What to expect in a class?
We meditate sitting on chairs to ensure that everyone is comfortable. There is no physical exercise involved. The rooms are modern, well lit and quiet. After welcoming everyone, the meditation teacher generally introduces the subject of the evening, and then guides a simple relaxation meditation. This usually involves focusing on the breath and letting all your worries and troubles slip away for a while. Then the meditation teacher will give a short talk on a Buddhist topic which is of practical benefit to our daily life. Following this, the teacher will lead another guided meditation, this time focusing on the meaning of the talk. After this, many times there is an opportunity for a break and a short informal discussion. After the class there is often the opportunity to talk with the teacher, the assistant and other students directly.
People from all walks of life attend the classes – young and old, religious and non-religious. Some simply want to learn how to meditate, others want to find out more about Buddhism – the classes cater to both. Meditation classes are evening based and no pre-booking is required.
What to Wear?
There is no need for any special attire. You may sit in a chair or on a cushion, so just wear what is comfortable to sit it.
What to Bring?
Many people like to bring a notebook to take notes, but nothing else is required for the class.
The meditation classes we offer are suitable for all individuals whatever their level of interest, from those who seek simple relaxation and stress relief, to those who wish to learn about Modern Buddhism. Everyone is welcome regardless of belief; you do not need to be a Buddhist to attend.
A typical class consists of a simple relaxation meditation, teaching, discussion, and a final meditation. The meditations are guided and are suitable for beginners and experienced practitioners alike. Each class is self-contained, so feel free to start at any time. Everyone is welcome to attend, just drop in!
Most classes last an hour to an hour and a half. To ensure that everyone is comfortable you may sit in a chair, or on a cushion; these are available at the Center. There is no physical exercise, yoga, or stretching involved.
After the class everyone is welcome to stay for socializing and enjoy refreshments.
Attending the class
Our general program classes and free meditation classes are designed for you to drop in to any class. While they are arranged around a topic, each class is self-contained. You can attend the whole series of classes, or simply drop in to whichever ones you can.
Q: I’m new and curious about meditation. Which class should I go to first?
If you are interested in learning how to meditate, we offer Noontime Meditations at 12:00pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. These are simply guided meditations where you can enjoy simple breathing meditation to relax the body and mind.
Thursday night general program class is a wonderful opportunity to learn about Buddhist teachings and practice. The range of topics includes Buddhist view, understanding the mind, improving relationships, letting go of anger, understanding karma, and more.
Q: How long are classes?
Q: I’m a parent with children. Is there something for us?
Yes! During Prayers for World Peace, there is a special kids class held simultaneously called Dharma for Kids. This class is for children ages 4-10. Parents are welcome to stay for class with their children. We are also working on developing our family and kids’ programming. Please let us know if you have any suggestions or would like to help by contacting us.
Q: I’ve never been to a Buddhist center before. What should I expect?
Classes at the Center are very accessible. Teachings and prayers are all in English. You do not need to bring any mats or wear any special clothing. Comfortable chairs are used for seating.
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.
Q: I’ve been coming to classes for a while. I really like what I hear. Is there something more I can try?
For those students who want to deepen their experience of Buddhism, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso designed the Foundation Program. The Foundation Program (FP) immerses us in Buddhist teachings by studying systematically one of five texts on the FP curriculum.