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Why do monks and nuns have to shave their heads?

In ancient India it was a custom for practitioners to shave their heads to show they'd renounced the five desires, for our hair adorns our body and so it can be said to stand for sensual desire. Hair also symbolizes our mental affliction as well as our attachment to worldly affairs and emotions and so shaving our heads symbolizes that we want to eradicate our afflictions and suffering.




Extended Reading

Should monastics stick to practicing asceticism?
Why do monastics take on many duties to help people?
Why can't Buddhist monks and nuns wear regular clothes?
Is it proper for monastics to attend entertainment activities?



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Buddhism Monastics II - Q& A
> Why do monks and nuns have to shave their heads?