First Time Visitors

Created: Friday, 06 October 2017

Coronavirus update (late 2020-?): Thank you for taking an interest in our orientation page for first time visitors to our beautiful temple. Our temple is closed until further notice due to the Coronavirus. Please watch our news page for updates on when we re-open.

For those who are planning to attend our weekend meetings there are many common questions. Below is a basic guide so you will know what to expect.

Before Arriving: Before you come to the temple there are a few simple rules to follow. First, wear clean clothing that is comfortable, a little stretchy perhaps and not distracting or revealing. Out of respect for our traditions, we ask that all guests wear clothing that covers the skin from the knees to the neck. Short-sleeve shirts are fine. If someone does wear very revealing attire they may be asked to wear a shawl which we will provide. You can read more about why shawls are important by reading our article about it here. Everyone sits silently cross legged on cushions and mats during meditation, so any noisy, tight clothing might not be desired. Sweat pants, long shorts or loose jeans are all suggested. During winter months it is suggested to bring a light sweater or jacket, however if you do feel cold there are blankets that can be provided.

After Arriving: For first timers, please arrive around 8:40 AM so someone can inform you of what to expect that day. Driving to the rear of the building and parking is the first thing you will need to do. The large front door is almost never used and so the back door is where everyone is expected to enter. Once inside the lobby and office area, remove your shoes or slippers and place them to your right on any of the wooden shelves. If you need to use the rest room, there is a mens and womens room in the cove just past the shoe racks. A guide book will be provided to everyone with appropriate chants and teachings.

Speaking: When speaking, try to keep your voice low. If there are people meditating in the Buddha hall towards the front of the building, please do not enter the hall area until you hear the bell ring or chanting by participants. A normal speaking voice is fine before and after the meditation session.

Phones and Tech: Phones and tablets that can distract by ringing and making notification sounds should be put in airplane mode, silenced or shut off before entering the main Buddha hall.

Photos: Photos may be taken but out of respect for others just ask before doing so since some in attendance may not wish to have their faces shown on social media, blogs or elsewhere. Photos of the many statues and objects are completely fine and encouraged.

Meditation:  Meditation consists of sitting silently in 15 minute intervals. A bell is rung in-between sessions and chanting may be done for a short time before silently meditating again. It is not mandatory to chant, listening is also okay. Meditating is a general term that describes many techniques used to explore our minds, build compassion, have better focus, gain insights into teachings and confront the various aspects of our emotions. Loving kindness meditation is a common form of meditation that anyone can do. You can watch a video on how to do this by clicking here.  Cushions and mats are provided as well as chairs for anyone who can't sit comfortably in that position. Download our new guide to familiarize yourself with our chants and more by clicking here. If you do not already have the free PDF software to read these documents please click here to download to your PC or Mac.

Tea Time: After meditation is over we meet in the lobby to sit at the tables to chat. Our practice currently is to listen to the bell (about 3 breaths?) each time, and then drink in silence for just a few minutes. We then discuss the Dharma and chat about the variety of topics inherent to Buddhism and the mind. Phones, tablets and laptops can be used at this time without worry if done in a way that enhances the discussion and doesn't disrupt it. This could be to search for a topic related to what is being talked about for example. Speak in your normal speaking volume and have fun. No question is too silly to ask and it's a great time to get to know everyone.

Cleaning Up: It is encouraged that meditation mats are returned and stacked at the back of the hall, floors swept and everything left cleaner than when we arrived. It is not mandatory but every little bit helps.

Students: For students you can take notes at any time but we suggest you take notes before or after mediating in the Buddha hall.

*If you'd like an even more comprehensive list of etiquette, this page here is more specific to traditional (however it leans towards-Tibetan) ways of composing ones self.