Never been to a meditation centre or monastery before?
Don’t worry! You’ll feel at home soon.
We know that it can be a little intimidating to visit a monastery or meditation centre for the first time. We will do everything we can to make you feel welcome and comfortable. We hope that this will help you get the most out of your time here. If you have questions about specific activities, check out the detailed descriptions. All of our public events take place off-site. You can always see the exact location on the calendar on our home page.
There’s no dress code, although modest clothing is best for both men and women. On special occasions some people like to wear white clothes. Some people just wear jeans and a hoodie (i.e. bunny hug). This is Canada, after all. All we ask is that you remove your shoes inside.
Can I sit on a chair?
We have lots of different things to sit on. We have cushions, stools and chairs. If you have something you like to sit on, feel free to bring it.
We’re Family friendly
Young people are welcome at all of our events. Parents can decide what will work best for their kids. We do have some special programs for children and youth.
Who are the monks? How do you greet them?
The monks are trained and ordained in the ancient Theravada Buddhist tradition. They wear robes and shave their heads. The only thing you really need to know about interacting with them is that they don’t shake hands or hug. You can greet them with a smile or by placing your palms together in front of your chest. They are available after any of the activities to answer questions about Buddhism or meditation.
Will I be pressured to join or convert?
Not at all. All of our activities are open to anyone free of charge with no need to even register. If you would like to get more involved, there are lots of opportunities.
While you are here, you will see people bowing to the monks and to the Buddha statue. Bowing to people we respect is an ancient Buddhist practice all around the world. Don’t feel any pressure to bow if you are not comfortable doing so.
Our meditation events usually begin with a little bit of chanting that you are welcome to join with or just listen silently. People who are keeping the five precepts will have a chance to take them again.
After that there are instructions followed by guided meditations. Sometimes there will be periods of silent meditation. Shorter events will generally have shorter meditation periods (10-25 min.) and longer events may have longer ones.
You can sit on the floor or on a chair, and you are free to change if you need to.
Expressing our faith
Some of our programs start with a chanting service. English programs will be chanted in English along with the ancient Buddhist language of Pali. We have lots of copies of the service you can read along with. You can also download a copy. It has explanations of everything we recite.
Usually we will begin by offering flowers, candles, and sweet drinks in memory of the Buddha. Then we recite the qualities of the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. We also usually will chant a short ancient scripture.
After that we do a short guided meditation.
We’re looking forward to meeting you!