Why the Brown Robe?

When I look at all the statues and pictures of ancient India, I can see that, during Prince Siddhartha’s (later Gauthama Buddha’s) time, men wore a piece of cloth to wrap around their waist, and optionally, a shawl to cover their upper body.

I assume, once the prince understood nature and it’s ways, having already had left his kingdom and his wealth behind, he would have wanted to live a minimalistic life and would have decided to make his own cloths, and the cheapest or easiest was to collect the white pieces of cloth that was used to wrap dead bodies with. I’ve heard that he went to cemeteries to unwrap dead bodies and collect these to make his cloths. I’ve also heard, that he soaked them in Tree Sap. This, I assume, was probably to remove any germs, blood stains, and to also to make it brown in colour so that the stains won’t be visible and wouldn’t get further stained. He would have made a very similar outfit to what was already worn by men of that era. At least that is what is obvious when I look at all the statues and pictures.

Very soon, once he had a following, the followers who fully understood what he figured out about nature, also would have used the same method to make clothes, to minimize the burden on people who were donating things to them.

However, today, over 2500 years later, we go out of the way to find the “right” colour, the “right” fabric, and the “right” robe to offer Buddhist Monks, who ideally should be living a minimalistic lifestyle, and should ideally think about their donors, to minimize their spending. But some Monks today demand that they “Only” wear certain type of “robe” that costs about USD 1500/-. And different categories of “Buddhist Sects” have decided to stick to different shades of brown.

In this day and age, some of us like myself, only spend about USD 10/- for T-Shirts or Shorts. Some even opt to buy second hand cloths from “Op-Shops”. Even, branded clothing for men, would cost no more that USD 500/-, unless one is a millionaire and do not have anything better to do with their money. So where is the minimalism in this so called Buddhist Monk?

On top of it, many Buddhists, who are not Monks, also say that we should be able to bow down to the “Robe”, even if the bearer of the Robe is behaving completely against most of Buddha’s teachings.

I’m sorry, I do NOT get it!! It’s stupid!

Wake up people!

– Nim –

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