Frequently Asked Questions About Classes
What happens at a class?
All our classes are formatted in basically the same way. Class begins with a short introduction, sometimes a brief prayer, then a guided relaxation meditation. The guided meditation is typically no shorter than 10 minutes and no longer than 20 minutes.
After the meditation, the teacher will give practical advice on the topic for the evening. For example, a class series on overcoming anger might have topics surrounding the faults of anger, the benefits of patience, and how to increase patience. At the end of the teaching, there’s usually time for Q&A or discussion. The class ends with a brief second meditation to help students integrate what they’ve learned and form a plan for daily life. Most classes are 1.25 to 1.5 hours.
At the Center and at some of our branches, there’s time to hang out afterwards and chat with the teacher and other students over snacks and tea.
What happens at a Workshop or Retreat
Workshops are offered on Saturday mornings once or twice a month. They run from 10am to 12:30pm and include two sessions of teaching and guided meditation, with a short break for snacks and discussion. They cover a variety of beginner and more in-depth topics.
Retreats are offered for either a full day or weekend. They involve more in-depth training in meditation. According to the Kadampa tradition, during the month of January there are many more in depth retreats offered.
What class is right for me?
We offer classes for all levels of interest and experience.
Complete beginners will probably enjoy:
- Sundays at 11am
- Wednesdays at 7pm
Students who have an interest in studying Buddha’s teachings in a systematic, structured way may prefer our Foundation Program classes. These in-depth study classes provide commentary to all the essential teachings of Mahayana Buddhism.
Do I need to register in advance?
Our weekly, on-going classes are offered on a drop-in basis and no pre-registration is required. You do not have to attend all the classes in a series or start with the first one; all of our weekly classes are specifically designed to be self-contained.
We ask that people register in advance for our special events. In some cases, we need to know how many people to expect in order to prepare certain aspects of the course, such as snacks! You can register and pay for special events in advance online, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us at (617) 237-0511.
I’m a beginner. Will I feel lost?
Most of our weekly classes are designed for beginners, so you will not feel lost. The classes are taught in a way that they can strike cord for those new to meditation and Buddha's teachings and for those who have been practicing for some time. Everyone is welcome. There is also time for Q&A with the teacher after the class.
I’m not a Buddhist. Can I attend?
Yes! Everyone is welcome at Kadampa Meditation Center Boston regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof.
Do I need to bring anything?
No, you do not need to bring anything. We provide meditation cushions for those who sit on the floor. Most people sit on chairs. Some people like to take notes at our classes, so you may wish to bring a notebook and a pen.
Do I need to wear anything special?
No, you do not need to wear anything special. Feel free to come however you are comfortable. We do ask that people please remove their shoes when they enter the meditation room.
I can’t sit on the floor. Will that be a problem?
No. We have plenty of chairs for everyone. In fact, most people prefer sitting in a chair to sitting on the floor, so you will be in good company!
Is there a fee for classes and events?
The fee for our on-going, drop-in classes is $12. This helps us cover the lease and other operating costs. The Saturday morning workshops are $25. If you ever have a problem paying for a class please email us at email@example.com. We want to make sure that everyone can attend, and still pay our bills!
One way to save money on our classes is to become a monthly member. Monthly members attend as many weekly drop-in classes as they want for free in any and all of our locations.
Why do you charge for most classes? I thought Buddhists didn’t believe in profiting from Dharma.
Kadampa Meditation Center Boston is a 501(c)(3) organization, so no one at our center (such as the class teacher or center managers) ever personally profits from class fees. However, like any organization, we have expenses, including rent, utilities, branch class costs, and the support of our Resident Teacher. The most fair way to cover these costs is to ask everyone who comes to the classes to pitch in. Our class fees cover only about half of our monthly operating expenses; the rest comes from students who are happy to donate a little extra.
Unlike some Buddhist organizations, we do not receive any outside funds from any organization, governmental or private. We rely solely upon the generosity of our local students.
If you would like to support the Center financially, please click here to become a monthly member or to make a donation. Your contribution will help benefit many others experience inner peace and happiness!
If I am running late, can I still come to class?
That’s fine. Just slip in quietly and please remember to turn off your cell phone. We welcome you!
Do you have any classes for children and families?
Our kids class is on break at this time. But we hope to resume soon! If you are interested please email our Education Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
What ages of children are suitable for the kids’ classes?
Kids of many ages are welcome to attend our children’s class. Our current group ranges from about age 4 to age 10. Parents are requested to stay with children at the center as we spend quality time with parents while the kids are working on art projects.
Can I bring my child with me to class?
This is up to your discretion. Please remember that other adults in the class will be meditating and trying to listen. Out of consideration for others, if you think your child cannot sit quietly for the duration of the class, it might be a better idea to leave him or her at home.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Center
Do you have regular open hours?
No, not at the moment. Currently, we are open for our daily prayers and meditations as well as our classes. If you would like to drop in without attending these events, we would suggest coming a few minutes early or a few minutes after the event is scheduled to end. Otherwise, just give us a call at (617) 237-0511 and we will be happy to schedule a time for you to drop by and look around.
Who runs the center?
Kadampa Meditation Center Boston is a volunteer run organization. The day-to-day running of the center is coordinated by our Education Program Coordinator, Joe Kovaz, and our Administrative Director, Victoria Dickinson. They meet weekly with our Resident Teacher, Gen Khedrub, to maintain and develop the spiritual program that is offered.
Lots of people help out in different ways. Some people come in early for classes or events to help set up. Some people help behind the scenes, managing the website, doing the book keeping, or coming in to make daily offerings at the Center. If you would like to help out you can reach to Joe at email@example.com or to Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you a stand-alone Buddhist Center or part of a larger network?
We are a member center of the New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union with 1200 Kadampa Centers and branches in 40 countries around the world where people can study and practice the teachings of Buddha.
I’ve never been to a Buddhist Center before. What should I expect?
Our Center is a very mainstream organization, and we know that once you get here, you’ll feel very comfortable.
At our classes, we ask people to stand when the class teacher enters or leaves the room out of respect for the teachings and the teacher. We also ask for people to remove their shoes when entering any of our meditation rooms.
Other than that, there’s nothing special you need to know... Just enjoy!
What’s a good book for beginners?
The three most popular books for beginners are:
How to Solve Our Human Problems - short teachings on the Four Noble Truths and extensive teachings on patience
Modern Buddhism - a concise explanation of the essence both Buddha's Sutra and Tantra teachings
These books are available for purchase at the Center, and the digital versions of How to Transform Your Life and Modern Buddhism are available for free at the links above.
For more info about books and readings, please check out Tharpa Publications.