View Full Version : New to Mahayana, and wondering?

16 Aug 12, 00:26
I recently decided to go from a Theravada school, to a Vietnamese Mahayana school. I recently shaved my head bald (I do so every now and then, to practice humility), but I am not a monk (though I hope that is where I'm at in a number of years). Do you think the people will regard it as an insult?

16 Aug 12, 02:26
hello JCC

imo, in the West, generally, shaving your head bald would not be regarded as an insult


16 Aug 12, 02:55
hello JCC

imo, in the West, generally, shaving your head bald would not be regarded as an insult


Its a Vietnamese temple, so I know it wouldn't be a problem with people from this country, but they are from Vietnam.

16 Aug 12, 03:02
Then, possibly. In Asia, it could definitely be regarded as an insult but, such opinions, generally come from the lay Buddhists rather than from an enlightened Buddhist or a monk. So in a Vietnamese temple in the West, yes, it is possible the lay people may not look upon it positively. I suppose you can only ask the leader of the temple their opinion.

16 Aug 12, 03:06
If you look & behave sincere, then it is probably not an issue. But it may be prudent to ask the temple leader.

When I lived in the monastery in Asia, as a lay person, I shaved my head. But, by the way I dressed, Thai people generally understood I lived in the monastery. Therefore, it was not something that offended them.

16 Aug 12, 03:46
Thank you. I know its fairly common to do so with the Theravada community. Though it was more common with women, at least in my observations. I'll talk to the temple heads though.Hopefully it'll grow out a bit before Sunday, haha.

If anyone else has any input, please feel free to add.

16 Aug 12, 04:14
I live in Asia most of my time and baldness is a fashion for men as far as I can tell. There are lot of bald guys around ...

17 Aug 12, 05:52
Monks are not the only men who shave their heads. Even in Vietnam.

I shave mine once a month just because I find it convenient.

30 Nov 12, 07:29
Hi all. I shave my head not for any religious reason, but purely cause I'm mostly bald anyway and I may as well complete the job. Also it has it's advantages. I work as a volunteer in a hospice and when a staff member who doesn't know me sees me they automatically think I'm a patient undergoing chemotherapy and kindly offer me some tea and cookies, so if you want free tea and cookies , just shave your head and hang around a hospice.;D. Love to all beings

Jason Smith
24 Dec 12, 16:38
Many men in America shave their heads now. Its fashion. You sound very dedicated. But do not practice with great fervor. Take baby steps or you will burn out. Like Tenzin Palmo and Ajhan Chah have both said, Dharma practice is like cooking. Cook too fast and the food is not good. A slow cooker prepares tasty food nice and slow. Pick up a copy of The Three Truths by Tenzen Palmo. This is among the best Dharma I have ever read. Many teachers will tell you not to do too much at once. Or you will burn out and jump to the next best thing. I see nothing wrong with shaving your head as long as it was a natural thing to do. It helps tame your ego. Don't cling to your shaved head. You want to give up symbols not create them. Be careful not to cling or become attached to your dharma practices. This is difficult for me. It all a part of letting go. Did you let go of your identity and ego by head shaving or do you look in the mirror with satisfaction that you look like a Buddhist? The latter would be clinging. You decide. If your clinging, its worth a good chuckle, nothing more. DO not get down on yourself.