Why do Thai monks wear orange robes?
I once asked my master about the meaning of the orange color that we Thai Buddhist monks wear because this has become the most frequently asked question that I’ve got from traveling to 70 countries. I feel that his answer is pretty cool and unique so I’d like to share with you here.
Orange is the color dawned by Theravada Buddhist monks especially in Thailand, because the orange robe is the symbol of the flame that radiates light. It’s also the color of the sun that shines infinitely, although far away, can easily be seen similarly to seeing a light shining from within the depth of darkness. It also represents a sphere of light that sets the darkness ablaze searing away all ignorance, illuminating day and night.
The color is also a symbol of cleanliness that diminishes defilements, clearing it away from our mind. It is also the symbol of purity like the pure gold found in nature. The wearer must be pure in body, speech, and mind to eliminate defilements from the world and life.
Lastly, it’s a symbol of peace, untouched by evil, as well as the symbol of divinity. A mind that is not righteous cannot stay in the orange robe. Therefore the color orange is the symbol of Light, Cleanliness, Purity, Peace, and Divinity.
This robe is not a robe that anyone can wear. It is only for certain people, because it is the purest life one can live. For Thai Buddhists, it is the final uniform for all people.
In the end all must dawn this robe. Though it may not be now, the last life will end in this robe. When you’re gleaming in innocence and purity, you will be drawn to these things, and this color will call for you. And one day you will not believe what you will become. But for now, let’s begin the journey with meditation. Meditation is a good starting point for you. The wearers of these orange robes, do what not everyone can do. This color has been dawned for over 2600 years. So, it’s an important color in the world.