What does a Buddhist bhiksu denote? Why is a man leaving home also called he-shang?


Bhiksu in Sanskrit denotes a man leaving home, a monk. Bhiksu is a

plant that is soft, adaptable, and fragrant—virtuous characteristics of a

monk. Hence the name. A bhiskuni is a female Buddhist practitioner

leaving home.

He-shang is Chinese transliteration for a Buddhist practitioner who

initiates the bodhi mind and leaves home to join the sangha.

The Buddha on enlightenment undertook to preach to the five bhiksus.

Hence the establishment of the Three Jewels—the Buddha, the Dharma,

and the sangha. More than a few stipulations took form thereafter. With

everybody leaving home and living together, the Buddha took faith in

harmony with no strife: mutual support in adversity, care for each

other in sickness, pursuit of resolution together over all issues, and,

in absence of conflict, upholding of the six points of reverent harmony.

Hence, again, a he-shang, meaning bhiksu or monk, he for harmony

and shang for revered.