Shaolin Monk Robes

This picture shows a Shaolin monk.

The robe hangs on the right shoulder,

and runs down to his left hip.

The robe covers up the right arm and the right side of the chest,

while leaving the left arm and chest exposed.

A previous post discussed the Toga, an example of which is shown in this picture.

A Toga runs from under the right side of the arm,

up and over to the left side of the body,

where it hangs on the left shoulder.

A Toga leaves the covers the left chest and left arm,

while leaving the right arm exposed.

A different previous post focused on the robes of a Buddhist Monk.

The Buddhist robes, like the Toga, run from under the right arm,

up and over to the left side of the body,

where it hangs on the left shoulder.

Also like the Toga, the Buddhist robes cover the left chest, 

while leaving the right chest and arm exposed.

Both of those previous posts claimed both the Toga and the Buddhist Robes were designed the way they were to mimic sensations that could be felt within human bodies that have been changed in a particular way.

That is also the reason why the Shaolin Monk Robes were designed the way they were. To mimic sensations the Shaolin Monks felt within the body as the result of training in Shaolin Kung Fu.

It seems reasonable to describe Shaolin Monks as aggressive because of their practice of Kung Fu, which is the Chinese name for hand to hand combat.

Buddhist Monks could be described as passive because Buddhism is associated with peacefulness. A Toga, while harder to pin down what it represents, could be associated with peaceful intellectual pursuits.

It is therefore intriguing to wonder if the reason the Toga and the Buddhist Robe leave the right shoulder exposed,

is because the bodily sensations the Toga and the Buddhist Robe are meant to mimic are the result of a peaceful mental attitude, and the reason Shaolin Monk Robes leave the left shoulder exposed,

is because the bodily sensations the Shaolin Monk Robe is meant to mimic are the result of a more aggressive, hand to hand combat oriented mental attitude.


  1. the Shaolin wear their ceremonial robes with the left arm exposed in homage to the first disciple of Shaolin who cut off his left arm to prove his devotion to his path and be deemed worthy of studying under the the Indian monk Bodhi Damo, who brought the practice of martial arts to the Songshan temple in the 5th century. With no left arm there is no need for a left sleeve. The information is all readily available, please do research before posting your theories, the Shaolin are first and fore most Buddhist monks, they are pacifists, their practice of Gong Fu is strictly for health and for the defense of themselves, their monastery and the sanctity of life, they are not violent and not aggressive. It is very unfortunate that they are portrayed that way in the west.

    1. You are welcome to believe historical fantasy if you wish.

      I prefer to believe in reality. What I say is true and can be proven.

      Try proving your claim. Try proving something that supposedly happened centuries ago.

      1. I recommend that you do some research about Gung Fu and it’s origins. Also you might want to check your facts on the robes and how different forms Buddhism wears their robes.
        p.s. Shaolin Gung Fu is a form of meditation and meditation is what Buddhist Monks do.

  2. Shaolin Kung Fu ( Gong Fu ) means “Hard work or Hard Exercise” it isn’t a sport or exercise. It is a investment for health of body and mind. Kung Fu like some classes of Kung Fu schools ar just fighting.

    At Shaolin tempel it is a Meditation , David your right. And the warrior monks are there just to protect the tempel and al living being. The just use Kung Fu to skill up themselfe.

  3. Have you ever meditated for 10 hours a day continuously for 90 days? It is really fuckng hard work, but the ego starts to fade and the real you opens to realize if just for a moment the truth is infinite the the details are a distraction.

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