Kurukulla Center


Dharma Etiquette

When coming in contact with the Buddha-Dharma, it is useful to know the basic ways that you can show your respect for the teachings, which are considered precious. Conforming to these modes of behavior does not mean you are Buddhist or agree completely with the values or the validity of the Dharma, but merely expresses respect for it. Thus it is an intelligent way to make your encounter with the Dharma enjoyable and beneficial.

Dharma Books:
Buddhist books, notebooks and other reading material should be kept in a clean place. They should not be sat upon, stepped over or on, or placed directly on the floor. A cloth covering can be wrapped around these books when carrying or storing them and can be spread on the ground when these books are placed down. It will be helpful to place your books as compactly as possible near your seat to allow others to walk by easily. In addition, paper with Dharma notes on it should not be taken into the bathroom or discarded in unclean places. For disposal, they can be burnt or put in special containers available for that purpose.

Listening to Dharma teachings:
It is fine to shift your sitting position during the teachings etc. but be mindful not to point the soles of your feet, - symbolically the lowest and often least clean part of your body, directly towards the teacher, altar or over your Dharma books. To do this is considered careless and disrespectful. While listening to Dharma teachings, one tries to show respect for the teacher and teachings by not wearing hats or shoes and not sitting higher than the teacher. One should also avoid lying down or leaning lazily against the wall. (This will also help prevent you from falling asleep!)

Although many students perform three prostrations before sitting down, this is not strictly necessary. Prostrations work effectively to decrease false pride and make the mind more receptive, but it is not necessary that you adopt this practice. One can also make prostrations by putting the hands together in at the heart on prostration mudra or mentally, by visualizing one is prostrating.

Please feel free to ask any questions whatsoever about what we do at the Center. At first it may seem like there is a lot of complicated ritual, but it doesn't take long to start to become familiar with the basics. Everyone has a story of the first time they went to a Buddhist Center!