Monday, October 25, 2010

Why Do Monks And Nuns Shave Their Heads ?

In the Buddhist sutras, texts, there is a description of the body in which it is said that the hairs of the head and face have 16 obstacles for keeping clean and looking good, so they should be removed. Hair is often used a metaphor for human being’s illusion or ignorance, so it is called the ‘weeds of ignorance.’ Thus, cutting the hairs implies symbolically getting rid of ignorance. The body and the mind should be kept clean in order to reach the final aim of true understanding. Thus cutting and shaving the hair represent a sort of determination to keep the body and the mind clean and then to attain enlightenment and save all beings.

Korean Buddhist monks and nuns have their heads shaved every 15 days. In some countries like Thailand even the eyebrows are shaved. They shave each other’s head and do not do it by themselves, which signifies the wish to help and support each other. Shaving the head is not only a conventional tradition but a practice for getting rid of useless worldly desires and illusions in order to concentrate on pursuing the goal. It makes practitioners examine themselves and awaken their own consciousness.


Anonymous said...

This explanation is philosophical. However there is a very practical purpose for shaving the hair. In Yogic tradition, shaving the hair is important for people in spiritual practice stage since shaving the hair on day prior to Full moon night every month helps in raising the energies upward. This elemental help is made use of by a seeker who tries to everything that comes his way in his pursuit.