Stupid curiosity...

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pink_trike
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Stupid curiosity...

Post by pink_trike »

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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DNS
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Post by DNS »

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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zavk
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Post by zavk »

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...

Post by pink_trike »

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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pink_trike
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Post by pink_trike »

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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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Post by mikenz66 »

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...

Mike

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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Post by pink_trike »

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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Post by appicchato »

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...

Post by Dhammanando »

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...

Post by zavk »

Ah... thank you for your responses, Bhantes. :anjali:
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zavk

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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Post by puthujjana »

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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Post by mikenz66 »

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...

Post by appicchato »

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...

Post by kc2dpt »

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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pink_trike
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Re: Stupid curiosity...

Post by pink_trike »

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

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