First Time Visitors (English-Speaking Service)
For those who are planning to attend our English-speaking services, there are many common questions. Below is a basic guide so you will know what to expect.
Service Times: Our English-speaking service meets each:
Sunday morning (9 a.m. for chanting and meditation, followed by Dharma class at 10:15 a.m., concluding at 11:30 a.m.) and
Wednesday evening (6 p.m. for chanting and meditation, followed by Dharma class at 7:15 p.m., concluding at 8 p.m.).
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 temple's traditions, we ask that all guests wear clothing that covers the skin from the knees to the neck. Short-sleeve shirts are fine. You may also see our members wearing grey or brown temple robes; you can read more about why robes are important by reading our article about it here.
After Arriving: For first timers, please arrive around 8:45 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, they are located in the cove just past the shoe racks. A service book will be provided to everyone with appropriate chants and teachings. In the Buddha hall, you can sit on a floor cushion, a chair from the teaching hall, or a padded pew along the wall, according to what best meets your needs.
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.
Click the PDF icon to the left to read our old guide and chants. Right click to save and print.
Click the PDF icon to the left to read our new 2023 guide and chants. Right click to save and print.
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 with our guide (see above PDF). If you do not already have the free PDF software to read these documents please click here to download to your PC or Mac.
Dharma Class and Tea Time: After meditation is over we meet in the lobby to sit at the tables for Dharma class. 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.
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 meditating in the Buddha hall.