What type of clothes do Buddhist wear?

What type of clothes do Buddhist wear?

30 Sec Answer: Buddhist Monks wear a traditional robe known as a Sanghati. Lay Buddhists often follow the local customs when it comes to what they wear.


The way we dress has become an integral part of our lives and for those practicing Buddhism, their clothing choices reflect their spiritual journey. In this article, we will explore the different types of clothes worn by Buddhist Monks and lay people who practice Buddhism.

What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is an ancient religion founded in India in the 5th century BCE by Siddhartha Gautama. It teaches that suffering can be overcome through inner transformation and understanding one’s true nature. This path leads to nirvana – a state of perfect peace and joy.

Traditional Clothing Worn by Buddhist Monks

Buddhist Monks are expected to wear robes in accordance with Vinaya rules, which are guidelines set out in early Buddhist texts such as the Pali Canon. These rules include wearing simple, modest clothing made from patched together scraps of cloth or animal hide, depending on where the monk resides. The most common type of garment worn by monks is the Sanghati, a robe traditionally worn over one shoulder and covering both arms.

The Significance of Color and Material for Buddhist Robes

The color and material used for a monk’s robes have deep religious symbolism within Buddhism. Colors typically range from saffron to ochre and can also represent rank or status within the order, while materials like cotton or wool symbolize purity and compassion. Additionally, many monks choose to sew specific mantras into their garments as further expressions of devotion.

Accessories Used By Buddhist Monks

Along with their robes, monks often wear other accessories to express devotion to the faith. A notable example is the kasaya – a sash-like shawl usually worn over one shoulder with two tassels at each end that signify renunciation of worldly life. Other accessories commonly worn include beads or malas (necklaces with 108 beads), wrist mala bracelets, hand malas (wooden sticks used for counting mantras), zagu (beaded headbands), and prayer flags that are hung from poles or bridges.

Clothing Worn By Lay Buddhists

While monks are required to wear certain garments due to their religious vows, there is no formal dress code for lay Buddhists who practice outside of monastic settings. Instead, laypeople generally follow whatever is customary in their area – be it modern Western attire or traditional cultural clothing like sarongs or tunics. As long as they remain modestly dressed according to local standards, they can express their spiritual beliefs through subtle details such as bright colors or patterns inspired by religious iconography.

Footwear For Buddhists

Footwear is an important part of any outfit and some Buddhist traditions prescribe shoes only when necessary – e.g., outdoors during colder weather – otherwise sandals may be preferred since they allow contact with the earth which signifies grounding oneself in reality instead of illusionary desires. As far as style goes, many Buddhist communities opt for flat soled sandals made from leather or fabric that allow easy movement without compromising modesty requirements.

Common Head Coverings Worn By Buddhists

Depending on location, some Buddhist practitioners cover their heads either out of respect or tradition – especially women who often use scarves as symbols of humility and piety. In Tibet for example, priests may wear fur hats with ear flaps called boktu while monastics might don a pointed hat known as chuba-long if engaging in higher practices such as meditation or mantra recitation .


From monks wearing traditional Sanghatis to laypeople following local customs when it comes to fashion, dressing is deeply embedded into Buddhism’s cultural identity regardless of whether it is done simply out of practicality or deeper religious meaning behind every choice made. Ultimately though, clothing should never be seen as mandatory but rather an outward expression of one’s commitment to cultivating mindfulness and peace within themselves so they can better help others along their own paths towards enlightenment.

Samantha Greenfield

Samantha Greenfield was born and raised in a small town in the rural countryside of Washington state. From a young age, she was drawn to the natural world and spent much of her time exploring the forests and fields around her home. As she grew older, she became increasingly interested in the intersection of nature, spirituality, and personal growth, and began to study Buddhism and mindfulness in depth. After completing her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, Samantha decided to pursue a career in nature conservation and spent several years working with various non-profit organizations and government agencies on conservation projects around the world. Along the way, she discovered a passion for writing and began to document her adventures and insights in a series of personal blogs and articles. In recent years, Samantha has turned her focus to sharing her knowledge and experiences with a wider audience and has become a popular speaker and workshop leader on topics related to Buddhism, mindfulness, and personal growth. She is currently working on a book about the intersection of nature, spirituality, and mindfulness, and continues to be an active advocate for environmental conservation and sustainability.

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