Wearing Zen meditation robes allow practitioners to be more comfortable and feel a stronger sense of commitment to the Zen traditions during their meditation sessions.
Practitioners of Zen meditation know how to allow their minds to relax and remain calm as they experience living only in the present moment. They know how to feel the connection that exists between their mind, soul and body.
Generally, Zen meditation is practiced in a sitting position. The act of sitting allows the mind to begin to slow down and quiet itself. One of the most popular positions of this seated form of meditation is the full lotus position. Other positions include:
- Half lotus
- Sitting in a chair with the feet flat on the floor
The Importance of Wearing Meditation Robes
For many practitioners of Zen meditation, wearing their special robes reinforces their strong commitment to their beliefs as they reflect on their personal vows and strong connection to the three jewels:
- The Buddhist teachings known as Dharma
- The teacher known as Buddha
- The spiritual community known as Sangha
Meditation robes also provide a much higher degree of physical comfort than regular clothing when meditating. Regular clothing often becomes uncomfortable and feels tight and binding when sitting in meditation positions.
Since the meditation robe is the outer physical reflection of the Zen practitioner's inner being, many choose to wear a kimono or jubon underneath. The underclothes help to protect the meditation robe from perspiration and body oils while keeping the wearer warmer in cold weather.
Types of Meditation Robes
Meditation robes are made in several different styles, colors and fabrics for lay people, as well as, monks.
The following are pictures of basic meditation robe styles:
- Lay meditation robe featuring two pieces, a kimono and a hakama with collar
- Traditional soto style monk's robe
- Open style lay robe
- Slip on style lay robe
- Kimono style lay robe
- Monk's robe
Colors of Meditation Robes
The basic colors of meditation robes for a lay person are black or brown. Many companies custom make the robes in other color choices including:
- Light gray
Although monastic meditation robes can also be brown or black, there are also other popular colors including:
Meditation Robe Fabrics
Most Zen practitioners prefer meditation robes made from natural fabrics, such as cotton or silk. For some people, the use of natural fabrics also demonstrates a symbolic connection to the earth. Other popular fabric choices include:
- A blend of cotton and polyester
- Linen blends
- Silk noil
- Silk chiffon
- Polyester georgette
Generally, the robes are made from a lightweight fabric that is about the same weight as a man's heavy dress shirt. When the weather turns cold, layers of clothing are added underneath the robe such as a kimono and jubon.
There are some companies, such as Four Gates, that do offer summer weight meditation robes. These robes are often up to 25 percent lighter in weight than regular meditation robes.
Where to Find Zen Meditation Robes Online
Although meditation robes are usually available at meditation centers and retreats, not everyone has easy access to those locations. The robes are also available from many online retailers.
Custom Made Meditation Robes
Custom made meditation robes are available from the following retailers:
- Still Sitting Meditation Supply offers meditation robes, cushions
- In addition to robes, Four Gates carries a wide selection of:
- Meditation supplies
- Meditation benches
- Meditation bells
- Japanese teas sets
- Great Patience Zen Stitchery
Zen meditation robes enhance the meditation experience by making the practitioner feel more connected to the ancient traditions.