Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

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Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Sacha G » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:15 am

Hi
Does anyone know why the Buddha is represented with rather long hair assembled in a "bun"? Why isn't he shaved like other bhikkhus?
Thanx
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:38 am

Greetings,

The 32nd of the 32 marks of a great man is the presence of a fleshy protuberance on the crown of the head.

Perhaps this is the "bun", you refer to?

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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:43 am

It is said that when he renounced the household life he severed his own hair with his sword, before handing his royal regalia to his charioteer. After that his hair stopped growing.

What we see in Buddha statues is only the sculptor's artistic impression and imagination of what the Buddha might have looked like based on very few facts. No statues were made during his lifetime, nor for hundreds of years afterwards. It is not like the case of Caesar or Nero who had statues made of them during their own lifetimes.

To cut of the hair close to the head and keep it always clean-shaven is an easy thing to do. To cut off all defilements and stop them sprouting up again is much more difficult. So, do not judge by appearances.
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby pegembara » Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:51 am

Who said he wasn't shaved?

So, at a later time, while still young, a black-haired young man endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life—and while my parents, unwilling, were crying with tears streaming down their faces—I shaved off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robe and went forth from the home life into homelessness.
— Ariyapariyesana Sutta
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Sylvester » Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:27 am

What we see in Buddha statues is only the sculptor's artistic impression and imagination of what the Buddha might have looked like based on very few facts. No statues were made during his lifetime, nor for hundreds of years afterwards. It is not like the case of Caesar or Nero who had statues made of them during their own lifetimes.




Ahh Bhante, but the Sarvastivadins in their Ekottara Agama recorded that King Udena of Kosambi did make an image of the Buddha, as he missed the Buddha during His 7th vassa sojourn in Tavatimsa. That legend managed to make its way into nearby Theravada lands (probably from China), and in popular Thai Buddhism, that event is commemorated as the "Monday Buddha".
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Nicro » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:53 pm

From what I've read one of the 32 marks is to have hair curling to the right. Artists, wanting to represent as much of the 32 marks as possible then sculpted Buddha rupas with curly hair to display this.
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby daverupa » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:37 pm

The Vinaya allows for up to two finger-widths of hair growth. Also, does anyone have an archaeological photo of the razor kits current in that time?
    "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]
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:46 pm

Buddhist Monastic Discipline — Part II
Hair of the head.
The hair of the head should not be worn long. It should be shaved at least every two months or when the hair has grown to a length of two fingerbreadths — whichever occurs first, says the Commentary. In Thailand there is the custom that all bhikkhus shave their heads on the same day, the day before the full moon, so that the Community can present a uniform appearance. Although this is not obligatory, a bhikkhu who does not follow the custom tends to stand out from his fellows.

A razor is one of a bhikkhu's eight basic requisites. He is also allowed a whetstone, a razor case, a piece of felt (to wrap the razor in), and all razor accessories (such as a strop). At present, this allowance would cover all types of safety razors as well. The Commentary to Pr 2 insists that the razor case not be multicolored.

Unless ill — e.g., he has a sore on his head — a bhikkhu may not use scissors to cut his hair or have it cut. The question of using electric razors to shave the head is a controversial one. Because their cutting action — even in rotary shavers — is like that of scissors, many Communities will not allow their use in shaving the head.
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Bodhisurfer » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:13 pm

I thought the 'curls' on the head of the Buddha as depicted on the many statues were snails. I'm sure I read a story somewhere that while the Buddha was meditating in the shade and the sun moved and as a result he was now in full sun so all the snails came and covered his head to protect him from sunstroke -I'm off to find the source of this now :smile:

post script The Snail Martyrs http://nandakumarr.blogspot.com/2006/12 ... ffure.html
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Nicro » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:54 pm

Bodhisurfer wrote:I thought the 'curls' on the head of the Buddha as depicted on the many statues were snails. I'm sure I read a story somewhere that while the Buddha was meditating in the shade and the sun moved and as a result he was now in full sun so all the snails came and covered his head to protect him from sunstroke -I'm off to find the source of this now :smile:

post script The Snail Martyrs http://nandakumarr.blogspot.com/2006/12 ... ffure.html



I find this far more reasonable:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2009/07/buddhas-hail.html
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Bodhisurfer » Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:24 pm

Nicro wrote:
Bodhisurfer wrote:I thought the 'curls' on the head of the Buddha as depicted on the many statues were snails. I'm sure I read a story somewhere that while the Buddha was meditating in the shade and the sun moved and as a result he was now in full sun so all the snails came and covered his head to protect him from sunstroke -I'm off to find the source of this now :smile:

post script The Snail Martyrs http://nandakumarr.blogspot.com/2006/12 ... ffure.html



I find this far more reasonable:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2009/07/buddhas-hail.html


yes i suspect that that is a more reasonable explanation :smile:
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby cittaanurakkho » Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:33 am

In one sutta (don't remember which one), the Blessed one was insulted by a brahmin and referred to as "shaveling". So, mostlikely He shaved his head.
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Monkey Mind » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:22 am

Hmmm... I had heard that the hair on rupa statues was to remind us that Buddha came from a royal lineage before he renounced.

I had also head that Buddha rupas were actually based the Greek god Apollo. Traveling Greeks were annoyed that any culture could claim to venerate a man and not make statues of him, so they fixed the problem.
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as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Zom » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:18 am

MN 81:

I hold that it is good to see that Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened.'
Then the brahmin student Jotipala undid his belt and said: 'Enough, my dear Ghatikara, what is the use of seeing that
bald-pated recluse?'


And plus there is one sutta where a monk didn't recognize the Buddha when he saw him for the first time. That also points on that the Buddha was "bald-pated" like all other monks. :reading:
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby cooran » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:44 am

Hello Zom,

King Ajatasattu didn't see any difference between the Buddha and all the other monks and had to have him specifically pointed out by Jivaka:

Then the king, having had five hundred of his women mounted on the five hundred female elephants — one on each — and having mounted his own personal tusker, set out from the capital in full royal state, with attendants carrying torches, headed for Jivaka Komarabhacca's mango grove. But when the king was not far from the mango grove, he was gripped with fear, trepidation, his hair standing on end. Fearful, agitated, his hair standing on end, he said to Jivaka Komarabhacca: "Friend Jivaka, you aren't deceiving me, are you? You aren't betraying me, are you? You aren't turning me over to my enemies, are you? How can there be such a large community of monks — 1,250 in all — with no sound of sneezing, no sound of coughing, no voices at all?"

"Don't be afraid, great king. Don't be afraid. I'm not deceiving you or betraying you or turning you over to your enemies. Go forward, great king, go forward! Those are lamps burning in the pavilion hall."

Then the king, going as far on his tusker as the ground would permit, dismounted and approached the door of the pavilion on foot. On arrival, he asked Jivaka: "Where, friend Jivaka, is the Blessed One?"
"That is the Blessed One, great king, sitting against the middle pillar, facing east, surrounded by the community of monks."

Then the king approached the Blessed One and, on reaching him, stood to one side.
{continues at …..}
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Zom » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:35 pm

Yes, indeed, an interesting fragment I missed, thanks! :clap:
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Re: Why wasn't the Buddha's head shaved?

Postby Ben » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:58 pm

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I suggest you become familiar with these guidelines before posting here to avoid your non-compliant posts being removed without warning. I would also like to take this opportunity to remind all members to re-familiarise themselves with the TOS and our forum-specific guidelines.
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