Stupid curiosity...

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Stupid curiosity...

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:26 am

In early Buddha iconography he's often shown with a mustache but I've noticed that now monks never have facial hair. If so, in light of the early iconography, why? Is it specifically required that monks shave their face? Or is it simply a custom that evolved from the shaving of the head?
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:39 am

Do you have an example to show or quote? The only statue / image I remember seeing with the mustache is Padmasambhava; but he is from the 8th century AD.

At the museum in Sarnath all of the very old statues were with shaven faces.
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby zavk » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:45 am

Hey I was pondering the same question recently too. Given how most holy people/renunciants in India had (and still have) facial hair, how did it come about that the members of the Sangha do not keep facial hair? But in kungfu films, we often see the abbott or master of Shaolin wisely stroking his beard. :sage:
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:12 am

They are rare, so images are difficult to find. It is apparently limited to the Gandharan period and later iconography that was influenced by that period. Here's what I was able to find.
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142698338EpaBLF_ph.jpg
142698338EpaBLF_ph.jpg (50.01 KiB) Viewed 1909 times
250px-SeatedBuddha.JPG
250px-SeatedBuddha.JPG (22.23 KiB) Viewed 1912 times
DL0231Am.JPG
DL0231Am.JPG (54.86 KiB) Viewed 1911 times
Vision is Mind
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:13 am

Not sure about this one. It looks similar to the one I once saw at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, but can't really tell from this pic if it is actually a mustache.
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Gandhara3.jpg
Gandhara3.jpg (39.85 KiB) Viewed 1912 times
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:16 am

I think the seated Buddha in the middle is like the one in In the Buddha's Words, by Bhikkhu Bodhi. I've seen one of those, I think in a travelling exhibition from the British Museum. They are from Gandhara, Pakistan, Second Century, according to the note in the book.

I thought that was relatively early for Buddha images...

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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:08 am

The Greeks invented the image of the Buddha. Before the Greeks, all that existed were symbol representations that may or may not have represented an actual Buddha (given that nearly all of the symbols have astronomical significance).

Wikipedia wrote:Sometime between the 2nd century BCE and the 1st century CE, the first anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha were developed. These were absent from earlier strata of Buddhist art, which preferred to represent the Buddha with symbols such as the stupa, the Bodhi tree, the empty seat, the wheel, or the footprints.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhist_art
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby appicchato » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:51 am

zavk wrote:...how did it come about that the members of the Sangha do not keep facial hair?


Not all...the Venerable Nyanaponika (author of the well known 'Buddhist Dictionary') sported a full beard for many years...he's in the middle...


Image
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby Dhammanando » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:08 am

pink_trike wrote:Is it specifically required that monks shave their face?


na bhikkhave massu vaḍḍhāpetabbaṃ

“Bhikkhus, the beard is not to be allowed to flourish.”
(Vin. ii. 134)

In the Vinayalankāra vaḍḍhāpetabbaṃ is glossed as dīghaṃ kārenti – “to cause to be long.”

But as no particular length is specified the application of the rule varies according to local custom. The Burmese are the strictest, permitting no facial hair at all. The Thais are slightly less strict. Having dry skin I prefer not to shave too often and can usually get away with about a week’s growth before the other monks start murmuring about it. The Sinhalese seem to be the most liberal. I’ve seen photos of some of them sporting fairly substantial beards.

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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby zavk » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:45 am

Ah... thank you for your responses, Bhantes. :anjali:
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby puthujjana » Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:00 am

appicchato wrote:Not all...the Venerable Nyanaponika (author of the well known 'Buddhist Dictionary') sported a full beard for many years...


Bhante, please excuse me for correcting a minor error, but the author of the "Buddhist Dictionary" and the monk in the middle of the picture is Nyanatiloka.

Here is another picture:

Image

from left to right: Ven. Piyadassi Thera; Ven. Ñânatiloka Mahâthera; Ven. Ñânaponika Thera

More pictures: http://www.buddhistisches-haus.de/photo ... r=misc_old

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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:08 am

puthujjana wrote:
appicchato wrote:Bhante, please excuse me for correcting a minor error, but the author of the "Buddhist Dictionary" and the monk in the middle of the picture is Nyanatiloka.

Those Western monks in Sri Lanka last century were so confusing: Nyanatiloka, Nyanaponika, Nanamoli, Nanavira, Nyanatusita... Luckily they ran out of "N"s by the time Bhikkhu Bodhi turned up...

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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby appicchato » Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:20 am

puthujjana wrote:...the author of the "Buddhist Dictionary" and the monk in the middle of the picture is Nyanatiloka.

Here is another picture:


Thanks puthujjana...I knew I was looking for Ven. Nyanatiloka and went right on ahead and typed Ven. Nyanaponika... :cookoo:

The photo you've provided is in the Buddhist Dictionary, which is what set me off to find a photo (online) of him...

Be well... :smile:
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:57 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Those Western monks in Sri Lanka last century were so confusing: Nyanatiloka, Nyanaponika, Nanamoli, Nanavira, Nyanatusita... Luckily they ran out of "N"s by the time Bhikkhu Bodhi turned up...

Maybe it's probably really Nbodhi or Nyanabodhi and he changed it. :tongue:
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:05 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Is it specifically required that monks shave their face?


na bhikkhave massu vaḍḍhāpetabbaṃ

“Bhikkhus, the beard is not to be allowed to flourish.”
(Vin. ii. 134)

In the Vinayalankāra vaḍḍhāpetabbaṃ is glossed as dīghaṃ kārenti – “to cause to be long.”

But as no particular length is specified the application of the rule varies according to local custom. The Burmese are the strictest, permitting no facial hair at all. The Thais are slightly less strict. Having dry skin I prefer not to shave too often and can usually get away with about a week’s growth before the other monks start murmuring about it. The Sinhalese seem to be the most liberal. I’ve seen photos of some of them sporting fairly substantial beards.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


Thanks, Ven. for the info.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:21 pm

i know some east asian buddhas have facial hair to show that the buddha is from the west, most of the time it's amida buddha with the facial hair though( like in your picture of the dai butsu in japan who is amida)
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:51 pm

Speaking of 'facial hair' . . . some Sri Lankan monks even shave the eyebrows!

Image

Bhante Gunaratana is a member / leader in the Siam Nikaya sect of Theravada and those monks shave all facial hair, including the eyebrows. But I am pretty certain that is just cultural, as the Vinaya mentions nothing about eyebrow shaving.
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby appicchato » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:10 pm

TheDhamma wrote:Speaking of 'facial hair' . . . some Sri Lankan monks even shave the eyebrows!


All Thais as well...started a couple hundred years ago to differentiate themselves from Burmese 'spy' monks...
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby pink_trike » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:23 pm

appicchato wrote:
TheDhamma wrote:Speaking of 'facial hair' . . . some Sri Lankan monks even shave the eyebrows!


All Thais as well...started a couple hundred years ago to differentiate themselves from Burmese 'spy' monks...

So why does it continue? Are there still Burmese spy monks?
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:24 pm

pink_trike wrote:
appicchato wrote:All Thais as well...started a couple hundred years ago to differentiate themselves from Burmese 'spy' monks...

So why does it continue? Are there still Burmese spy monks?

:spy:
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