The Cheap Zafu

shelves of zafusIn a much earlier post, I briefly mentioned cheap zafus. I imagine a few websurfers were lured to that article because they were searching for cheap meditation cushions. How they must have been disappointed to find a rant on Buddhist student conferences (or the lack thereof)! So here I am making it up to them (or you).

Sadly, I couldn’t find anyone who knew where to find the best zafu deals. Most of the temples I talked to had received them as donations years ago. Of course if you’re the crafty type, you could always make one (see also here or here). Imagine the satisfaction!

Searching all on my own, I turned to the one friend who I always turn to when I need an answer: Google.

I figured that I probably couldn’t find the absolute best deal. But I could surely find out how much the average zafu costs. The average is something we could all use as a baseline for judging our zafu purchases. A bargain deal could be any price that’s significantly lower than the average. You can use your own idea of what counts as “significant”.

With the search term meditation cushion, I looked at 35 websites (and 40 products) using both Google Search and Google Products.

When websites had more than one zafu choice, I chose the simplest, most traditional zafu, even if it wasn’t the cheapest. All of these websites used either buckwheat or kapok fibers in their cushions, although buckwheat was slightly more popular. I only looked at these types of zafus (i.e. no inflatables). And all the zafu prices came from companies based in the US.

The median price of a zafu was $47.98 (compared to an average of $46.88). When I looked at the range of prices, it wasn’t so straightforward. There are two peaks, one just below $40 and another at just below $50. So it seems that the zafu market is pegging its prices at around $39 and $49 (these are estimate modes). But I’m not sure if there’s a real quality difference between these two price peaks.

The conclusion seems to be that if you’re looking for a cheap zafu, you want to look for prices under $35, and any price under $30 is a steal! As for myself, I was thinking about getting a zafu until I came across this anecdote about Rev Heng Sure. Now I try to just sit on the floor (with daily stretches to improve my flexibility).

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