Monks and shaving

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Monks and shaving

Postby Still Searching » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:30 pm

This might sound gross but do monks/nuns also shave their underarms, pubic region and legs as well as head and eyebrows? I'm just curious. Would men have to shave their chests too?
"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." ~ Siddhārtha, Gautama Buddha
User avatar
Still Searching
 
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:28 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby appicchato » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:43 pm

Some do, some don't... :popcorn:
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:44 am

I wouldn't want to try to find out!!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 661
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:19 am

Note that eyebrows is a specifically Thai thing. My understanding is that Thai monks started doing it during one of the many Thai-Burma wars supposedly to stop infiltration by Burmese dressed as monks, but I have no reliable reference.

I believe trimming pubic areas is not allowed by the Patimokkha, but I can't locate where it is mentioned:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... index.html

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 9610
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby appicchato » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:41 am

...Thai monks started doing it during one of the many Thai-Burma wars supposedly to stop infiltration by Burmese dressed as monks...


True that is...although the logic, reasoning, and instigation of such seems to discount the idea that the Burmese would/could take a blade to their own brows...then there's me, an American Caucasian whacking mine every full moon...go figure...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby dagon » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:56 am

mikenz66 wrote:
I believe trimming pubic areas is not allowed by the Patimokkha, but I can't locate where it is mentioned:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... index.html

:anjali:
Mike


I would be thinking that even under the 8 precepts such an action would be questionable :shrug:

7. Nacca-gita-vadita-visukkadassana mala-gandha-vilepana-dharana-mandana-vibhusanathana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics.

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=8_precepts
dagon
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:45 am

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:08 pm

Dressing the chest-hair was a popular beautification back in the day, and I seem to remember Vinaya about how shaving was prescribed down to the collarbone, but naught else. Nothing about eyebrows either, which seems to be a Thai innovation.

One monk I spoke with at Santi Forest Monastery mentioned being with another monk when they fetched up somewhere in Thailand for the rains, and the community there asked them to shave their eyebrows. They said there was no such Vinaya, but ultimately the 'local practices' argument won him over. His companion yet refused.

Interesting mannerisms.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 3696
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby Jayantha-NJ » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:46 am

I could possibly see the shaving of pubic hair for health reasons in certain situations (did you know that the lice in head hair is actually a different species then the lice in pubic hair?).. but other then that the only reason to shave would be related to sexual reasons, what other reason would there be?
User avatar
Jayantha-NJ
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:54 am
Location: New Jersey , USA

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby ArkA » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:14 pm

Still Searching wrote:This might sound gross but do monks/nuns also shave their underarms, pubic region and legs as well as head and eyebrows? I'm just curious. Would men have to shave their chests too?


As the Buddha's words are the only authority, I hope that these references will help to answer your questions.

Attached images are from the pages 144, 185, 186, and 187 from the volume 5 of "The Book of the Discipline" by I.B. Horner, which is the English translation of the 4th book (Cūḷavagga Pāḷi) of the Vinaya Piṭaka.

144.jpg
Page 144.
144.jpg (50.67 KiB) Viewed 438 times


185.jpg
Page 185.
185.jpg (47.12 KiB) Viewed 438 times


186-187.jpg
Page 186-187.
186-187.jpg (108.86 KiB) Viewed 438 times
"There's no jhana for one with no discernment, no discernment for one with no jhana. But one with both jhana & discernment: he's on the verge of Unbinding."
- Dhammapada 372, trans. Thanissaro Bhikkhu

"Silence is the language of God; all else is poor translation."
– Rumi
User avatar
ArkA
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:33 pm
Location: Here and now

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby kmath » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:44 pm

They're not supposed to shave their beards? Never knew that... So why do they all shave their beards?
User avatar
kmath
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:44 pm

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby daverupa » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:04 pm

kmath wrote:They're not supposed to shave their beards? Never knew that... So why do they all shave their beards?


My understanding is that they're not supposed to trim their beards or otherwise make hair art on the face, such as shaping it into various styles. Getting rid of it all with a razor is perfectly fine, though scissors start to cause concern in that they can be used for styling.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 3696
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby kmath » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:19 pm

daverupa wrote:
kmath wrote:They're not supposed to shave their beards? Never knew that... So why do they all shave their beards?


My understanding is that they're not supposed to trim their beards or otherwise make hair art on the face, such as shaping it into various styles. Getting rid of it all with a razor is perfectly fine, though scissors start to cause concern in that they can be used for styling.


Got it. Thanks!
User avatar
kmath
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:44 pm

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby Mkoll » Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:44 am

ArkA,

Are all those quoted passages from the minor rules? That is, those rules that the Buddha said the monks were allowed to change when he passed away?

:anjali:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Peace,
James
User avatar
Mkoll
 
Posts: 1000
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby daverupa » Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:57 am

Mkoll wrote:ArkA,

Are all those quoted passages from the minor rules? That is, those rules that the Buddha said the monks were allowed to change when he passed away?

:anjali:


Those rules can't be delineated, unfortunately, and in any event extant Vinayas contain much more material than was there when the Buddha was saying his final words, so the better approach - in my experience - is to see the purpose of the rule. Here there is a problem with beautification, and this sort of hair care (beard shaping & trimming) is akin to cosmetics and perfumes.

The things to notice, when engaged in these relatively average toiletries, are one's intentions and goals, one's attitudes and expectations about these acts and which results are hoped for.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 3696
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby Mkoll » Sat Dec 14, 2013 6:32 am

daverupa wrote:
Mkoll wrote:ArkA,

Are all those quoted passages from the minor rules? That is, those rules that the Buddha said the monks were allowed to change when he passed away?

:anjali:


Those rules can't be delineated, unfortunately, and in any event extant Vinayas contain much more material than was there when the Buddha was saying his final words, so the better approach - in my experience - is to see the purpose of the rule. Here there is a problem with beautification, and this sort of hair care (beard shaping & trimming) is akin to cosmetics and perfumes.

The things to notice, when engaged in these relatively average toiletries, are one's intentions and goals, one's attitudes and expectations about these acts and which results are hoped for.

Thanks for clearing that up daverupa.

:anjali:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Peace,
James
User avatar
Mkoll
 
Posts: 1000
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: Monks and shaving

Postby ArkA » Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:50 pm

Mkoll wrote:ArkA,

Are all those quoted passages from the minor rules? That is, those rules that the Buddha said the monks were allowed to change when he passed away?

:anjali:


“After my death, Ananda, if the Sangha is willing, the lesser and minor rules may be abolished.”
- Dīgha Nikāya 16, Mahāparinibbāna Sutta


Yes, those quotes are in lesser and minor rules. The Buddha’s allowance is not to “change” but to “abolish”, and this allowance is the most used justification by the flaccid monks who don’t follow most of the Vinaya. However, it’s not new, and happened while the Buddha was alive.

Then the group of six bhikkhus considered: “At present, many bhikkhus, elders and newly ordained and those of middle standing are mastering Vinaya under the Ven. Upāli. If these become properly versed in Vinaya they will win us to [them], they will win us rounds how they like, when they like, for as long as they like. Come, your reverences, let us disparage Vinaya.” Then the group of six bhikkhus, having approached the bhikkhus, said: “On account of what are these lesser and minor rules of training recited? They only tend to remorse, to vexation, to perplexity.” Upon hearing this The Buddha, rebuked them: “How can you, foolish men, disparage Vinaya? Foolish men, it is not for the pleasing of non-believers nor believers, it is to the detriment of both, and it causes wavering in some.”

“Should any bhikkhus, when the Pātimokkhas being recited, say: 'Why are these lesser and minor training rules recited when they lead only to anxiety, bother, and confusion?' For criticising the training rules, there is an offence of expiation.”
- Pācittiya Pāḷi, Pācittiya 72

“Bhikkhus, I want to go into solitary retreat for three months. I am not be approached by anyone except the one who brings the food.” Then, an agreement was made by the bhikkhus at Sāvatthi, saying: “Whoever approaches The Buddha in these three months should be confess an offence of expiation.”

Then the Ven. Upasena approached The Buddha together with his followers. After The Buddha exchanged friendly greetings with them, asked: “Do you know, Upasena, of the bhikkhu’s agreement at Sāvatthi?” Ven. Upasena replied in negative, and after hearing it from The Buddha, said: “Venerable sir, the bhikkhus at Sāvatthi will be well-known for its own agreement, we will not lay down new rules or abolish any old rules.” “That is very good, Upasena, what has not been laid down should not be laid down, nor should abolish what has been laid down, but should dwell in conformity with and according to the rules of Vinaya which have been laid down.”
- Pārājika Pāḷi, Nissaggiya 15


Also, it's important to remember that even at the first council those Arahants didn’t abolish any rule.

Ven. Ānanda informed the elder bhikkhus that The Buddha, at the time of his attaining Nirvana said to him: “After my death, if the Sangha is willing, the lesser and minor rules may be abolished.” But Ven. Ānanda never asked The Buddha which are the lesser and minor rules. Thus, five hundred elder bhikkhus of the first council were not unanimous being on variant interpretations regarding the lesser and minor rules.

Then the Ven. Mahā Kassapa informed the bhikkhus: “Venerable sirs, there are rules for us which affect householders, and householders know concerning us: 'This is certainly allowable for the bhikkhus, this is certainly not allowable.' If we were to abolish the rules there would be those who would say: 'Rules had been laid down by The Buddha only until the smoke of his funeral pyre lasts; while The Buddha was amongst them these followed the rules, but since The Buddha has attained final Nirvana, they do not follow.' If it seems right to the Sangha, what has not been laid down should not lay down by the Sangha, nor should it abolish what has been laid down, but should dwell in conformity with and according to the rules of Vinaya which have been laid down.”
- Cūḷavagga Pāḷi, Pañcasatika Khandhaka


My take on abolishing the rules is this. The Buddha laid down Vinaya for ten reasons:
1. The well-being of the Sangha.
2. The comfort of the Sangha.
3. The restraint of bad-minded persons.
4. The comfortable living of virtuous bhikkhus.
5. The restraining of defilements pertaining to this life.
6. The warding off of defilements pertaining to the next life.
7. The inspiration of those without faith.
8. The increase of those with faith.
9. The long lasting of the True Dhamma.
10. The support of the Vinaya.

If thinking of not following a rule, then best to investigate own mind for the root of that intention (yoniso-manasikāra). As in the Vajjiputta Sutta (Aṅguttara Nikāya 3.83) http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html, see whether the intention is directed at abandoning of passion, aversion, and delusion or not. A monk I know suffered a lot by a tumor due to his unwillingness for a surgery near his genitals. However, later he pondered on this prohibition in Vinaya and decided to go through the surgery as it will help him to meditate better as a healthy person. In this case, he was neither lax in Vinaya nor disrespecting it.
"There's no jhana for one with no discernment, no discernment for one with no jhana. But one with both jhana & discernment: he's on the verge of Unbinding."
- Dhammapada 372, trans. Thanissaro Bhikkhu

"Silence is the language of God; all else is poor translation."
– Rumi
User avatar
ArkA
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:33 pm
Location: Here and now


Return to Ordination and Monastic Life

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests