First visit to a temple

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
lostitude
Posts: 779
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:02 am

First visit to a temple

Post by lostitude »

Hello,

I am thinking of visiting a theravada buddhist temple in Geneva, it is led by Ven. Tawalama Dhammika, from Sri Lanka. It seems to be quite small as it is set up in a regular house in a residential area.
As this would be my first time going to a temple, is there anything I should know about etiquette?
I mainly hope to know more about meditation techniques as I find it a bit hard to rely on books only. Should I expect to receive free guidance from him? Should I pay him something? I really have no clue.

Thanks in advance.
User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 1027
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

Re: First visit to a temple

Post by seeker242 »

The best way is to contact them and ask them :)
lostitude
Posts: 779
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:02 am

Re: First visit to a temple

Post by lostitude »

I can't imagine calling up a church to ask if the priest charges for personal advice... likewise maybe it's just me but I find it a bit awkward to phone this monk and ask him that. I'd much rather know how it goes according to other people's experiences :)
User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 1027
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

Re: First visit to a temple

Post by seeker242 »

It's hard to say because it depends on the local temple rules. I'm sure they would not mind being called. The temples around here all have websites and have the rules listed on their website.

This is my local temple rules. http://thaitemplemiami.com/en/visitor-info/ But, they may not all be the same at your temple. Although, the prohibition of women touching monks is universal. I'm sure if you called them, they would be happy to explain the temple rules. No one is ever turned away for asking questions. :)
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 17930
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: First visit to a temple

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi lostitude,

Don't worry, the monks will not expect anything and would be happy to talk to you. It would be useful to call and ask what times are appropriate.

Here's a previous discussion that may help, covering some basic etiquette (which does vary a little from place to place):
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=6380

:anjali:
Mi,e
User avatar
Kare
Posts: 766
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:58 am
Location: Norway
Contact:

Re: First visit to a temple

Post by Kare »

Just be your normal polite and friendly self (or non-self).
Mettāya,
Kåre
sattva
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 10:07 pm

Re: First visit to a temple

Post by sattva »

I have never been to a Theravada temple, but I don't believe Theravada monks can handle money and so if you donate money you wouldn't probably give it to him directly. There is a Sri Lanka teacher not too far from where I live and so I looked at his website and thought I would pass their info to you. So, you can get an idea of how some places do dana.

http://bhavanasociety.org/main/page/providing_meals/

http://bhavanasociety.org/main/page/what_is_dana/

Have you looked to see if the place in Geneva has a website?
:anjali:
http://www.chatzy.com/25904628501622
aperrie
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:17 pm

Re: First visit to a temple

Post by aperrie »

I had the same issues when I decided to visit Tisarana Monastery. Here is the link: https://tisarana.ca/paying-a-visit/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
It goes very in depth with how to act and what to do and not to do. It is a well run Monastery and I think if you follow the 8 precepts while there, sort of copy what everyone else does. As for donations when we did was found out what food or supplies the local Monastery needed and brought some with us as Dana. We aren't the wealthiest of family so we couldn't bring that much but anything you could spare they would be greatly appreciated I am sure. Plus you can't go wrong karma wise bringing food for studying monks and in return they will find time to sit down and speak to you about your interest. I have never been able to say a bad thing about anyone I have ever met at the Monastery.

I hope you enjoy your visit, try to visit during a special event or a dharma talk. I've gone for the whole day and helped with chores and felt great about it all. A new sense of energy when you do things to help others.
User avatar
tattoogunman
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:08 pm
Location: Plano, TX

Re: First visit to a temple

Post by tattoogunman »

The problem that I have locally (Dallas/Ft. Worth area) is that all of the actual temples are basically native speakers, i.e. they (the monks/nuns) generally only speak Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. They exist to cater to the local Buddhist population and not so much for the "westerner". Most of them do offer a "westerner" class once a week or so, but they are generally on times that I cannot go. I tried attending an event with my daughter at the local Theravada temple a few months ago and basically felt ignored and alienated - nobody really made any attempt to reach out to me or make me feel welcome (nobody went out of their to make me feel uncomfortable either, don't get me wrong). We were the only white people there and the only person I found that was speaking English was there promoting some off site meditation center that had nothing to do with the temple. I've talked to people in other states that have temples staffed by western converts or monks/nuns that can speak English and they seem to have better experiences. While I do still get updates on their Facebook page inviting me to events/services, it's kind of a waste of time for me if I get there and I have no clue what's going on and nobody there is in a position to help out. I even reached out to their American point of contact who supposedly conducts the "westerner" classes to see if he would be willing to meet with me at another time and basically the guy couldn't be bothered. Not exactly the best way to win over the American public and spread Buddhism around.......
Post Reply