystical experience. However, a rigid system of behavior enforced members of the college to act as though they had had this experience, whether they actually had or not. Heavenly perfection was simulated through unbending rules and ceremony, very much like life in the temples.
It's not my place to disparage the practices of the monks and nuns of the temples. They live how they've chosen to live, fed by centuries of tradition. It gives a unique peace of mind to not have to think about how to do something, where to put something, or when to do this and that. It's all laid out in detail and has been for generations. I admire the beauty of it and the stalwart nature of those who choose to live that way.
However, it's not how I feel the Dharma. The natural chaos of the universe, the lack of design in the nature of the world, that's how I experience the Dharma, a lively conversation among all things everywhere all the time. That doesn't mean I can't focus on the moment or perceive the karmic values of my choices. It just means that I don't see the need to force patterns upon randomness. I don't see the need to square circles or flatten hills. I don't see the need to pass the day sleep deprived because I had to observe a ceremony nor to place my dinnerware with an unyielding exactitude on the placemat and eat the food it in a particularly ordered manner.
Living out the Dharma is not a matter of discipline; it's a matter of staying pointed in the right direction. It doesn't matter whether you walk the Path in boots, sandals, or barefoot so long as you walk the Path. Mind your behavior. Guard your speech. Watch your step. But for goodness' sake, don't worry about whether your chopsticks are on the correct side of the dish or whether you've performed the right number of prostrations.
Mindfulness is not punctiliousness.