Arriving – Please arrive a few minutes early on Monday evening so that you can get settled and be ready for meditation when the sitting begins at 7:30. If you arrive late, please pause outside the door for a moment to cultivate calm, and then enter the room quietly, so as not to distract others. If there is no available space in the circle when arriving after 7:30, please make a place for yourself outside the circle until the transition to the next portion of the practice session.
Observing silence – Monday evenings and Saturday morning retreats are held in silence, except when sharing is invited by the person leading. Please enter the room in silence, even when arriving a few minutes early, to allow others to begin meditating. (If you need to speak to someone, please use a quiet voice. For any but the briefest communications, consider asking the other person to join you outside the room.)
Sitting style – Participants are welcome to sit in a chair, or on the floor using a zabuton (floor pad) and cushion or bench. Cushions, zabutons, and a small number of benches are available for your use. We don’t expect practitioners to remain perfectly still during sitting periods. We do encourage you to bring mindfulness to any adjustments you make while sitting, and to do your best to avoid distracting others when moving.
Use of bells and bowing – A bell signals the transitions between practice periods and the close of our formal practice for the evening. Participants are invited to bow to one another at the end of sitting and walking periods and when we close. You may wish to treat bowing as an opportunity to bring to mind what you would like to honor in the moment, such as the value of the practice just shared, the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, or the potential to awaken in each of us. You are welcome to choose whether or not to participate in this practice.
Donations – We encourage the practice of dāna, or generosity, in the form of monetary contributions or giving of your time to benefit the group. Monetary donations are used for regular contributions to ERUUF, to add to our library, to conduct retreats, and for other related purposes. Contributions are purely voluntary, but offer a valuable way to practice the key Buddhist teaching on generosity or giving. Donations to the group (with the exception of retreat registration fees) are tax deductible.
Ethical conduct – While taking part in activities sponsored by the Eno River Buddhist Community participants are requested to practice in accordance with the Buddha’s ethical trainings, including refraining from taking the life of any living creature, from taking what is not given, from sexual activity, from false speech, and from the use of intoxicants.
Leadership and decision making – Except for teacher-led retreats, all activities of the Eno River Buddhist Community are led by members of the group. Leadership is shared by participants with a commitment to the group, who have developed basic elements of the Buddhist path, and who are interested in cultivating leadership as a form of practice. Decision making and planning is carried out in monthly meetings that are open to all who wish to attend. Decisions are made on a consensus basis. We invite you to consider contributing in this way in consultation with current leaders of the group.
- Please avoid wearing perfume, cologne, or other strongly scented products when coming to the group since some participants are sensitive to these products.
- You are welcome to share knowledge of activities or events that may be of interest to others in the group during the announcement period. Please limit such announcements to a few sentences.
- Many in the group enjoy staying after we close to socialize or share the Dhamma informally. Please feel free to join us during this time if you like.