Buddhism, veganic gardening, compassion, and the vegan life calls all to deepen our relationships with Mother Earth and each other. Live sustainably, authentically, and lightly on the Earth. Manifest compassion for all sentient beings. The world is an altar. Worship in love.
To Wear Jewelry or Not?
is an irrelevant question to most, but for Buddhist laypersons, it has some
importance. Is it correct for Buddhist laypersons to wear embellishments like
jewelry, including jewelry that features Buddhist symbols?
is something that has always nagged at me. But let’s first clarify that I’m not
an ordained monk: as a monk, I would not wear jewelry, or makeup, or any
clothing but my robes.
of jewelry and makeup has dwindled a lot since becoming a Buddhist. My ears
were pierced when I was 16 years old, but I rarely wear earrings now. I wear my
engagement ring and wedding band all the time. Most days, that’s all the
jewelry I bother with. My fingernails and short and plain, but my toenails are
always manicured and polished. I have no tattoos.
over the years, I’ve collected a few pendants (images of Avalokiteshvara and
the Buddha), and I wear them when I feel like it. But it never feels completely
right to do so.
year, I met a Buddhist laywoman and teacher who wears an insane amount of
jewelry, makeup, and other embellishments every day. Her nails are long and
manicured - usually painted blue - her hair is long and dramatically styled, and
she is not shy with makeup. Her clothing is colorful and bold. By any
standard, she embellishes her body to the extreme.
met her, it struck me that the time that she invested in adorning her body so
abundantly would be much better spent meditating and doing good deeds. A part
of me stuck with that conviction. The other part of me condemned the first part
for being judgmental and mean. And in the end, I couldn’t decide which part was
feel that both parts had something important to say. There are Buddhists who
wear rags because they know the body is nothing, and nothing to be bothered
with; there are other Buddhists who wear rags (and jewelry with Buddhist
emblems) because they are prideful and want to give others the impression that
they are holy. There are Buddhists who adorn themselves as this woman does
because they are clinging to worldly embellishment and not giving themselves
over to their practice; there are other Buddhists who may just be expressing
their colorful, vivid natures through embellishment.
There’s a wide spectrum of opinions on this. I try
to follow the example of ordained monks as much as possible, even though I am
not ordained and have no intention at this time of being ordained. But it does
seem to me that the less time we spend coveting our bodies and our bodies’
appearance, the better off we are as Buddhists – the more mental and physical
energy we can give to our practice, the more we can help the poor and
suffering, and the clearer our path to enlightenment. With that being said, I do wear my simple jewelry from time to time.