Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I saw a number of people with gray robes and shaved heads while I was in Seoul recently that looked like this:

enter image description here

Is this a religious thing? They had Republic of Korea passports, for what that's worth.

share|improve this question
4  
blur the face! god, no one cares about privacy anymore. –  user13107 Mar 18 at 3:08
1  
I like his shoes. –  Geeo Mar 18 at 7:04

3 Answers 3

up vote 17 down vote accepted

They are almost certainly Buddhist monks - the shaved head and gray clothes (apparently called "gasa") are a mark of their ascetic style of living.

The gray robes worn by a monastic declare that one is a practitioner, and represent the spirit of no belongings, letting go of all worldly desires.

share|improve this answer
1  
I find it interesting that the guy with "no worldly possessions" is wearing Nike's. –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Mar 17 at 19:08
7  
There's an element of ha-ha there, but in seriousness the monks have things because someone else provides them. In the strictest Buddhist belief the monks are supposed to rely exclusively on the generosity of others for food, lodging, everything. So if the shoes someone gives you are Nikes - because those are the ones they're giving away because they no longer wear them - those are the shoes they wear. –  Don Mar 17 at 21:59
    
A lot of them also had smart phones, too, and on the plane I was on one of them was in first class. –  neubert Mar 18 at 12:37

He is Buddist. Buddists in Korea wear grey and red robes, despite of the most asian countries where the popular color is yellow and orange.

enter image description here

enter image description here

share|improve this answer

He's a buddhist monk. If he speaks english, say hello and offer to buy him his dinner (don't worry, its not demeaning, buddhist monks live on the kindness of strangers by vow) and you'll get a fascinating conversation, and maybe even a bit of enlightenment!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.