View Full Version : Shaolin Uniforms

03-24-2001, 07:54 PM
What's the significance of the Shaolin uniforms? Such as the colors like I've seen Light Blue, Orange, and Yellow. Also what's with the black ties around the foots and also I was wondering what do the nine dots on the forehead mean?

03-25-2001, 12:38 AM
Sometimes the uniforms denote the school, sometimes the rank.

As for the dots, they are known as 'eyes' and are signs of rank or spiritual achievement, or something along those lines.

Guns don't kill people, I kill people

03-26-2001, 06:24 PM
There is a long tradition about robes in Buddhism. Buddha's original robe was the shroud off a corpse. Originally, it was "found cloth," part of the renunciation. In some traditional sects, a priest must sew his or her own robe from donated materials as a meditation when they enter the order.

Shaolin robes, like most any sect of Buddhism, has its own interpretation on robes. With today's the tremendous influence of lay disiples on Shaolin, the colors really just denote fashion preference for the most part. It's ironic, not unlike the what happend to karate gis; The original intention was to have them all white to remove ego, but now they come in all colors to express ego. Inside the temple, things are different, but outside, people can were whatever they want.

Technically, the wearing of orange can signify the vow of chastity, but most disciples, even ones who have not taken that vow, wears orange in Shaolin village becuase its expected. Blue and grey are more common for disciples and nuns, but full monks wear it too (see Shi Guolin on our Aug 2000 cover.) When I took my vows in the temple, I wore grey (and I generally wear grey if I ever don a robe.) My disciple brother wore orange and was told "jokingly" that he had to be chaste fro then on. They let it go.

The burns are called jie ban and made with an incense stick. They symbolize a vow or vows taken by a monk and were banned during the cultural revolution. However, some monks have them anyway. Shi Guolin, in light of the ban, secretly made them on his arm. Shi Wanheng has them on his head, but they might have been from before the CR.

The leg ties are called bang tui. They provide external compression on the calf, not unlike good knee boots or an ace wrap. It's a great aid if you do a lot of stance training or jumping.

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KungfuMagazine.com (http://www.KungfuMagazine.com)

03-27-2001, 05:07 AM
geneching, that was really interesting. Thanks.

Guns don't kill people, I kill people

03-31-2001, 09:04 PM
is that why in some old school monk pictures I see them with spots on their heads? Are those spots the burns?


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