What happens at a class?
Classes begin with a simple guided breathing meditation to reduce stress, tension and distractions. This is followed by a talk on how to incorporate meditation and Buddhist principles into daily life. This may include topics such as improving relationships, developing confidence, gaining peace of mind, coping with stress and dealing with anger.
There is guided meditation at the end of the class to help us gain deeper experience of the subject of the class. Longer classes generally conclude with discussion, question and answers, giving you the opportunity to clarify any points.
Having learned some methods for improving our mind, we can then continue to train in these meditations and practices on our own. If we put these methods into practice we will experience our mind gradually becoming more peaceful, our problems diminishing, and our relationships improving.
Although the General Program classes are taught as a series, each class is self-contained, so feel free to attend any one. There are also regular introductory courses and events for beginners. As all General Program classes are based on Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s books, teachers will often reference a particular section of these books. This gives us the opportunity to deepen our familiarity with the topic by engaging in follow-up study.
Q: Do I need to book in advance?
A: For weekly classes it is not necessary to book in advance. Booking is required for our Saturday courses and special events.
Q: Do I need to be Buddhist to attend a weekly class?
A: No. Buddha’s teachings are presented in a way that is accessible to everyone. We have members from all walks of life and religious and non- religious backgrounds. Everyone is welcome.
Q: Do I need to have experience of meditation or Buddhism to attend a weekly class?
A: No. All our general programme classes and half hour classes are designed to be suitable for all levels of practitioners, including beginners.
Q: Are the classes suitable for someone with some experience of meditation?
A: Yes. The teachings are to be simple yet profound, so that every class provides something for everyone.
Q: Will I be asked to say anything, or speak in front of a group of people?
A: No. But you can ask questions if you want to.
Q: Is there any physical exercise involved, such as yoga?
A: No. The courses focus on meditation alone.
Q: What do I need to bring?
A: Nothing in particular. However, some people find it useful to bring a notepad and pen.
Q: How should I dress?
A: There are no special requirements, but comfortable clothing is generally best.
Q: If I want to attend a weekly class, do I need to wait for the next course of classes to begin?
A: No. Each class is self-contained. You can drop in whenever you can, and start whenever you like.