Sometimes when life in the modern world seems to be too much to bear, I will often resort to saying: “I could really just leave all this behind, move to the countryside, and become a monk.” Despite my merely half-serious candor, people all throughout the world actually make the decision to forgo the trappings of the world we know today, move to monasteries, and devote themselves fully to the teachings of Zen Buddhism. These monks not only part with many of their tangible connections to the outside world but also with basic things, like their clothes, and, eventually, even their hair. Dressed only in matching robes with fabric pouches around their necks, these monks see the uniform not as a hindrance to expressing who they really are as people, as it might initially seem, but quite the opposite: They see it as a route to exploring their true selves. Indeed, by bucking the trappings of clothing choices and hair styles, (“Somebody once told me, ‘You have a party going on in your hair!’” says one monk of her pre-monastic life) they see their uniforms as a way to present who they truly are in its rawest, most unadorned form. Contrary to forgoing their individuality through donning these robes, these interviews make it plain to see that the light of each monk’s unique personality is still on full display despite the fact that each of them is wearing an identical robe. Nothing of who they are has been sacrificed in their choice to become monks, and, in fact, each seems to be more than confident that joining the monastery has brought them closer than ever to being true to who they really are as people. See more in the video above.