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Traditional Tibetan Buddhist Etiquette

1. Remove shoes before going into a gompa (shrine room).

2. It is polite to receive a lama, or teacher, by standing with hands pressed together at the heart.

3. After the teacher is seated, it is respectful for practicing Buddhists to prostrate three times. Prostration is a means of expressing respect for the teacher and the teachings. Prostrations also counteract pride. It is also a way to express acceptance that we have work to do, problems to solve, and a long way to go in our inner development. It is not necessarily an act of submission to something external. It is a recognition that the potential for wholeness and perfection lies within us. We prostrate to our own true nature, which we want to awaken through the teaching and our meditation. If done with this understanding, prostration helps put the mind in the right state.

4. It is considered disrespectful to sit with bottom of your feet toward the altar, or the teacher.

5. Do not lean against the walls in the gompa. Be seated comfortably, either on cushions or in chairs. Sit in the teacher's presence respectfully and attentively.

6. Prayer books or any other Dharma materials, such as printed matter or pictures of teachers, deities or religious symbols, should be treated with the greatest respect. Placing such materials directly on the floor or under your chair, or stepping over such items, is very disrespectful.

7. Offerings are not required, but you may make an offering of money, candles, flowers or fruit if you wish.

Dana is the practice of developing the qualities of kindness and generosity.  We develop these qualities because they make fertile ground for liberating wisdom and compassion to grow deep in our hearts.  The practice of dana provides us the opportunity to support teachings that help us to realize that true happiness arises with non-attachment.  Since the time of the Buddha there has bee a tradition that those who offer the teachings are supported by their community.  Here at TSL, we carry on this tradition by supporting our resident teacher and all of our center's operations entirely on the basis of dana.  This also guarantees that the teachings are made available to persons of all economic levels.  We invite you to participate in the practice of dana by donating whatever you feel is appropriate.  If you are interested in donating your time to help with organizational tasks, or if your are interested in becoming a monthly donor, please let us know.