Theravada Buddhist monk clothing
When you hear about Buddhist clothing , the next thing that comes to your mind is the robes worn by Buddhist monks and nuns. It is certainly easy to notice the single-colored robes worn by Buddhist monks. These dresses may vary according to the different countries practicing Buddhism, especially with regard to the colors. However, the origin of the Buddhist dress system remains the same regardless of the variation
Buddhist clothing and all you need to know
Similarly, in the time of the Buddha himself, around 25 centuries , Buddhist monks dressed in robes made from rags. It showed that they lived like those who depend only on people's alms for their survival. In addition, the Buddha laid down the rules for Buddhist clothing. And you can find the rules in Vinaya-pitaka , as written in Canon of Pali .
Wearing monastic robes is an expected obligation of a Buddhist monk. In fact, it is the first of the four traditional requirements of a Buddhist monk. On the other hand, the equivalent name of the monastic robe in Pali is Civara .
This article covers everything you need to know about Buddhist clothing.
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- The origin of the robes of Buddhist monks
- The three-piece monastic robe (Tricivara)
- The five monastic robes
- The different ways in which Buddhist monks can wear their robes
- The variation of Buddhist clothing in different traditions
- The model of Buddhist clothing
- General Buddhist clothing for the lay community
- Buddhist monks appear in distinct robes. And these dresses are important in the practice of Buddhism. Therefore, the ceremony to become a Buddhist monk suggests the importance of the robe and is called "Taking the robes". On the other hand, it also signifies the self-denial lifestyle of Buddhist monks.
The origin of the robes of Buddhist monks
The history of Buddhist saffron robes dates back to the time of the Buddha. Back then, the Buddha asked his first monks to adorn robes made from what no one else liked. This tissue is what he called pure tissue. And by pure cloth, the Buddha was talking about cloth materials which can be considered as rags and which are unusable. For example, recommended tissue includes torn tissue, tissue burned by fire, tissue used as a shroud primarily for corpses, and tissue used for cleaning menstrual blood.
Therefore, Buddhist monks seek out the rags thrown in the landfills. They pick up those rags and cut out the parts they can't reuse. Then they will wash the rags and sew them into one piece. At this point, they will dye the fabric with vegetable matter . The plant material they use includes roots , bark and leaves of plants . However, the main ingredient used for dyeing the fabric is the spice turmeric or saffron. This is what gives the dress a yellow-orange color. This is why Buddhists today still refer to the robes worn by monks by the expression "saffron robe".
Today's Theravada Buddhists still wear robes shades of saffron orange .In addition, they also wear dresses in other spice colors which include undertones of paprika, cumin, and curry On the other hand, Theravada Buddhism is very prevalent in Southeast Asia
Today, Buddhist monks and nuns no longer wear robes from landfills and cremation sites. That is, they now wear dresses made from fabrics donated during one of the public Buddhist ceremonies. For example, the Buddhist ceremony that involves tissue donation is the Kathina ceremony . Buddhist monks get merits from the laity during the ceremony. Therefore, it is from here that they receive most of the fabrics for the dresses.
The three-piece monastic robe (Tricivara)
Whenever you see a Buddhist monk, he is likely to be wearing his full robe which consists of three parts. Indeed, the monks do not enter the village without the full robe. Likewise, the three-part dress is:
The inner garment (Antaravasaka)
It comes in the form of a vest. The monks therefore wrap this fabric around the waist. And, it covers from waist to knee. It is the innermost part of the three-part monastic robe.
2. The upper fabric (Uttarasanga)
The monks wear this cloth over the Antaravasaka. It covers the upper part of the body, around the torso and shoulders. However, most of the time, the monks wear the Uttarasanga to cover the left shoulder and leave the right shoulder bare. It is certainly the most visible part of the dresses. And it measures approximately 1.80m x 1.80m.
3. The outer fabric (Sanghati)
This is a tracksuit. Monks wear it to cover their upper body. Plus, they use it in cold weather to keep their body warm. Therefore, when not using the Sanghati, the monks hang it on their shoulder.
Buddhists believe that this form of clothing has remained unchanged from the original mode of clothing of the 'time of the Buddha.
The five monastic robes
Quintuple robes are for nuns. These are the three-part dresses and two additional pieces of fabric. And, additional fabrics include:
- A bodice or vest (Samkacchika): Nuns usually wear it under Uttarasanga.
- A bath towel (Udakasatika): Nuns always wear bath towels.
These two additional pieces of cloth, along with the three pieces worn by the monks, constitute the five monastic robes. In addition, Theravada nuns in recent days wear robes that are mostly pink or white in color. On the other hand, it is quite rare to see a Buddhist nun.
The different ways in which Buddhist monks can wear their robes
Buddhist monks may wear their robes differently depending on various factors. For example, according to the Buddhist school to which they belong, the tradition or the country of practice , and d 'other factors such as their location, c that is, if they are in the monastery or in the village. However, the most recognized way for a Buddhist monk to don his robe is by giving alms - in the round and using the upper fabric ( Uttarasanga ) to cover both shoulders. < br>
On the other hand, when a monk is in monastery , he can wear his robe very freely. This is that is, it can leave the right shoulder bare when the upper tissue passes under the armpit.In addition, this way of wearing the monastic robe serves as a sign of respect when the monk is with a superior monk In addition, it will give the arm enough space to move freely in order to facilitate the work.
When a Buddhist monk leaves the monastery to visit the village, he will wear the full three-part robe. These are the inner canvas, top canvas, and outer canvas.
The most important thing is that these dresses are suitable for all situations. They can serve as cold blankets, floor and chair clotheslines, windbreakers, headgear, and many other uses. In addition, the dress is very easy to make and use, very simple and straightforward.
The variation of Buddhist clothing in different traditions
There are differences in the type and colors of the robes worn by Buddhist monks. And you can see these variations in the different countries that practice Buddhism. Likewise, we will see these differences in the great schools of Buddhism.
So these schools include:
- Theravada Buddhism
- Theravada Buddhism is the dominant school of Buddhism in Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. The monks of the Theravada Buddhist tradition wear saffron robes of yellow-orange color. In addition, the Pali language translates the color saffron yellow as "Kasaya" and in some cases as "Kasava". In Sanskrit, this also translates to "kashaya".
Theravada Buddhist monks wear robes to imitate those of the Buddha. As a result, their dress is very simple and suggests a life outside the world. It helps them choose simplicity as a means of attaining enlightenment, just like the Buddha.
Mahayana Buddhism originated when Buddhism passed through China, Korea and Japan. Similarly, Buddhist monks in the Mahayana tradition wear very different robes from those of the Buddha. This variation is mainly due to the climatic conditions of the region. Indeed, China is a cold nation and the three-piece dress usually does not bring enough warmth.
On the other hand, we have seen that the exposure of the right shoulder is a sign of respect for most of the nations practicing Buddhism. However, this is not the case in the Mahayana countries. In fact, the reverse is true. Chinese Buddhist monks have found it more respectful to cover the entire body.
After some controversy involving sects, Chinese Buddhist monks began to wear long-sleeved robes. The sleeves close at the front. This robe was more like that of scholars practicing Taoism. However, they wrap the upper fabric (Uttarasanga) over the long-sleeved robe.
The robes of Mahayana Buddhist monks are simple and plain. In addition, the colors of the dress seem quieter. The monks of China and Korea wear robes of brown, gray or blue. In contrast, Japanese Buddhist monks most likely wear black or gray robes. In addition, Japanese monks wear a “Kesa” prayer robe over the usual monastic robe. They make the Kesa from pieces of fine silk brocade sewn together in patches. Usually, crests are used to imitate the patchwork robes the Buddha wore in his day.
In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, robes with sleeves come in different styles as well. In addition, there are many clothing accessories worn with the dress. For example, they use capes, stoles, scarves, etc.
Chinese Buddhist monks live in a community of monks, usually in a monastery. And the community tends to be independent from outside communities, at least to a reasonable extent. As a result, the monks beg less from the public. In addition, they mostly stayed in the community doing household chores. Hence, they are not required to wear the dress with sleeves all the time. Thus was born the common slit skirt that monks usually wore. Then they use the upper dress (Uttarasanga) as formal attire.
Monks in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition wear the most fanciful robes of all. Vajrayana Buddhism covers the regions of Tibet and the Himalayas. And, just as Tibetans were recognized for their art, the robes of Buddhist monks are also very colorful.
The robes of Vajrayana Buddhist monks differ in style and color depending on the sect and the occasion. In addition, the monks wear the robes with many sartorial accessories such as capes and hats.
However, there are basic robes of Vajrayana monks, including
- The Dhonka : This is usually a wrap shirt in brown color. It also has a hooded sleeve and sometimes a yellow color with a blue pattern on the edges (piping).
- The Shemdap : It's a brown colored skirt. It is made from bonded fabrics and features a different number of pleats for freedom of movement.
- The Zhen : This is a brown colored wrapping cloth made of pieces of cloth. Monks wear this robe to cover the upper part of the body. In addition, they wear it for ordinary daily activities.
- The Chogyu : it is a yellow envelope fabric similar to the Sanghati and worn to cover the upper part of the body. Much like Zhen, Chogyu is made up of pieces of fabric put together. However, monks wear the Chogyu during recognized teachings and ceremonies. Sometimes, instead of wearing this robe, the monks simply let it rest on one shoulder.
- The Namjar : This is a large dress generally worn like the Uttarasanga ( Kasaya ) with the right shoulder left bare. The dress is larger than that of the Chogyu. As a result, it has more spots. In addition, it is usually yellow in color and made of silk.
During some Vajrayana Buddhist ceremonies and rituals, monks and lamas wear other clothing accessories to support their dress and the process. For example, during an exorcism, llamas will wear headdresses like a helmet. In addition, the headdress has crescent-shaped peaks.
Another example, during the initiation ceremony, the llamas will wear a five-part crown. The five parts of the crown each contain the five Dhyani Buddhas. On the other hand, they can also use the representation of the essence in Sanskrit syllables. Most importantly, monks wear this crown to invoke a deity depicted in an image with a similar five-part crown.
The model of Buddhist clothing
Most of the dresses worn by Buddhist monks and nuns are of the traditional paddy type. That is, the dresses are presented in pieces of fabric sewn together. Most of the time, the pattern is in the form of columns of five strips of fabric. However, sometimes there can be as many as seven or nine strips of fabric.
The origin of the paddy field pattern dates back to the time of the Buddha.The Vinaya-Pitaka related that the Buddha asked Ananda, his main servant, to design the robes according to the pattern of the paddy field As a result, Ananda, who had the idea of the paddy fields, had to sew strips of fabric to represent that idea. In addition, he used narrower fabric strips to separate the patterns of the paddy fields. The narrower bands form the paths through the rice fields.
The pattern of the rice fields of the robes of Buddhist monks is still used today. In addition, in the Zen Buddhist tradition, the pattern of rice fields represents a field of shapeless blessings. On the other hand, it also represents a representation of the universe or what is called the mandala.
General Buddhist clothing for the lay community
The lay community in Buddhism has no obligation to wear any particular type of robe. However, on special occasions, pious laymen may wear austere robes. For example, on full moon days (Uposatha days), lay people may wear simple, all-white robes. This is to show their purity and the taking of the five Buddhist ethical vows (Pañcha śîla).
Moreover, this mode of clothing of the lay devout community is formal. That is, there are particular types of laity (Anagarika) who have adopted the ascetic way of life. Therefore, they now permanently wear the white robe and adhere to the ethical rules of Buddhism. This introduction comes from a Buddhist reformer, Anagarika Dharmapala.
Final words on Buddhist clothing
The robes that Buddhist monks wear today have undergone a series of developments. It is the result of Buddhism's travels to different countries and cultures. However, we have noticed the remarkable differences observed in the robes of Buddhist monks.
Another sacred spiritual object among Buddhist monks of the Theravada tradition are the Tibetan bracelets so here is a small presentation on them.
Presentation of the Tibetan bracelet
Are you looking for a practical accessory to obtain many benefits by wearing an accessory every day? It is important to choose your Tibetan bracelet according to the benefits you are looking for.
We have prepared an article for you to introduce you to the benefits of the Tibetan bracelet and to help you choose the model that best suits your needs. So don't wait any longer to read on and choose your accessory.
The benefits of the Tibetan bracelet
The Tibetan bracelet is a traditional object that was first known for its ability to repel negative energies and help you purify your mind. The Tibetan bracelet is therefore used to meditate easily by finding inner peace.
The Tibetan bracelet is also considered to be a real lucky charm that can promote your luck quickly by wearing it on you every day. But each Tibetan bracelet will have its specific benefit depending on the elements that compose it.
Indeed, the Tibetan Mala must be chosen according to the desired benefits to ensure you take a perfectly adapted model. You can therefore choose the pearls, the color and the ideal size to acquire the Tibetan mala that suits you to enjoy great concentration and feel great relief.
Choosing the right Tibetan bracelet
The Tibetan lucky bracelet is a smaller accessory choice that will effectively protect you and provide you with benefits depending on its composition.For example a Tibetan wooden bracelet can protect you from disasters, negative elements, help you regain your calm and heal you for example
If you choose a Tibetan bracelet with Bodhi seeds, you will enjoy benefits such as helping concentration, and protection bringing you good luck. Other seeds will help you regain energy, for example.
The Tibetan Mala composed of 108 beads, used in particular for meditation and the recitation of mantras, allows you to concentrate better, to develop inner peace and to purify the mind.
Lucky symbol emblematic of Tibetan Buddhism, the braided red thread bracelet has a strong spiritual value to block negative energies and bring many benefits to its owner.
You can also go for a Tibetan bracelet made of natural stones like tiger eye which will help you make decisions by giving you confidence and determination for example.
Stone of wisdom and humility, amethyst promotes spiritual elevation, concentration and meditation for example, while black onyx builds strength, and supports in difficult times, in business, and during times of physical and mental stress.
So you have a large number of choices to choose the Tibetan bracelet corresponding to your needs. Each bracelet will offer you specific virtues and all you have to do is adapt your accessory to your day..