Author Topic: Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism  (Read 3065 times)

Offline B1100

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Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism
« on: May 02, 2013, 04:07:14 pm »
Hello guys,

I have a question regarding Tibetan Buddhism that I am not really familiar with so I decided to open a thread, hopefully more knowledgeable and more experience members can share a little bit about this.
During a ceremony I attended few years ago, Trisarana, Vajrapani and Namgyalma empowerment if I am not mistaken, everyone there was asked to cut a little bit of their fingernail and hair then submitted it to the Rinpoche. After that we all got Dharma name so I assumed it was a Trisarana ritual that involving the fingernail and hair.

I don't see much about the necessary of cutting the nail and hair in most Tibetan Buddhism or Buddhism in general, so what is the meaning of this and does this affect us in certain ways? Any reply from Monks/Rinpoche/lay people would be appreciated, thanks  a lot!

GoGet

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Re: Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2013, 07:16:05 pm »
Tri-sarana is a term for the three refuges - Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.  This could have been a refuge ceremony.  In my experience "hair cutting" is part of Tibetan Refuge ceremonies, being emblematic of the heart of renunciation, cutting those ties that bind us to Samasara.  A Dharma name is often bestowed with the formal taking of Refuge.

Vajrapani is a Dharmapala or "dharma protector" and is one of the three protectors that surround the Buddha.

Namgyalma is a feminine diety asscociated with long life and purification.

I've never heard of the offering of a fingernail. Who was this Rinpoche of yours?  The fingernail thing might be something specific to his lineage.

Hope that helps.

Offline B1100

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Re: Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2013, 01:49:24 am »
Tri-sarana is a term for the three refuges - Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.  This could have been a refuge ceremony.  In my experience "hair cutting" is part of Tibetan Refuge ceremonies, being emblematic of the heart of renunciation, cutting those ties that bind us to Samasara.  A Dharma name is often bestowed with the formal taking of Refuge.

Vajrapani is a Dharmapala or "dharma protector" and is one of the three protectors that surround the Buddha.

Namgyalma is a feminine diety asscociated with long life and purification.

I've never heard of the offering of a fingernail. Who was this Rinpoche of yours?  The fingernail thing might be something specific to his lineage.

Hope that helps.

Thanks for your prompt reply.
We are not queueing offering fingernail but asked to cut it and then someone comes to collect it. Are all Tibetan refuge ceremonies required participants to cut hair and fingernail? Is this merely just a symbol or there is other significant effect? I thought this brings us closer or kind of binding ourselves with our guru, so will never be separated?
Rinpoche is 12th Zurmang Gharwang [zurmangkagyud.org]

GoGet

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Re: Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2013, 06:23:09 am »
Are all Tibetan refuge ceremonies required participants to cut hair and fingernail?

I don't know.  I've attended 3 Refuge ceremonies, one being my own.  Two were in the Kagyu lineage and one was at a Shambhala center.  Hair cutting was offered at all three.

Quote
Is this merely just a symbol or there is other significant effect?

I think that varies from person to person.  For some the moment of hair cutting is a defining moment.  For me it was when, after the vows were taken, the preceptor snapped his fingers. For others it may be merely symbolic.

Quote
I thought this brings us closer or kind of binding ourselves with our guru, so will never be separated?

I've never thought of Refuge as something related to the guru/student relationship.  As far as separation goes , we are never separate from the guru. As the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche taught, the relationship between the student and guru is beyond meeting and parting.

Rinpoche is 12th Zurmang Gharwang [zurmangkagyud.org]

Offline B1100

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Re: Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2013, 05:01:28 pm »


Quote

I don't know.  I've attended 3 Refuge ceremonies, one being my own.  Two were in the Kagyu lineage and one was at a Shambhala center.  Hair cutting was offered at all three.

You mean you are physically offering to your guru or you visualized it? Some told me that the hair and fingernail on the ritual attended few years ago have been burnt on the same day with the fire of wisdom. I'm not sure they were burning something outside but there was also ceremony for the dead at the same day and they took all the deceased name printed on the paper down and burnt them also I guess.


Quote
I think that varies from person to person.  For some the moment of hair cutting is a defining moment.  For me it was when, after the vows were taken, the preceptor snapped his fingers. For others it may be merely symbolic.

What do you mean by vow? It was a refuge ceremony.

Quote
I've never thought of Refuge as something related to the guru/student relationship.  As far as separation goes , we are never separate from the guru. As the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche taught, the relationship between the student and guru is beyond meeting and parting.

So basically the student and the guru will never be separated in this and future lives? For example you will be reborn in their community so to speak and then you will keep taking rebirth there, binded with your guru?

Thanks :)


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Re: Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2013, 06:22:49 pm »


Quote

I don't know.  I've attended 3 Refuge ceremonies, one being my own.  Two were in the Kagyu lineage and one was at a Shambhala center.  Hair cutting was offered at all three.

You mean you are physically offering to your guru or you visualized it?

No.  Like I said, Refuge isn't really connected with the guru.  The act of cutting the kair sybolized the cutting of ties to the samasaric world - the establishment of a heart of renunciation.




Quote
I think that varies from person to person.  For some the moment of hair cutting is a defining moment.  For me it was when, after the vows were taken, the preceptor snapped his fingers. For others it may be merely symbolic.

What do you mean by vow? It was a refuge ceremony.
[/quote]

Yes, and you take vows of refuge on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

I take Refuge in the Buddha.
I take Refuge in the Dharma.
I Take Refuge in the Sangha.


Spoken three times.
The Preceptor snaps his/her fingers.
Hair is cut.

Quote
So basically the student and the guru will never be separated in this and future lives? For example you will be reborn in their community so to speak and then you will keep taking rebirth there, binded with your guru?

Again, you must remember that the student/guru relation is outside normal perceptions of time/space.  Remember what I said about meeting and parting?  You may take rebirth near your guru and you may not.  You may meet your guru in a next life and you may not.  Neither situation removes you from the guru's love for and devotion to you, his student.  You take rebirth based on your karma and not on your relationship to the guru.

Offline B1100

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Re: Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2013, 11:33:28 pm »


Quote

I don't know.  I've attended 3 Refuge ceremonies, one being my own.  Two were in the Kagyu lineage and one was at a Shambhala center.  Hair cutting was offered at all three.

You mean you are physically offering to your guru or you visualized it?

No.  Like I said, Refuge isn't really connected with the guru.  The act of cutting the kair sybolized the cutting of ties to the samasaric world - the establishment of a heart of renunciation.




Quote
I think that varies from person to person.  For some the moment of hair cutting is a defining moment.  For me it was when, after the vows were taken, the preceptor snapped his fingers. For others it may be merely symbolic.

What do you mean by vow? It was a refuge ceremony.

Yes, and you take vows of refuge on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

I take Refuge in the Buddha.
I take Refuge in the Dharma.
I Take Refuge in the Sangha.


Spoken three times.
The Preceptor snaps his/her fingers.
Hair is cut.

Quote
So basically the student and the guru will never be separated in this and future lives? For example you will be reborn in their community so to speak and then you will keep taking rebirth there, binded with your guru?

Again, you must remember that the student/guru relation is outside normal perceptions of time/space.  Remember what I said about meeting and parting?  You may take rebirth near your guru and you may not.  You may meet your guru in a next life and you may not.  Neither situation removes you from the guru's love for and devotion to you, his student.  You take rebirth based on your karma and not on your relationship to the guru.
[/quote]

Ahh I see. I remember someone told me that once you have your hair and fingernail cut during those rituals you never be separated with your guru therefore your next rebirth will be close to your guru that's why you can see many Rinpoche are taking rebirth again and again in their community, pretty much the same location.

GoGet

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Re: Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2013, 06:28:49 am »
Ahh I see. I remember someone told me that once you have your hair and fingernail cut during those rituals you never be separated with your guru therefore your next rebirth will be close to your guru

And what you're recounting isn't necessarily wrong and if that's the sense you get from all this then it's best to go with it.

Just keep this in mind: the student/guru relationship transcends perceptions of time and space.

Quote
that's why you can see many Rinpoche are taking rebirth again and again in their community, pretty much the same location.

Highly realized beings are said to be able to pass through the Bardos and choose to take birth anywhere.  It's also said to driven by what will most benefit beings.  This often means they stay "close to home" so to speak, but they can also manifest half a world away, or even in a Pure Land.

Offline B1100

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Re: Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 04:21:18 am »
Ahh I see. I remember someone told me that once you have your hair and fingernail cut during those rituals you never be separated with your guru therefore your next rebirth will be close to your guru

And what you're recounting isn't necessarily wrong and if that's the sense you get from all this then it's best to go with it.

Just keep this in mind: the student/guru relationship transcends perceptions of time and space.

Quote
that's why you can see many Rinpoche are taking rebirth again and again in their community, pretty much the same location.

Highly realized beings are said to be able to pass through the Bardos and choose to take birth anywhere.  It's also said to driven by what will most benefit beings.  This often means they stay "close to home" so to speak, but they can also manifest half a world away, or even in a Pure Land.

But what if someone told you that by the power of prayer and offering a bit of your self may help become one of the 'realized being', does that make any sense? Maybe it sounds silly but of course we are not trying to prove it scientifically. It is undeniable that 'magic' sometimes involved? How do we supposed to view them from the perspective of ritual or spiritual or supra mundane point of view, can we say that those rituals involving body parts are contributing to our next rebirth? 

Rinpoches are welcome to reply, thanks.

Offline Hanzze

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Re: Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2013, 04:42:36 am »
Hello guys,

I have a question regarding Tibetan Buddhism that I am not really familiar with so I decided to open a thread, hopefully more knowledgeable and more experience members can share a little bit about this.
During a ceremony I attended few years ago, Trisarana, Vajrapani and Namgyalma empowerment if I am not mistaken, everyone there was asked to cut a little bit of their fingernail and hair then submitted it to the Rinpoche. After that we all got Dharma name so I assumed it was a Trisarana ritual that involving the fingernail and hair.

I don't see much about the necessary of cutting the nail and hair in most Tibetan Buddhism or Buddhism in general, so what is the meaning of this and does this affect us in certain ways? Any reply from Monks/Rinpoche/lay people would be appreciated, thanks  a lot!

This might come from the traditional giving of objects for meditation (Kammatthana - the place to work) when a layman goes into the homeless live. He would cut nail and hair and the teacher would give it back to the new novice as his first object for meditation (on the body).
If it is usually to scarify such to the teacher, it is nothing but misuse, folk ritual and has no meaning at all in the sense of Dhamma.

Offline B1100

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Re: Fingernail and hair in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2013, 01:54:10 am »
Hello guys,

I have a question regarding Tibetan Buddhism that I am not really familiar with so I decided to open a thread, hopefully more knowledgeable and more experience members can share a little bit about this.
During a ceremony I attended few years ago, Trisarana, Vajrapani and Namgyalma empowerment if I am not mistaken, everyone there was asked to cut a little bit of their fingernail and hair then submitted it to the Rinpoche. After that we all got Dharma name so I assumed it was a Trisarana ritual that involving the fingernail and hair.

I don't see much about the necessary of cutting the nail and hair in most Tibetan Buddhism or Buddhism in general, so what is the meaning of this and does this affect us in certain ways? Any reply from Monks/Rinpoche/lay people would be appreciated, thanks  a lot!

This might come from the traditional giving of objects for meditation (Kammatthana - the place to work) when a layman goes into the homeless live. He would cut nail and hair and the teacher would give it back to the new novice as his first object for meditation (on the body).
If it is usually to scarify such to the teacher, it is nothing but misuse, folk ritual and has no meaning at all in the sense of Dhamma.

Thanks Hanzze.
Fingernail and hair cut is NoT for medication objects. It is part of ceremony to become a follower of Buddha, to become a Buddhist.
And the fingernail and hair is not given back to the owner.
Anyone is Rinpoche's disciple and want to share or maybe have knowledge about this not just a generic answer such as clearing obstacles. Many thanks!

 


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