Starting at 7:30 p.m. Open to anyone of interest in deepening your study of Theravada Buddhism (Dharma) for an hour or so--over coffee or tea. We will meet in the basement. Our study will be whatever the group finds of mutual beneficial interest or we can follow a progressive itinerary. I will lead this class, plus we can also expect Monks to drop in on occasion to offer insights, and teachings as well. From basic concepts of Buddhism 101, to the history, fundamentals and precepts. We want to hear your ideas, what you want and plan to offer a more "in-depth" comprehensive look at our basic practice techniques, to facing challenges, exploring the Suttas and such. Really, there is so much great wisdom that Buddhism affords us on our path of liberation and enlightenment to discover. From reciting and discussion of ancient texts to possibly watching a great teacher on a youtube video. At some point we will be inviting out of town speakers too. All in a relaxed friendly open atmosphere. In warm weather we can sit outdoors and chat under a shade tree in the evenings breeze.
Then afterwards, beginning at 9:00 we'll be "sitting in" while many Monks chant in unison for 1/2 hour, then as soon as they finish chanting, we'll be joining them in a meditation session for another 1/2 hour immediately following. The Monks always sit up on the elevated shrine area, we sit below them on the lower floor. Feel free to bring a cushion, you can relax, move around a little, and get comfortable while the Monks chant--even lie down on your back, maybe do some yoga if you like, or sit meditation and merely enjoy the "vibes" during this time. Please assume a meditative position once chanting has concluded. This is ancient traditional practice in all of Asia--for evening get togethers between the Monks and the lay community as the day winds down toward sunset. Often there are longtime Sangha members present. It is the Monks highlight of the day. It is recommended that you have been to at least one meetup in the past. So you have an idea of what goes on around here. Adults only please.
Your welcome to come early for the Dharma study session or come later at a little before 9:00 for the chant and meditation, but it's recommended to do both, your call. I wouldn't recommend strong fragrances or wearing fancy dress clothes, or work clothes either. Cleanliness and comfort are paramount, like going to any church social gathering. Shoes are to be removed once entering the building. Please silence your cell phones also. There is always bottled water around if your thirsty.
In Buddhists culture, the tradition is that anyone can earn merit by a simple gift of some flowers, a plant, or a small offering of fruit, or bottled water. Donations of cash is also accepted (place in a white envelope) but it is not necessary and no disgrace to just come as you are, even empty handed. Place your offering at the feet of any Monk after entering while making a bowing gesture. Don't forget to kowtow 3 times too.
If uncomfortable, the doors are always open just as wide to go out, as they were to come in. Once the bell rings to conclude practice at 9:00, you needn't worry about jumping up and leaving right away, you may continue your practice for a few minutes or simply stretch or say hello, chat with your neighbor or a Monk. If any questions arise afterwards, we will allow an extra fifteen minutes after meditation is over for open discussion. Then bid them farewell, as the Monks have their own routines. So we need to respect their space and quiet time. (not carry on and on, when it's time for us to go)
There's plenty of parking, we're willing to escort anyone to your vehicles. Please RSVP, you may bring a spouse and up to 2 high school age children or a guest--but only if you are there as an escort. Do not interrupt the chanting or meditation practice sessions if you are late, come back another day. There is such a thing as proper Temple etiquette. Thank you!