Temple Etiquette Guide

Sometimes attending a traditional Tibetan Buddhist Temple for the first time can be a little intimidating.  Don’t worry!  Here are some guidelines to help you feel comfortable.  These are also excellent reminders for those who attend regularly but also may have questions about dress and conduct.

Appropriate Temple Attire:
Clothing should be comfortable and yet appropriate for a respectful presentation.  Men should wear collared shirts.  Pants should be comfortable, clean and without holes or tears.  Dress jeans are okay.  Women’s attire can be slacks, nice pants, blouses, etc.  It’s okay to wear skirts but remember that if you are sitting on a cushion on the floor you want to be respectful.  Also, shorts and hats should never be worn by anyone in the Temple.

Entering the Temple:
First, when you enter the Temple, remove your shoes and place them on the shelves to your right.  Come into the Temple!  Now is the time for you to do 3 prostrations to the shrine.  If you are unsure how to do prostrations, don’t worry!  The Temple Guide at the door will instruct you.
Once you’ve done these prostrations, find a seat or cushion, help yourself to tea and settle in.

Conduct Towards Rinpoche:
1.    When Rinpoche enters the Temple, you Stand Up.   He will approach his throne and do 3 prostrations and then he will sit.  When he sits, you will then do 3 prostrations facing Rinpoche and then you will sit.
2.    When Rinpoche stands up to leave the Temple, you Stand Up.  You don’t need to stand up when he goes to the rest room.
3.    If you are sitting on a cushion, do not stretch out your legs and feet towards Rinpoche or towards the shrine.  If your legs get tired, please feel free to stand at the side of the room or move to a chair.

Other Good Things to Know:

1.     Do not step over Dharma materials (books, prayer books, etc.)
2.     Do not put Dharma materials on the floor (books, prayer books etc.)
3.     Do not place objects on top of Dharma materials (books, prayer books, etc)
4.     Do not use your finger to point at anyone or anything in the Temple – use an “open hand” instead.
5.    Our Temple is a sacred space occupied by the living Buddha (in Buddhism the Temple is considered the dwelling place of the Guru, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha)!  As such, when we enter the Temple we moderate our behavior to honor this sacredness — we use a gentle voice, we refrain from intimate contact with other attendees (no kissing, etc), we refrain from useless chatter and gossip.  We maintain an exquisite demeanor!

If you are shy or have questions about any of these guidelines, please don’t hesitate to ask the Temple Guide or you can send us an email — [email protected]

Our goal is to provide the community with a beautiful Temple and Shrine that inspires faith and devotion to our teacher, Lhoppön Rinpoche, and to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.  We are here to welcome you and to help you feel at home!