When you see a Buddhist monk, the first thing that is likely to catch your eyes is the orange color robe he is wearing. This is because Buddhist monks wear this orange robe all the time. And, this has been the mode of dressing for monks even from the time of the Buddha. As a result, one may wonder why out of all colors, it is orange that the Buddha chose. Well, the reasons may be what you are already thinking about. This is if you are a good follower of Buddhism. And, you likely have an idea of the origin of the saffron robe.
The orange color of the monk’s robe symbolizes the flame that comes from a burning fire. And, the Buddha sees the flame of fire as a symbol of truth. Most importantly, the truth is what has to come from time to time reminding. Therefore, the Buddhist monks wear the orange color robe to always remind others of the flame of fire. Consequently, one will likely connect back with his inner truth. And, continue the journey to enlightenment.
You may also notice that the saffron robes of the Buddhist monks come in varying shades. That is to say, the color of the robes may differ from what we call orange. Hence, the robes may come in burnt orange, soft yellow, bright yellow, deep red, and the saffron color. These represent all the shades of color that a flame of fire contain. Therefore, you may be wondering “WHY DO MONKS WEAR RED AND YELLOW ROBES?”
We are going to list out the major reasons why Buddhist monks wear orange clothes. In addition, this article contains other important facts about the orange color robes.
Reasons Why Buddhist Monks Wear Orange Color Robes
The following reasons suggest why the orange color is prevalent among the Buddhist monks clothing. Of course, there are many other colors to choose from, but they chose orange. As a result, let us find out why.
To Remind Other People Of The Flame
As the Buddha taught, the orange color symbolizes the flame. And, this flame represents the truth. Therefore, whenever the monks wear the orange robe, they remind other people of the flame. Moreover, the color orange can easily make one picture a flame. As a result, one can always refocus on the truth. Certainly, this is what the color represents.
Further, the Buddhist monks can wear any of the shades of color found in a flame. Where the basic colors of the flame include red, orange, and yellow. This means that the color of the robes can contain any shade of the basic colors. For example, burnt orange, soft yellow, bright yellow, deep red, and the saffron color. Any of these colors represent the same underlying meaning. And, equally reminds others of the flame and the truth.
Hence, do not get it twisted when you see a group of Buddhist monks wearing the various shades of color. This is because it shows the same thing. However, the color of the robes can rarely differ from the listed five shades. The reason is that these shades together form a complete color of the flame. Yet, the colors individually still give a representation of the truth. And, this is what the Buddhists has as a purpose. To find out the truth about life.
To Show Their Monkhood
Once a person becomes a Buddhist monk through ordination, he gets the robe from the officiating elder monk. That is to say, the robe is part of the monastic lifestyle. Therefore, wearing an orange robe shows that the individual has made a vow to follow the path of the Buddha. In other words, the orange color robe gives Buddhist monks identity.
As a result, when you see an orange robe, the next thing that comes to mind is a Buddhist monk. This is because the orange color is particular to the Buddhist monks. On the other hand, the Monkhood accepted the orange robe from the beginning of Buddhism. As a result, it is now a way to identify them. That is to say, the orange color robe is synonymous to Buddhist monks.
The Buddhist monks wear the robes when in the monastery. Or, as they take a walk through the village. Therefore, the orange robe simply shows that you are a Buddhist monk. As a result, people will approach you with the necessary respect.
To Keep The Age-long Tradition Of The Orange Robe
You can also refer to the orange robe as a saffron robe. This is because originally Buddhist monks dye the robes using any of the six plant matter. For example, they use roots, the bark of trees, leaves, fruits, flowers, or tubers. Also, they use spices which include the saffron or turmeric. This is what gives the robe the orange-yellow color. As a result, Buddhists call the robe saffron robe.
Today, the Buddhist monks may no longer dye their clothes with plant matter. However, they still kept the original color they got from dying the clothes with plant matter. Moreover, the different color shades obtained are as a result of using varying plant substances. And, also at varying quantities.
In addition, before the monks dye their robes in the early days, they use red clay to wash them. The clay has the capacity to stain the clothes. As a result, they get a brown-red color robe. This practice affects the shade of orange color produced after dying the clothes.
As An Accepted Practice From Hinduism
Buddhism is a practice that one can say came out of Hinduism. This is because the prevalent religion in India is Hinduism. And, Hinduism is already existing about half a millennium before Buddhism. Above all, the Buddha originally practiced Hinduism before seeking for enlightenment. As such, most Buddhist practices today relate to that of Hindus. On the same note, the Hindu ascetics started the practice of wearing orange color robes. The Hindu ascetics are the Yogis or Sannyasis.
However, we should focus on why the Hindu ascetics chose to wear orange clothes. Well, the orange color represents fire which the Hindus consider as pure. In addition, the color of fire symbolizes sacrifice. Of course, the ascetics sacrificed pleasure both sensual and material. This practice goes back to the Vedic era. And, the Veda which is the oldest Hindu sacred text recorded the practice.
Most of all, the Hindus perform rituals involving the burning of offerings. For example, they throw grains, milk, and other substances into a fire. This is where the color of fire as a symbol of sacrifice started.
On the other hand, the color of fire also includes yellow, red, plus the orange. These can come in varying shades. And, these shades appear in the dressing of the ascetics. Today, the Yogis still use these colors of robes. More so, the Hindus still consider them sacred.
Summarily, we can say that Buddhists adopted the orange robe from the Hindu practice. As a result, today Buddhist monks wear the orange or saffron robes. However, most people who practice Buddhism outside India do not know the reason behind the colors. This is because the Buddhist texts did not cover the topic. But, the Hindu text talked about it in detail.
The Orange Robe Symbolizes A Radiating Light
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This reason is mostly the belief of Theravada Buddhists. To clarify, the orange robe shows the color of the sun that shines from far away. However, we can still see the light. Therefore, Buddhist monks wear orange robes to represent this radiating light.
In addition, the orange robe portrays a light that shines in the darkness. As a result, it brightens the day. And, practically eliminate all negativity. Certainly, when a Buddhist monk appears in an orange robe, he burns ignorance. And, consequently shows the path to enlightenment.
The orange robe also shows cleanliness. That is to say, the cleanliness that takes away all forms of pollution. As a symbol of purity, the monks who wear the orange robe should be pure in both mind and body. More so, even his speeches should be pure. And, all the worldly defilements should be visibly away from him.
Buddhist monks wear orange because it also signifies peace. It is not corrupt in any way. Most importantly, it shows a divine nature. As a result, for the monks to show the purity of the path to enlightenment which they follow, they wear the orange robe.
Points To Note
It is only monks that wear the orange robe. This means that not everyone can wear the robe. And, it is only those that have chosen the purest kind of life can wear the robe. Moreover, the Theravada Buddhists especially those in Thailand believe that all will one day wear the orange robe. They believe that the last life where all human sufferings end will be in this robe. That is to say, the orange robe will call by default when you understand the true purpose of this life.
Again, the varying shades of orange, red, and yellow robes that the monks wear are not different from each other. They are the same. And, can be grouped together to get a unit symbolism. In other words, they all form the colors of the flame.
This page details the reason why Buddhist monks wear orange robes. And, most of all the various beliefs on the origin of the orange color robes. A lot of people ask questions about why the monks chose the orange color. As a result, we have compiled the most favorable answers to the question.
We must also note that the orange robe can represent different things in different translations. However, there are still existing similarities in all. Learn more on “THE BUDDHIST CLOTHING AND EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW“. All your questions on Buddhist clothing definitely have an answer.