What is meditation?
By cultivating virtuous – or positive – minds – such as love, patience, compassion and wisdom – in meditation, we naturally begin to develop a light, happy mind that experiences worries, mental discomfort and anxiety less and less. Eventually, we will be able to stay happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.
Right now we spend most of our time trying to create an ideal external situation, and thus we spend a great deal of energy trying to control what is happening around us. This often leaves us feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled. Meditation encourages us to look inwards as the best way to create an ideal life. Why is this?
By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium, a balanced mind that is happy all the time, rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates between the extremes of excitement and despondency. With this type of inner strength, no situation can fluster us. We may even welcome difficult situations as challenges or opportunities for growth.
The definition of meditation is a mind that is single-pointedly focused on a virtuous object and whose function is to make the mind peaceful and calm.
A good starting point
Buddhist teachings include meditation instruction for everyone. For beginners, there are many teachings on simple meditations focused on the breath that show us how simple it is for us to control our mind in daily life.
Those interested can take their meditation practice further and begin to train in cultivating virtuous, or positive states of mind and decreasing delusions, or negative states of mind. Through systematically training in meditation in this way, we will eventually come to experience permanent inner peace, known as “liberation” or nirvana.” Then, day and night in life after life, we will experience only peace and happiness.
When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still, a deep happiness and contentment naturally arise from within.
Each class begins with guided breathing meditation, to help settle the mind, let go of distractions and cultivate inner peace. The Teacher then gives a practical teaching which focuses on how we can integrate Buddha’s timeless wisdom into our busy daily lives. The class finishes with a concluding meditation to help us take the teaching to heart. Afterwards, there is a chance to talk to the teacher and other students informally.
The classes teach specific Buddhist methods for developing inner peace and solving our human problems. Although these teachings are Buddhist in nature, they are completely accessible to everybody regardless of background or belief, and there is no need to be a Buddhist to experience the wonderful benefits of meditation.
Although there is generally a natural progression from one class to the next, each class is self-contained. Even if a series has started, please feel very welcome to drop in and check us out. Drop-ins and walk-in registration are always welcome.
If you have any more questions about classes, please visit the FAQs below to see if any questions may be answered there. Also, please feel very welcome to contact us at [email protected] or (608) 661-3211.
Do I have to be a Buddhist to benefit from meditation?
Buddhists respect all people and are happy to help anyone regardless of whether they subscribe to another faith or to none.
What relevance does Buddhism have to the US now and to my life?
Who do Buddhists worship, and why?
Is the NKT part of Tibetan Buddhism?
I'm a beginner, will I feel lost?
Most of our weekly classes are designed for beginners, so you will not feel lost. Check our calendar for a full list of beginner friendly classes, courses, and events.
What do I need to bring to class?
How should I dress for class?
Is there a fee for classes and events?
The cost is is $10 for most General Program classes ($5 for 30-Minute Meditations) and varies for our weekend classes. You can also become a General Program member for $55 per month, which gives you unlimited classes and helps support the Center. As a nonprofit organization, fees for classes are our only source of income.
Do I have to wait for the next series of classes to begin?
No, please feel free to drop in whenever you like. Attending the entire series of classes is highly beneficial, as each class builds on the next. However, each class is taught in such a way that if you only attend one class, you will derive benefit from it.
Do you have any classes for children and families?
Yes! However, our kids’ class is currently on hiatus due to the pandemic. When we are back to our regular programming a special kids’ class, Meditation for Kids, takes place at the same time as our Sunday morning classes. This class is for children ages 4-12. Parents are welcome to stay for class with their children or attend the simultaneous Sunday morning class.
About Our Center
Do you have regular open hours?
Why do you charge for most classes? I thought Buddhists didn't believe in profiting from Dharma.
KMC Madison is a 501(c)(3) organization, so no one at our Center (such as the class teacher or Center managers) ever personally profits from class fees. However, like any organization, we have expenses, including rent and utilities. The most fair way to cover these costs is to ask everyone who comes to the classes to pitch in. Our class fees cover only about half of our monthly operating expenses; the rest comes from monthly memberships and donations, which are an important part of providing a predictable income.
Unlike some Buddhist organizations, we do not receive any outside funds from any organization, governmental or private. We also do not receive funds from our umbrella organization, the New Kadampa Tradition. We rely solely upon the generosity of local students. Our newly renovated center was made possible through the donation from the estate of a kind benefactor.
Are you a stand-alone Buddhist Center or part of a larger network?
Our Center is a member of the New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union, with 1,400 Kadampa Centers and branches in 46 countries around the world where people can study and practice the teachings of Buddha.
I've never been to a Buddhist Center before. What should I expect?
When entering the meditation room, it is traditional to take off shoes and hats, leave all drinks outside and turn off cell phones. Also, when the teacher enters, we normally stand out of respect for Buddha’s teachings.