Since you may have the wonderful karma to be new to Buddhism or meditation before attending the Celebration, here are some common questions we’ve heard from those coming to the center for the first time. If you still have a question after reading the FAQs below, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do I have to be a Buddhist to attend?

No. Anyone can learn basic meditation and experience the benefits. Buddhism is a non-evangelical religion. Buddhists respect all people and are happy to help anyone regardless of whether they subscribe to another faith, or to none. No previous meditation experience is required!

Is there any physical exercise involved?

No. There is no physical activity or movement involved in the Celebration sessions.

What do I need to bring?

It is customary to bring an offering for the empowerment and for Wishfulfilling Jewel (vegetarian and nonalcoholic). Offerings will also be available for purchase in the KMC Madison shop. You’re encouraged to bring your own copy of the prayer booklets being used (you can find that list here). You’re welcome to bring a notebook and writing tool for taking notes. There is no need to bring a meditation cushion or mat, as we provide chairs.

Is there a dress code?

Dress is casual so you can wear whatever you like.

Are there any special rules to be aware of?

We are very informal and accepting; however, there are some courtesies that it is thoughtful to observe:

    • Please practice compassion by not using strongly scented personal care products or perfumes.
    • Remove hats and shoes before entering the meditation room.
    • Turn off cell phones, pagers, and other noise-making devices.
    • Avoid placing Dharma books or prayer guides (sadhanas) on the floor.
    • Please stand when the Teacher enters the room.
What is an empowerment?

An empowerment is a blissful guided meditation in which we receive the special blessings of a particular enlightened deity, in this case Buddha Vajrasattva, upon our body, speech and mind. This powerful experience gives us a brief glimpse of the inner freedom and universal love experienced by an enlightened mind, and ripens our potential to attain that state ourself.

What is meditation?

Meditation is a special method for familiarizing our mind with positivity, or virtue. The more familiar our mind is with positivity, the calmer and more peaceful it becomes. When our mind is peaceful, we are free from stress and mental discomfort, and we experience true happiness.

If we train our mind to become peaceful we will be happy all the time, even in the most difficult conditions. But if our mind is not peaceful, even if we have the best external conditions we will not be happy. For example, if we are out having a great time with friends, and then we get upset about something, all peace and happiness automatically disappears. Therefore it is vital to train our mind through meditation.

For more information on meditation see The New Meditation Handbook.