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Dharma Etiquette

Manners in the Shrine Room

As a place intended for hearing teachings on the true nature of mind, as well as a place for quiet meditation, we ask that the shrine room be kept peaceful at all times. Please try to keep the voice level at a minimum and try to speak slowly and carefully when addressing the teachers.

  1. Please remove your shoes before entering the shrine room.
  2. Prior to a teaching it is customary to stand and bow, holding your hands in prayer until the teacher is seated.
  3. It is also common to prostrate before the teacher once he is seated; however, this is not a requirement, especially if there is not enough space.
  4. It is considered impolite to point your legs and feet directly towards the teacher or altar, or to lie down during the teachings.

Caring for Dharma Books

Dharma books contain the teachings of the Buddha and have the power to protect against lower rebirth and point to the way of liberation. They should therefore be treated with the utmost respect. At all times, Dharma materials should be kept off the floor and places where people sit, and not stepped over. They should be covered or protected for transporting and kept in a high, clean place, separate from more mundane materials. Licking one's fingers to turn pages is considered to generate negative karmas. If it is necessary to dispose of written Dharma materials, they should be burned rather than thrown in the trash. When burning Dharma texts it is advised that you first recite a prayer or mantra, such as OM AH HUM. Then, visualize the letters of the text being burned absorbing into the AH, and the AH absorbing into you, transmitting their wisdom into your mindstream. After that, and as you continue to recite OM AH HUM, you can burn the texts.