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Why are monks bald?

Discussion in 'Buddhism DIR' started by Willamena, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Willamena

    Willamena Just be there, doing that

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    Why do monks shave their heads?

    Are there bald female monks?
     
  2. MysticSang'ha

    MysticSang'ha Big Squishy Hugger Staff Member Premium Member

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    25,579
    It's usually part of the renunciation of "worldly" things and coincides with their vows of celibacy and poverty. Typically, monks and nuns go through a head-shaving ritual during their ordination that is considered to be a powerful and sacred ceremony. In Tibetan monasteries, when children are admitted, they have their heads shaved except for a small lock of hair at the top that they leave to be about an inch long. Once the children monks and nuns pass through their initiatory training, the lock is shaved off to fully welcome them into the monastic order.

    As you can see, nuns are typically bald, too.




    Peace,
    Mystic
     
  3. doppelganger

    doppelganger Through the Looking Glass

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    15,851
    There's a tradition of baldness among many orders of Christian monks, too.
     
  4. MysticSang'ha

    MysticSang'ha Big Squishy Hugger Staff Member Premium Member

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    :yes: And from what I understand, for the same reasons, too.




    Peace,
    Mystic
     
  5. Guitar's Cry

    Guitar's Cry Verisimilitudinous

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    11,325
    Hair represents age and growth. By shaving it, you are symbolically starting over...
     
  6. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Hair represents vanity and attachment to worldly things.

    (Hmm.... why did the story of Samson and Delilah all of the sudden come to mind?)

    Ya gotta admit, or at least I do, that there is something incredibly symbolically powerful about the act of shaving one's head. Whether its a Buddhist monk or Britney Spears, it is almost always associated with renunciation of one's past life.
     
  7. MysticSang'ha

    MysticSang'ha Big Squishy Hugger Staff Member Premium Member

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    I also think of G.I. Jane, too. I was always impressed that Demi Moore could pull off that look. :)




    Peace,
    Mystic
     
  8. jerzybg

    jerzybg Member

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    What Christian orders do you mean?
     
  9. Willamena

    Willamena Just be there, doing that

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    Yeah, I see that now. Even a cancer head shave can be seen in that light.
     
  10. Don Penguinoini

    Don Penguinoini Modi.

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    Religion:
    Hindu Atheist
    To get rid of all vanity i think. Because when yoou have hair you have to take care of it. So monks shouldnt do that.
     
  11. Ozzie

    Ozzie New Member

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    I spent a night in a Tibetan nuns' monestary. All bald, like the blokes.
     
  12. Ozzie

    Ozzie New Member

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    A salient reason for shaving the head might be to promote anonymity. Psych experiments have shown the most powerful cue for recognition is hair. Mask the hair and you go a long way towards masking the face.
     
  13. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

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    Hair is the crown of the individual or the ego.
    Jain monks pluck each hair from its root, painful indeed. So that it never grows again. Shaving is only temporary removal of the hair.
    Besides it saves lot of time for monks to focus on MEDITATION the only activity which eventually becomes a part of the person's BEING.
    Love & rgds
     
  14. Seyorni

    Seyorni Well-Known Member

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    12,160
    Religion:
    Vedanta (reform)
    Not all monks shave. Hindu and Jain sadhus give new meaning to the term " hirsute."
     
  15. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

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    12,249
    Personally, it makes no differences to what the body looks like.
    Hair, clothes, skin, sex etc.
    The energy within each being remains the same.
    Love & rgds
     
  16. kadzbiz

    kadzbiz Pessimistic Optimist

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    I have no idea what you're talking about - hee hee hee.!
     

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  17. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    So we've discussed the meaning of the baldness. What about the rows of cigarette burns that grace some heads? I think they're some sort of "merit badge" but I'm not sure.

    (I doubt they're really cigarette burns, but that's what they look like, and they're definitely made by burning.)
     
  18. Seyorni

    Seyorni Well-Known Member

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    12,160
    Religion:
    Vedanta (reform)

    I have to confess my ignorance about this, Lilithu. Could you give us some more info?
     
  19. koan

    koan New Member

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    The burn marks on the heads of Chinese Monks and Nuns, represent the various precepts taken. In the Korean Buddhist tradition of which I belong, they burn (lightly) the inside of the forearm. Also the burns marks are done by touching with a lit incense stick.
     
    lilithu likes this.
  20. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Well, I looked for pictures on the internet but couldn't find any. Which is probably just as well, since that would be kinda disrespectful.


    Ah, so it's only the Chinese. That makes sense as I don't recall seeing it on others. Thank you for the info. They still sound like merit badges to me. :p
     
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