What are we doing here/ What’s the point?
* We’re becoming Buddhas.
– Do I have to convert to Buddhism?
* No, just take what you need.
– How do I get started?
* Ask a member about our program
.- Is Buddhism a religion?
* Yes, it’s a humanistic religion; Buddha is not a god, he merely claimed to be Awake.
– Do you worship the Buddha?
* No, but we show respect for his teachings.
– Do you worship the Dalai Lama?
* No, but we appreciate his commitment to peace.
– What’s with the bowing?
* We’re showing respect and gratitude to the Lama, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha – the Four Refuges.
– Is this a personality cult?
* No, but a deep connection with your Teacher is necessary.
– Can I talk to the monk or Lama?
* Absolutely, ask a member for an introduction.
– Is it normal to feel a little nervous in a temple, or around a Lama?
* Sure; new people and places can make us all nervous.
– Can I ask questions?
– Do I need to say the prayers?
* No, you can just follow along.
-How much time does this take?
* That’s up to each individual.
-Can I talk inside the temple?
– Can I wear shoes in the temple?
– Can I get up during talks, leave early or arrive late?
* Yes, quietly please.
– Do I have to sit on the floor? Is it better?
* No, it’s neither necessary nor better.
– Is it okay to take pictures of the temple and thangkas?
– Can I walk up onto the altar?
* Yes, please feel welcome.
– What are all of those paintings and images in the temple?
* They inspire us to cultivate the qualities of the Buddhas.
– How can I help support the temple?
* Honestly? Donations of any size are appreciated.
– Do I have to make a donation?
* No, only as you are able.
– Do I have to come to everything?
* No, pace yourself.
– Do I have to believe in karma or rebirth?
– Do I have to become a vegetarian?
– Do I really need to meditate?
* Even short periods help.
– Is it okay that I find meditation difficult?
* Yes, but time and practice helps.
– Are you against other religions?
* No, we respect any paths that teach peace.
– Am I too messed up to be here?
* It’s why we’re all here.
– Is Tantra really all about sex?
* No; it is about the continuity of awareness.
– What stuff should I buy?
* There’s no need to spend a lot of money.
– What books do I need?
* Please see our suggested reading list.
– Do I need an altar?
* Not to begin with.
– What should I put on my altar?
* A Buddha statue, a sacred text, a candle; flowers if you want.
– What are sentient beings?
* Any beings with feelings.
– Do I really have to be nice to everybody?
* It helps to try!
– If there’s a problem, who do I talk to?
* Lama Jinpa, senior students.
– Can I bring my kids?
* Yes, any time – some services include childcare.
– Can I still watch TV/movies/listen to popular music if I’m a meditator/Buddhist?
* Yes, you don’t have to behave like a monk or nun.
– When do I become a Lama?
* After years of practice, study and special permission.
– How am I ever going to memorize all of this stuff?
* Time and practice.