Buddhism is one of the oldest world religions. Its founder is considered to be Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who lived in Ancient India in the VI century. BC. e. At the age of 29, he gave up his wealth and voluntarily left the palace. Becoming a hermit, Gautama devoted himself to thinking about the meaning of life, as a result of which he became enlightened (Buddha). Until very old age, he preached his teaching, the meaning of which was limited to self-restraint and meditation for the attainment of the highest degree of bliss (nirvana).
The prevalence of Buddhism
Gradually, Buddhism became popular in a number of Asian countries. Today it is practiced in India, China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Korea, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Japan, Mongolia, Laos, and in some regions of Russia (in Kalmykia, Tuva, Buryatia). According to researchers, in the modern world there are approximately 800 million adherents of Buddhism. Of these, about 1 million people are monks who have renounced the benefits of civilization and dedicated themselves to following the commandments of Gautama. To the simple inhabitant they can seem special people, whose life is shrouded in secrets. But is it really so? Let's find out who Buddhist monks are and how they live.
Monks, professing Buddhism, live in monasteries. Each day passes on a strict schedule, the deviation from which is considered a great sin. Buddhist monks wake up at 6 am and begin their day with prayer. After its completion, they begin breakfast, consisting of products brought to the temple by local residents. The hermits do not get food for themselves and do not cook, according to the prescriptions of religion they should eat only what they receive from the believers in the form of alms. In some countries, after a prayer, monks go through the streets of the city to beg. The food they receive from the townspeople will be their breakfast. By tradition, they should eat everything that is on their plate, even if the products have already deteriorated.
The rules of Buddhist monks allow them to eat twice a day: early in the morning and at noon. After dinner they are only allowed to drink water and infusions of herbs. Inhabitants of the monastery eat only modest food, food for them is not a pleasure, but a source of gaining vitality. The diet of Buddhist monks consists mainly of plant foods, but there are limitations too. Hermits very rarely eat garlic and onions, since it is believed that these spices increase sexual desire, and this is unacceptable for them. Monks are not vegetarians, but they can eat meat only if they are sure that the animal was killed not for food. But alcohol, tobacco and drugs are strictly forbidden to them.
The ban on eating in the afternoon does not just happen. At this time Buddhist monks are engaged in self-improvement, meditation and reading of religious literature (tripitaka), and a stomach full of food will prevent them from concentrating their thoughts in the right direction. Also after dinner, they receive believers who come to the temple to provide material assistance, pray, or receive a blessing.
Things necessary to achieve nirvana
The community of Buddhist monks lives very ascetic. It should clearly follow the postulates of religion, which say that a person needs only 3 things for normal life: food, clothing and a roof over his head. Everything else is considered superfluous and hinders the attainment of nirvana. Unfortunately, modern residents of monasteries are not so honored by the Buddhist rules as their predecessors, and often acquire mobile phones, computers and even personal cars. The truly righteous monks, who strictly observe all the rules of religion, are getting smaller every year.
Very unusual look Buddhist monks. The photos on which they are depicted allow us to look at their appearance. Monks always appear before the people bald. They shave their heads, believing that the time spent on washing, cutting and combing their hair is best devoted to inner self-improvement and finding a way to nirvana.
Traditional clothing of Buddhist monks consists of a top cape covering the torso and the left shoulder, and an inner sarong that wraps around the hips and hides the legs. In countries with a cold climate, monks are allowed to wear warm stoles over religious attire. Their outfits they usually paint in such bright colors as curry, saffron and cumin. Sometimes you can meet hermits wearing gray and black shades.
Who can take the vow?
Before becoming a Buddhist monk, a person needs to spend several years in the status of a novice. Not only men can take a vow, but also women who have decided to devote themselves to religion. Become a novice monastery is allowed to any child who reached the age of seven. But only the adult can become a monk, who is 20 years old from the moment of conception or 19 years and 3 months after the birthday.
Basic rules of monks
Anyone who enters the community must give up all earthly pleasures, leave the family and all the riches that belong to him. The main rules for him from now on are: do not kill, do not steal, do not drink alcohol, do not lie, do not commit adultery, do not sing or dance, do not rest on a soft bed, do not be greedy, do not eat at the wrong time, do not use it things that have a strong flavor.
Throughout life, Buddhist monks have the right to return home 3 times to solve important matters or to help relatives. Every time thereafter, at the appointed time, they are obliged to take their place in the monastery. If a person takes a vow, and then changes his mind and renounces him, he will be condemned by society.
The self-immolation of a Buddhist monk
Throughout its history Buddhism was repeatedly subjected to harassment. One of the most ardent of its defenders became thiti Quang Duc, Vietnamese monk who committed self-immolation in protest against the persecution of religion by the country's President, NGO Dinh by Siemon. June 10, 1963, in the heart of Saigon (the old name of Ho Chi Minh city) there was a huge crowd of monks, bearing in their hands banners with slogans to stop the oppression of Buddhists. At the head of the procession rode a blue car driven by thiti Quang Duc. Near the presidential Palace, on a busy street the car stopped. Along with thiti Quang Dycom got out 2 monk. One of them lay on the pavement a soft cushion, and the second got out of the car the canister with gasoline.
Thich sat down on a place prepared for him on the ground in a lotus pose, after which one of the participants of the action doused him with fuel. Reading the prayer, the monk lit a match and burned himself. He flushed like a torch, but until the last he had to sit with his straight back in the lotus position. After 10 minutes, his body was completely destroyed by fire. The journalists succeeded in capturing on the film the self-immolation of a Buddhist monk. Pictures with the flaming Thich Quang Duc circled the whole world and loudly announced the existence of serious religious problems in the country.