We strive to provide a casual and comfortable atmosphere at Portland Friends of the Dhamma. Knowing a bit about how things run during an event at the center can help things go smoothly.
When attending an event, please consider:
- Noble silence begins as you enter the building.
- Meals are always potluck. Someone will be in the kitchen to receive food offerings.
- In support of the gathering's meditative atmosphere, we strongly discourage arriving after the first bell has rung to begin the day.
- There are a limited number of cushions; you might want to bring your own when there is a guest teacher (as attendance can be quite large).
- Remove shoes as you enter either upstairs or down.
- Keep any valuables with you at all times.
- Leaving early is fine, but please let a lead person know and depart only during a walking meditation or break time.
- When you leave, put away your cushions and remove any items you brought or used in the shrine room.
- There will be someone officiating clean up at the end of the day; offering your support is very much appreciated.
Wear loose fitting, modest clothing that covers the shoulders and knees. Sleeveless or strapless shirts, short pants and skirts are discouraged. Upasikas are encouraged to wear black pants and white shirts when in the presence of a monastic guest.
How Should I Behave Around Monastics?
Most of our visiting teachers are monks and nuns of the Thai Forest tradition. They have a code of dress and discipline that can feel rather alien to our Western customs. This can make people wonder how to interact with them. We encourage everyone to respect this form and its etiquette as both a way of practice and an opportunity to support these merging cultures. Remember that a respectful attitude will be apparent and is more important than knowing any particular etiquette. Of course, knowing some etiquette can make us feel more relaxed and support the overall atmosphere of the center. So when attending an event at PFoD:
- The shrine room is for meditation, please enter quietly.
- When sitting, please do not point your feet at either the shrine or the monastics.
- Do not lie down anywhere in the meditation hall.
- When addressing a monastic it is considered polite to put hands in anjali.
- Don’t hesitate to have practice questions prepared if this helps get your questions answered. There is usually a good amount of time for questions.
For a small and comprehensive booklet about engaging with monastics please see Discipline and Conventions: Standards of Theravada Buddhist Renunciate Communities