WHY DO MONASTICS AND NUNS SHAVE THEIR HEADS?

October 15, 2018

Monasticism is a religious way of life where one renounces all physical desires and pleasures of any kind to devote his life fully to spiritual work. Monastic way of life is present in many religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, etc. Females pursuing monastic way of life are called nuns while the males go by the definiton of monks. Even though it is not an absolute rule for nuns and monks to shave their head in some religions in which monasticism is present, they still do it for a few reasons.

THE THREE REASONS

The first one (not in any particular order of importance) is purely because of tradition. A person who has dedicated his life to spiritual work is a person that devotes every moment of his conscious life to spirituality, therefore shaving the head gives him more time to spend on spiritual practice instead of wasting it to take care of his hair - brushing it, washing it longer, drying it, etc. Monastics also associate hair with the physical desires and pleasures that chain down the soul - all those things that create and shape the Ego. According to their beliefs, when one has hair, the time spent for maintaining and styling it makes the person sink into the worldly desires, as the person is trying to make himself look good which is equal to being subjected to the bodily desires and impulses.


The second reason is a "reminder". Every morning when they wake up, monastics should touch their head to remind themselves they are monks and nuns. It is an everyday reminder of their devotion to spiritual practice. 

The third reason is to show other people that they have devoted themselves to spirituality, so people do not seek the monastics for themselves, or in other words - for husbands and wives. A monastic devoted to spirituality is a person who cannot have a wife or a husband, for that would be contradicting the path they've went on, renouncing themselves of all physical pleasures.

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