Shaving the Head

SL380838The village festival last weekend was fun and a good opportunity to get to know more of my neighbours. The pigsty opposite the Hermitage that was pictured in my last post was filled with a papier-mâché pig and piglets.

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Q. Why do monks shave their heads, and why do some have some hair?

A. Buddhist monks shave their heads as a sign of renunciation. Wearing a robe and shaving the head removes many of the outward symbols of status and beauty by which society judges a person and helps a monk to concentrate on their spiritual practice. Traditionally monks should not let their hair grow beyond a length of two fingers breadth. Generally the monks in our Order shave their heads once a week. Monks sometimes choose to grow a little hair before visiting their families if they are going to be wearing what we call town clothes or feel it will be more comfortable for themselves and/or others. Monks living in city temples sometimes choose to grow a little hair for similar reasons.

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2 thoughts on “Shaving the Head

  1. Fred

    Dear Rev Alicia,
    This series of Q & A is excellent. The answers are really focused and helpful. With this last one, I had a vague idea about the head-shaving but your answer clarifies it succinctly.

    1. Alicia Post author

      Thanks Fred – good to know it’s informative. And if you or anyone else have a question you would like me to answer on the blog you can enter it as a comment here or use the contact form.

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