Frequently Asked Questions about Clear Light Buddhist Center
Are you open to the public and for people who aren’t Buddhist?
Yes – Everyone is welcome to Clear Light Buddhist Center. No one is excluded, whatever their background or faith. The methods and practices taught here are suitable for every level of interest and experience, from beginner to advanced. Modern Kadampa Buddhism offers practical, powerful tools that can help everyone resolve the stresses and difficulties of modern life.
Is there a class you would recommend for someone who is not familiar with Buddhism?
Yes – We have many introductory level classes that you would enjoy and benefit from. These include Prayers for World Peace, Monday Night Meditation class, Simply Meditate on Wednesday evenings, free monthly Open House and our monthly Saturday Introductory Workshops. Check our website calendar for dates and times. We also offer beginner classes in other locations.
Do I need meditation experience to participate?
No – Many people who come to classes and retreats do not have much (if any) experience of Buddhist meditation. And don’t worry if you have tried meditation before without feeling much success. Almost everyone finds it challenging in the beginning because our minds are naturally very busy. Clear Light Center is a perfect place to gain this inner experience.
Do I have to wear special clothes in the Temple?
No – Please come as you are, the Temple environment is church-like, but generally casual. It is traditional to remove your shoes outside the meditation room and enter in your socks or with bare feet, however if this is uncomfortable or difficult for you, you may leave your shoes on.
Do I have to sit on the floor?
No – We have some floor seating on meditation cushions available in the Temple for those who wish to use them, but the majority of people prefer to sit in our comfortable padded chairs.
Do I have to bow/prostrate?
No – Prostration is a traditional Buddhist practice dating back 2500 years to the time of Buddha Shakyamuni. Attending a prayer service or class at the Temple, you may see someone paying respect to the Buddhas or the teachings by bowing their head, pressing the palms of their hands together at their heart, or kneeling and touching their forehead to the floor. But using our body to show respect through prostrating is not something that is familiar to Western people, and the choice to prostrate or not is entirely up to you.
Do I have to chant the prayers?
No – in some classes we start by chanting a Praise to Buddha called ‘Liberating Prayer’. Other classes and special retreats and all of our chanted prayer services will include chanting from different prayer booklets (Sadhanas), but it is entirely optional and you are welcome to sit and listen if you prefer. We chant the prayers to help prepare for meditation and to create positive energy in our minds.
Can I come to observe for a student project?
Yes – we have many students who visit our Center each year for their school projects on religion. Please attend either the Monday Meditation Class at 7pm or Sunday’s Prayers for World Peace at 10am. After the class the Teacher will be available for any further questions. Unfortunately because we receive so many requests it is not possible to do a one-on-one interview at times outside of these class times.
Can I take photos inside the Center?
Yes – Feel free to take photographs of the Center when prayers and teachings are not underway.
Can I take notes on my laptop during the teachings?
No – We have found that our guests can be disturbed by the sound of typing on a keyboard, so we request that people do not use computers in the Temple during teachings.
Are refreshments available at the Center?
Yes – we provide light refreshments for free at the beginning and end of all our classes in our community room. A small shop also sells additional snacks and drinks.
Are the Center and facilities accessible by wheelchair?
Yes – We have disabled parking and rest facilities. Please call ahead so we can unlock the wheelchair accessible entrance for you.
Do you offer childcare?
No – However, during Prayers for World Peace on Sunday we also hold a children’s class called Meditation for Kids in an alternate room and once a month a class for older Teens. It is recommended for ages 4-10. We do not yet have a program for toddlers.
How many people do you expect?
It varies – Class size varies depending upon season and the class itself. Most often our introductory classes are between 15-40 people.
Can I bring my pet?
No – Unless there is a special circumstance that warrants it, out of consideration for our guests with pet allergies we generally ask that you leave your pets at home.
Can I meet with a teacher?
Yes – After a class, our Resident Teacher, course teacher or another senior student can be available to meet with you. If you are a student please call ahead if you wish to speak to someone from the Center.
Do you offer hearing assistance?
Yes – Please let us know if you might have difficulty hearing the Teacher during a class and we will make hearing assistance equipment available to you.