Today, Annie and I visited Preah Khan Temple to examine a lintel that depicts the Buddha-to-be cutting off his hair as a sign of his repudiation of his caste privilege and of his decision to enter the path of religious mendicants, in a tale that continues from The Great Departure.
Miraculously, his hair never grew back after this.
Figure 1. The Cutting of the Hair, Preah Khan Temple, Angkor, Cambodia. At Preah Khan Temple there is a fine relief of this scene on the west-facing lintel of the south-western corner of enclosure II. Below Siddhartha cutting his hair we see his squire Chandaka and horse Kanthaka, standing on a marvelous kala.
Figure 2. The Cutting of the Hair, Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor, Cambodia. From last week’s visit to Ta Prohm Temple, we see the scene depicted in the large medallions of the eastern gopura of enclosure II. To the right of Siddhartha cutting his hair we see his squire Chandaka.
In his new life as an itinerant monk, Siddhartha assumed the name of Gautama and studied the methods practised by ascetics and yogini. He went to live on the bank of the Nairanjana River, where five mendicants who were practising austerities accepted him as their leader.
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