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What do Tibetan Buddhist Monks Wear?

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Tibetan monks wear a great variety of robes, hats and capes.

They consist of the dhonka which is a wrap shirt with cap sleeves, the shemdap which is a maroon skirt made of patched cloth and has a varying number of pleats, the chögu which is a wrap made of patches and worn normally on the upper body,

the zhen which is very similar to the chögu but maroon in colour used as an ordinary day-to-day clad and finally the namjar which is much larger than the chögu with more patches but it's yellow in colour and normally made of silk.

This dress is for formal ceremonial occasions.

The Buddhist robes are a distinctive sign of a Buddhist monastic.

The simple, patchwork design symbolizes renunciation. Robes for monastics vary in color and styling from culture to culture, reflecting adaptations to climate and social conditions over the centuries.

In the Tibetan tradition, the robes for nuns and monks include a maroon lower robe called shamtab, a maroon shawl called zhen, a maroon vest called donka, and a yellow robe called chogu which is worn on special occasions.

A underskirt called meyog and an shirt called ngullen are worn underneath these.

Yellow, orange, red, or maroon are the most common colors for the underskirt and shirt.

A yellow belt called kerag cinches the shamtab around the waist.

It is generally a plain strip of cloth, but there are variations.

Monks and nuns who are fully ordained wear a shamtab with five strip of patches sewn in a particular pattern and have a second yellow robe with 25 strips of patches called namcha which is worn on special occasions.

Underwear is advised, including a sports top or similar undergarment for nuns. Special care is taken when sitting cross-legged to avoid any embarrassing display.

The shamtab, zhen, and donka are worn from the moment one wakes up in the morning until going to bed at night, even when going to the toilet. Robes should be worn properly, clean and neat, at all times.

Although not specified in the Vinaya texts, an extra set of these three items, the shirt, and underskirt is generally kept to wear during laundering.

In very hot weather, the shirt is sometimes worn without the donka.

In the Tibetan tradition, sleeves, hats, scarves, and trousers are not appropriate. Special care is paid to proper dress when going for teachings, ceremonies, and when meeting one's teachers.

If, due to cold weather, a sweater is worn in an informal situation, it should be simple, without decoration, and of a solid, acceptable color, such as yellow or maroon.

Shoes are worn outside the monastery and are generally removed when entering temples. Sandals may be worn inside the monastery.

Leather shoes are not worn by monastics in China, Korea, Taiwan, or Vietnam, but there is no such prohibition in the Tibetan tradition.

Unlike Theravadin countries, closed shoes are considered preferable to sandals in a formal situation. Shoes should be brown in color (never black or white) and conservative in design.