What do you call a Buddhist Monk?

Ah, the Buddhism! This ancient spiritual tradition which evokes serenity, deep meditation and… monks. But do you really know what these devoted monks are called?

Introduction to Buddhist monastic life

Images of monks in orange or brown robes, walking peacefully in nature or meditating in temples, have become iconic in Buddhist culture. But where do they come from and what is their role?

The origins of Buddhist monks

Buddhist monks date back to the time of Buddha himself. After attaining enlightenment, the Buddha formed a community of disciples, called Sanghacomposed mainly of monks and nuns.

Why do you become a Buddhist monk?

The answer is simple: to look for theillumination. Many people choose this path to escape the sufferings of the material world and devote themselves entirely to spiritual practice.

Terminology: The different terms

There are different terms for a Buddhist monk, depending on tradition and region.

Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni

In tradition Theravada, monks are called “Bhikkhu” and nuns “Bhikkhuni”. These terms are of Pali origin and mean “beggar”.


In Tibetan Buddhism, the term “Lama” is commonly used to refer to a spiritual teacher, who is often also a monk.


Another Tibetan term, “Rinpoche”, means “precious”. It is generally reserved for high-ranking spiritual masters.

The role of monks in Buddhist society

Buddhist monks are not simply hermits. They play a crucial role in their community.

Keepers of tradition

Monks are considered the guardians of Buddhist tradition. They preserve the teachings, rituals and practices that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Spiritual teachers

In addition to their role as guardians, monks are also teachers. They guide lay people in their spiritual quest.

How do they choose their disciples?

The choice of disciples is often made on the basis of devotion, sincerity and the ability to follow the teachings.

The daily life of a Buddhist monk

If you thought the life of a monk was easy, think again!

Daily rituals

A monk’s day is punctuated by prayers, meditations and rituals that help them stay focused on their spiritual path.

Duties and restrictions

Monks follow a strict set of rules, called Vinayawhich govern every aspect of their lives, from how they eat to how they interact with others.

Conclusion on the name of a Buddhist Monk

For what is this topic so fascinating?

Because it offers a glimpse into a life dedicated to the spiritual quest. In our fast-paced modern world, it is inspiring to see people choosing a life of simplicity and devotion.


  1. What is the difference between a Lama and a Bhikkhu?
    • A Lama is a spiritual teacher in Tibetan Buddhism, while a Bhikkhu is a monk in the Theravada tradition.
  2. Can Buddhist monks get married?
    • No, Buddhist monks take a vow of celibacy.
  3. How do you become a Buddhist monk?
    • It depends on tradition, but generally it involves ordination and intensive training.
  4. Do Buddhist monks meditate all day?
    • No, although meditation is an essential part of their practice, they also have other duties and activities.
  5. Why do monks wear robes?
    • The dress is a symbol of their renunciation of the material world.

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