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How to Put on a Buddhist Monk Robe

Updated March 23, 2017

The wearing of robes extends from the earliest history of Buddhism and serves as a reminder of each monk's choice to live a monastic life. Buddhist attire for monks typically comprises three layers of garments that are secured using nothing but fabric ties, wrapping and folds. There are two under-layers, a vest and length of cloth worn around the waist, and an outer robe that can be worn in different ways depending on the situation. Indoors the robe is wrapped around the body exposing one shoulder. In cold weather and out of doors it is wrapped around both shoulders.

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  1. Fold your outer robe. Lay your robe down on a flat surface and observe which sides are longer. Take one of the longer sides and fold it inward approximately 8 inches. Pick up the fold and fold it back in the other direction, and then again back the original way, maintaining the 8 inch width. Continue the process until the robe is completely folded. This is an accordion style fold.

  2. Hold the robe up and release one of the folded ends so that approximately 2 feet of cloth is unfolded, while the rest of it remains folded in the accordion fashion explained in step 1.

  3. Place the folded portion of the robe over your left shoulder, making sure the unfolded portion is in the back.

  4. Reach behind and grab the unfolded portion of the robe. Wrap it around yourself to the front, bringing its edge underneath your right armpit so your right shoulder is exposed. Secure the loose end underneath your left armpit with the folded portion of the robe still over your left shoulder.

  5. Wrap your belt around yourself from the back to the front, so you are able to tie the loose ends yourself, and so that it is covering the folded portion of your robe. Tie the belt by bringing one end over the other and up through the belt front.

  6. Spread out one end of the belt, so it is at its widest, and tuck it up over the front of the belt, so that it is not dangling down at your thighs. Accordion-fold it if you need to, to shorten it. Bring the remaining end of the belt over the front and tuck it into the other side over the folded end of the belt.

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Things You'll Need

  • Monk outer robe
  • Monk robe belt
  • Measuring tape (optional)

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