How on Earth do you pick the perfect gift for a Buddhist?
Most Buddhists are non-materialistic, prefer to give rather than receive, and do not approve of wanting anything–so they are not likely to tell you what to buy them.
What do Buddhists want, anyway?
Chocolates are probably a no-no on account of empty calories. Flowers are better left in the ground. And there simply aren’t that many vegan restaurants around. So how are you supposed to find the right gift for your Buddhist friends?
You could get them a beautiful Buddha statue.
But what if they’ve already got one?
Listen, you kind and generous person, I’m about to help you pick the perfect gift for a Buddhist.
Whether you’re looking for anniversary gifts, Birthday gifts, or any other type of gift, we’ve got you sorted.
Best Buddhist gifts (priced high to low)
In this list I’ve included all different kinds of presents.
There are romantic presents, practical presents, spiritually significant items and much more.
I’ve priced them from super-pricey to free (yup, free).
They will love any of these gifts.
1: Trip To A Buddhist Resort PRICE: $1,500 [Extravagant gift]
Okay, we’re looking at the very high-end presents here. But if you have the money to splurge and you really, really, really want them to be mega happy, you cannot go wrong booking a vacation to a Buddhist resort or a meditation resort.
Personally this is about $1000 out of my price range, but if you’re rich and kind, well, why not go nuts?
Just imagine how wonderful it would be to stay for a week in a Buddhist resort.
Or, take them on a vacation to India, the home of Buddhism.
2: A gift for their garden ($25 to $500) [Thoughtful gift]
In my guide to DIY Zen Gardens I discussed how Buddhists simply love these indoor (or outdoor) Japanese rock gardens.
Buddhists love nature, and are generally avid gardeners. So on their birthday, why not go horticultural.
One of the best gifts you can get for a Buddhist is an item for their garden.
And there are tons of great Buddhist gardening products.
Even better idea: help the create a Zen garden.
My guide to creating a Zen garden (see the link above) shows you everything you need to know. Why not get some gardening items and spend time creating a garden together.
Creating a Zen garden isn’t as hard as it sounds. You’ll need the basic tools and items, including pebbles and a bonsai tree, but you can easily get the job done with $100 and about three hours of work.
Or get them a Bonsai Tree (pictured), which costs around $25.
(note: this might not be the ideal Christmas gift due to weather, but is perfect the rest of the year)
3: Tibetan Singing Bowl (varies)
Tibetan Singing Bowls are Buddhist instruments that we meditate on.
These make fantastic gifts for Buddhists. They look absolutely beautiful. They are fun if you just want to play with them. But they are also powerful tools for healing.
Tibetan Singing Bowls vary massively in price (around $20 to $1000).
I’ve written a guide to buying a Tibetan Singing Bowl to help you choose.
4: A new meditation chair (varies) [Practical gift]
Are they the type of person that spends hours every week meditating? Then they will definitely appreciate a meditation chair.
Here’s a pro-tip: The vast majority of meditators do not have a proper meditation chair. And it is a big deal.
A proper meditation chair prevents injuries, improves meditation, and looks great as home decor.
Remember, meditation is probably a very important pastime for your Buddhist friends. So a new meditation chair is a great gift for birthdays… all actually, occasions.
Take a look at my guide to picking a meditation chair. I’ll help you choose the prefect one.
5: Mala approximately $100 (available from $5 to $1000) [Spiritually significant gift]
A mala is a piece of Buddhist jewelry that is used when meditating. You can view our choices of the best malas here.
The mala is used for counting breaths and mantra recitations during meditation. It is one of the most important items in any Buddhist’s collection.
This is a very important gift and even though they can be purchased quite cheaply, they should be given serious consideration because the material the mala is made of holds significance (again, see the link above for more info).
To give you an idea of how important a mala is, I ordered my first mala about 15 years ago. I wore it for over a decade. It finally broke. Today, I have all the piece of that mala lovingly stords in a locket. And honestly, it is probably the most sacred piece of jewelry I have ever owned.
Please, if you get a mala choose wisely. Consider the symbolism of the material and the design (the link above explains all this and more).
6: Lotus Flower Necklace Price: $90 [Meaningful /romantic gift]
Buddhists will recognise the Lotus flower from the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, which is a meaningful Buddhist saying with a deep meaning.
Lotus flowers hold very important spiritual significance to Buddhists.
The lotus flower is a symbol of divine beauty and purity and is one of the Ashtamangala (auspicious sign) in Buddhism. It represents creation and cosmic renewal. It is also symbolic of the Dharmachakra, the wheel which represents Buddha’s teachings.
There is symbolism in the lotus flower. It grows in the mud buts it’s flowers always point to the sun. Therefore, it represents the strong mind, which endures hardship while remaining positive.
Why not get a lotus flower necklace and explain that you choose it for its symbolism (they will love you for this).
7: Spiritual Protection Bracelet ( $22.99) [Caring gift]
If you’re looking for a spiritual gift for your partner, tell them that they are so precious to you that you want to know that they will be protected always, even when you’re not around.
Then hand them this Spiritual Protection Bracelet.
Tell them it will protect them when you’re not there.
This is one of the most sensitive and caring gifts you can give.
8: Buddhist Wall Art ($50) [Home-Lovers gift]
Most Buddhists I have met absolutely love art. Art can be very meaningful to a Buddhist. That’s why it makes a great gift.
There are lots of Buddhist art vendors online and a ton selling art on Amazon and eBay.
The best strategy when buying art for a Buddhist is to consider symbolism. What do you want to express? How can you express it through art?
How to choose the right art for a Buddhist
When it comes to picking the right wall art (or other art) for a Buddhist, consider the symbolism.
Here’s a quick guide to the most important symbols used in Buddhist art, so you know what to get:
Buddha touching the Earth: Art that shows Buddha touching the earth represents Buddha attaining enlightenment. This would be a good choice for a Buddhist who is passionate about developing their spiritual life.
Lotus flower: As mentioned above, art of a lotus flower represents creation and renewal, so this is a good choice for someone going through a spiritual rebirth.
The wheel: Buddhist Art that shows a wheel (the “dharmachakra”) represents the Noble Eightfold Path. This is about right-living. Good for someone who believes in following “the path”.
Zen circle: Perhaps the most popular Buddhist symbol is the Zen circle. This symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void)
Also consider the colour of the art.
Colours have specific meaning in Buddhism.
Green: Peace and protection
Yellow: Wealth and beauty
Red: Love and compassion
Black: Death, specifically the death of ignorance, which leads to enlightenment.
The safe bet is to get art that has either Buddha or Zen stones on it (all Buddhists will love both).
9:Buddhist music ($15) [Cute little gift]
Take a look at this collection of the best meditation music.
Buddhists and spiritualists have a slightly different relationship to music than most people. They use music as a way to enter nirvana.
A beautiful piece of music will help a Buddhist to find their inner peace. Instead of just listening, they will meditate to the music. And for that, only the most beautiful music will do.
If you are looking for a little birthday gift, this is perfect.
Take a look at the link above for some great music they will love.
10: DVDs And Books (varies) [Educational gift]
You can find lots of great gift ideas in this selection of DVDs and books.
When buying a DVD or book for a Buddhist, you’re not looking for Bourne or The Hunger Games. You’re looking for a divine viewing / reading experience that delves into philosophy.
There are an infinity of books available. I would personally choose Awakening The Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das (it’s the book that got me started). But there are so many beautiful choices. Take a look at the link above for my top picks.
DVDs are also in plentiful supply. I personally recommend Kundun by Martin Scorsese.
Kundun is actually available on Youtube for free, but it still makes for a fantastic Buddhist gift.
11: Lotus Flower Incense Burner PRICE: $16.99 [Relaxing gift]
This pretty little incense burner is carved into the shape of a lotus flower (see above). It comes with incense sticks and holds candles.
Burning incense is a Buddhist tradition, and there are many different uses of incense–the most popular Buddhist incense are ones that calm the mind.
At just $15 this is a beautiful, inexpensive little gift. It is very highly rated too, with 4.5 stars from over 100 reviews.
12: Our books [Educational gift]
What does a Buddha want more than anything? They want to connect to Buddha. That’s why I’ve created the ultimate guide to finding Buddha within you. It’s called Journey To The Buddha Within You. Take a look.
13: Take A Zen Walk With Them (Free gift)
I’m joking, aren’t I?
Honestly, I wish I had more people who were willing to go to my favorite spots with me to walk.
Specifically, I wish there were more people who would go for a Zen walk with me. And if they did, I would consider it a most precious gift. On their birthday morning go for a nice long Zen walk with them and they will truly appreciate it.
But what is a Zen walk exactly?
Take a look at this guide to Zen walking.
Finally: Anything to do with meditation
The vast majority of new meditators in the East are mostly interested in the meditation part of Buddhism.
Meditation is immensely popular, and there are a lot of fantastic presents for meditators.
Take a look at my picks of the top 9 meditation tools. All make great gifts for Buddhists.
A Buddhist gift must meet these criteria
Ultimately, you can buy a Buddhist any gift you like. But make sure it meets these criteria:
- Environmentally friendly
- Meaningful / Symbolic
- Represents you as an individual
- Represents your relationship to the person
- Is genuinely bought in love (they will know, trust me, and if you buy a gift in genuine love it will mean the absolute world to them)
I hope they absolutely love the gift you get them.