Peeling Chestnuts
A new monk, posing for an introductory photo shoot! I felt very lucky to witness this.
The “dots” on a bhikkhu’s forehead are actually small, circular burns that are given to the monk when he ordains. The burns are created with small, coiled and waxed wicks. The coils are lit and then placed on the forehead and left until they extinguish. This method is used primarily in the Chinese Buddhist (Mahayana) tradition and it originated as a method to distinguish genuine monks from those pretending to be monks. During times of great famine or poverty in China, some people would pretend to be monks so that they could live and eat in a monastery.