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

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

  • 5
    blur the face! god, no one cares about privacy anymore.
    – user13107
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 3:08
  • 1
    I like his shoes.
    – Geeo
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 7:04

3 Answers 3


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.

  • 2
    I find it interesting that the guy with "no worldly possessions" is wearing Nike's. Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 19:08
  • 8
    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
    Commented Mar 17, 2014 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
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 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.

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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!

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