What to expect
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 benefit from meditation?
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.
Do I need to have experience in meditation or Buddhism to attend the classes?
No. All you need is the wish to improve yourself and the quality of your life.
Do I need to sit on the floor?
No. You are more than welcome to sit on a meditation cushion on the floor, but if you would prefer to sit on a chair have no fear, we have plenty of them!
Is there any physical exercise involved?
No. There is no physical activity or movement involved in our classes.
What do I need to bring to class?
If you wish to take notes, please bring a pen and notepad.
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 personal care or laundry products with fragrances when attending classes or other events at the Center.
- 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 relevance does Buddhism have for our current day lives?
Although Buddhism first appeared in India over two and a half thousand years ago, it has a timeless and universal relevance. The basic premise underlying the teachings is that our problems arise from confused and negative states of mind. Buddha taught methods for developing positive, peaceful states of mind and removing negative ones. Through this process we are able to cultivate greater inner happiness and fulfillment.
Do Buddhists worship Buddha?
Buddha is a generic word that means ‘Awakened One’. There have been countless Buddhas in the past and countless people will become Buddhas in the future. Buddhists regard all Buddhas as perfect guides and role models, and as such naturally develop faith in them and rely upon them as Spiritual Guides. By relying upon enlightened, holy beings, spiritual practitioners are able to receive blessings – powerful transformative energy – that greatly accelerates the process of mental development. For this reason, Buddhists try through meditation and prayer to communicate with enlightened beings and receive their transforming blessings.
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.