If you are visiting or attending events at Atisha Centre it can be useful to be familiar with some basic guidelines/etiquette at the centre:
1. Shoes are always left outside the Gompa (Meditation Hall), but may be worn in other parts of the Centre.
2. Appropriate clothing is not too revealing or distracting. Neat casual clothing is acceptable.
3. Avoid directing the soles of the feet towards the teacher, or any sacred object as this is considered disrespectful.
4. Prostrations are not required of everyone. You will see older students making these at the beginning and end of teachings — until you are comfortable with prostration just stand and wait, then sit down when others do. If you wish to learn the way of doing prostrations, older students will be happy to explain it to you.
5. The greatest respect is shown to teachers as representing the Buddha and transmitting the lineage of teachings. Please stand when a teacher enters or leaves and sit down once they are seated. If tea is served to all, wait for the tea blessing and for the teacher to take the first sip before drinking yourself.
6. The Teacher usually gives opportunities for students to ask questions. Please try to express these simply to help the interpreter or wait and discuss the point with other students. Don't engage in cross discussion with other students during the teaching.
7. Other people, both ordained and lay, also teach at Atisha Centre and while less formality is required, generally respectful behaviour should be maintained at these times.
8. Monks and nuns may be addressed as 'Venerable' or by name prefaced by Venerable.
9. Great respect is shown to holy objects, especially Dharma books including the gompa prayer books. To avoid creating negative karma, Dharma material, including your own notebooks, should not be placed on the floor or on any low or dirty place, or under other objects, even Buddha statues. Ideally they should not be placed on a cushion without something such as a cloth book-cover beneath them. Dharma presented in audio-visual formats are similar to books.
10. While visiting Atisha Centre you are asked to abide by the basic five precepts.
Please refrain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying or taking intoxicants.
11. Single lay people staying at the centre should stay in separate accommodation or single gender shared rooms.
May all sentient beings have happiness.
May all sentient beings be free from suffering.