The dress code for a Buddhist meditation is typically simple. There are no strict rules or guidelines, but people usually wear comfortable clothes that cover their body.
In this blog post, I’ll address some of the questions you might have about what to wear for your next Buddhist meditation session.
Buddhist meditation is a form of self-care that can offer an escape from the outside world. The right outfit to wear for Buddhist meditation may not be as important as one would expect, but it does have an impact on your experience and should be taken into consideration.
One important reason for wearing particular types of clothing during a meditation practice is to help cultivate mindfulness in everyday life.
What to Wear to Buddhist Meditation?
Meditation requires no particular clothing. When you are sitting in meditation, wear clothes that will make you feel comfortable and also focused.
Any dress is acceptable; however, traditional Zen Buddhist meditation clothes such as robes, gowns or any other loose fitting clothing could be very useful.
This type of clothing relaxes your body and promotes mental concentration, both of which are necessary for effective meditation.
Zen Buddhist Clothing Items
01. Zen Meditation Robes
Zen robes are very useful when practicing meditation, especially during the apprenticeship stage. The gown is essentially a long, loose piece of clothing.
It is traditionally used for meditation. These robes are also more common than other garments during various religious ceremonies.
In Japan, the kimono is the most formal clothing for meditation. The dress is often seen in religious ceremonies and at festivals.
Besides being worn for meditation, a kimono can also be used as a garment for everyday wear or to sleep in.
A Buddhist monk wears samue, especially when working in the field or on the temple grounds.
In recent years the samue has become very popular with meditation enthusiasts in Western countries.
Kāṣāya is the Buddhist term or Sanskrit word for a monk’s robe. It is similar to its Pali equivalent, kasāva.
Monks and nuns who have been fully ordained wear these robes. Kasaya’s three primary pieces of cloth are the antarvāsa, the uttarāsaṅga, and the saṃghāti together forming the “triple robe,” or ticīvara.
Rakusu are miniaturized versions of kāṣāya worn around the neck like bibs and are probably of Chinese origin.
Generally, as far as I can tell, the rakusu was used in China for a certain period of time and then fell out of use.
Nonetheless, the tradition lives on in Japan, where it is now a traditional garment worn around the necks of Zen monks.
06. Hooded Meditation Cloaks
Hooded meditation cloaks, in contrast to all other meditation clothes, are gaining in popularity. Because it’s useful for many different kinds of meditations.
A hoodie adds beauty to the dress and allows for deep concentration in meditation. It is best to wear a hooded meditation cloak on cold winter mornings for long meditation sessions.
There is not really any specific article of clothing that is indicative of Buddhist meditation attire though many people will opt to wear zen textiles such as zen robes, kimonos or Kāṣāya.
More Tips on Buddhist Meditation Attire
Attending a Buddhist meditation session does not entail any specific clothing requirements, but I can offer you two specific guidelines: a) be comfortable and b) keep it simple.
While comfort is subjective, here are some general tips on dressing for meditation sessions: Wear something loose-fitting so as not to restrict breathing or blood circulation; nothing too heavy like wool or thick cotton.
And try not to wear anything with bright colors because they may distract others from the practice. The second guideline is simplicity. Choose clothing that does not have any distracting patterns such as stripes or large graphics.
It is also important to not make a lot of noise by wearing materials that might rub together. Avoid wearing jewelry as well as restrictive clothes like tight jeans or pants.
Loose fitting cotton apparel is often used because it breathes well.
If you don’t have any clothes that will allow you to sit comfortably on the floor then wear something with stretchy fabric or yoga pants so that your body won’t be restricted during your time of contemplation.
The most important rule is not to wear anything too tight fitting because this may cause discomfort and distract from achieving a deep meditative state.
The top covering your torso can be either a long gown or a button down shirt with sleeves. The skirts should be long enough to cover the knees at all times.
In traditional Buddhist meditation centers, shorts and sleeveless shirts may not be allowed because they reveal too much body.
You want to make sure you are wearing clothes that allow for full range of motion such as yoga pants or sweatpants and an oversized shirt or sweater if needed.
Finally, bring a water bottle with you so that you stay hydrated throughout the session!
The general rule of thumb, and this applies whether or not you’re practicing Zen Buddhism or any other form, is to wear clothing that won’t distract you from your practice.
When people are new to meditation they often think it is about clearing your mind and emptying it of all thoughts, but actually mindfulness includes being aware of what is happening around you.
That means not only thinking about yourself or your own thoughts, but also noticing what is going on in the world around you.
Prior to sitting down for a meditation session, you should remove anything that may distract other people.
Some centers may have t-shirts or polo shirts they sell. I would also recommend checking out your local variety store or department store and considering their selections.
Amazon is also a great place to find meditation clothing:
If you want to know what your particular teacher requires, you should ask them before attending any of the prayers – it can be embarrassing (and too late) if you find out afterwards that people were looking at your scanty attire in disapproval!
All in all, it’s important to dress in a way that is suitable for the meditation session. While there may be various options for attire, it’s best to choose clothes that make you feel peaceful and comfortable.
Remember that the goal is to create an inner sense of calm, so choose wisely.