chapter  XIII
The Monastic Influence
Pages 7

For example, although the cutting of the hair is clearly magical, it may have been regarded as a symbol of the tonsure common to all Buddhist monks, and if so the scissors would be invested with a like significance. In Burma the monk usually shaves his head completely, but even there we find men who are content with a close crop such as can be obtained by the use of scissors. Moreover, the novice must first have his locks cut with a pair of scissors before the razor can be applied. In China the custom varies, but not all monks are close shaved, and so to the Buddhist members of the Order the scissors and the hair cutting ceremony may well have been intended as a reminder of the sacrifice of hair made by the monks. Were this incident to stand alone, how­ ever, we should hesitate to regard it as very significant, since the magical object of hair cutting is unquestionable, but there are other features in the ceremony which support the view that a distinct similitude to the preparation of a novice is intended.