We know that it can be a little intimidating to visit a meditation center or monastery for the first time. However, we do everything we can to make you feel welcome and comfortable. We hope that your visit will be beneficial, and if you have questions about specific activities, check out the detailed descriptions for each class and never hesitate to ask questions.
People from all walks of life (e.g., both young and old, religious and nonreligious) attend classes at the monastery. For some people, coming to the Monastery means learning how to meditate, but for others, it means learning more about Buddhist methods and philosophy. Our programs meet both these wishes, and attending classes do not require any pre-booking. During teaching and meditation sessions, we sit on cushions, but if this is uncomfortable, you may sit in a chair. After the class, participants are welcome to stay and socialize. There is no physical exercise, yoga, or stretching involved in any of our classes.
Generally, all classes following this simple process: (1) opening prayers, (2) teaching/mediation, (3) Q & A, (4) closing prayers and dedication. All classes are suitable for any individual regardless of their level of experience or interest (i.e., from those who seek stress relief to those who wish to gain liberation and achieve supreme Buddhahood). And everyone is welcome regardless of their beliefs; therefore, you do not need to be a Buddhist to attend.
What to Wear?
There is no need for any special attire; casual and comfortable, but appropriate, dress is the norm. You may sit in a chair or on a cushion, and wearing loose-fitting clothing might make your feel more comfortable. You will be required to remove your shoes; therefore, if you are wearing socks, wear a pair that would make your mom proud! Please avoid wearing strong perfumes, and please refer to our information on proper conduct and etiquette.
What to Bring?
Many people like to bring a notebook and pen to take notes. Sometimes, visitors bring offering for the altar (e.g., flowers, fruit, or other items they wish to offer), but this is completely voluntary. Many Lama, however, have said that the best thing you can bring to the Monastery is what they call a “Beginner’s Mind.” In part, it not only suggests that it’s really OK to be a beginner but it also implies that there is something very valuable in being a beginner. It’s said that, “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind, few.” “Beginner’s mind is everything.”