Classes begin with simple guided breathing meditation or chanted prayers 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. The class concludes with 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 in between classes. 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 (drop-in) 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 be Buddhist to attend a weekly class?
A: No. We try to present Buddha’s teachings in a way that is accessible to everyone, and no religious obligation is required.
Q: Do I need to have experience of meditation or Buddhism to attend a weekly class?
A: No. Everyone is welcome, including beginners.
Q: Are the classes suitable for someone with some experience of meditation?
A: Yes. The teachings are designed 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 come along whenever you can, and start whenever you like.
Q: Do I need to book in advance?
A: For weekly classes it is not necessary to book in advance