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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does it cost money to attend?
    No. There is no fee to participate. However, we are a self-sustaining Sangha and all donations are gratefully accepted. Our Sangha is always in need of volunteers to assist with setting up before our meeting (setting up the altar, sitting arrangements) and then picking up after the meeting. For those who would like to make a monetary donation, electronic donations can be made on our 'Donate page'. Awakening Valley Sangha is 100% volunteer-run with no paid members. A deep bow for your dana (generosity), in whatever form it takes.
  • What should I wear?
    Most people dress casually, with clothes that allow freedom to sit cross-legged if they prefer. We also have those attending who come directly from other church meetings and are dressed more formally. Before we enter the meeting room (yoga studio) we remove our footwear and place them in the bins provided.
  • I'd like to come to fulfill a Comparative Religions class or school requirement. Is that okay?
    Yes, you are welcome to observe and practice with us. We are also happy to answer any questions you may have 30 minutes before the meeting.
  • What is the meeting format?
    Our meeting format usually conforms to three parts; a welcome/introduction/song, 20-minute guided meditation, and Dharma discussion (a conversation about some aspect of mindful living or a Buddhist topic). More information on our sitting and walking meditation practice and Dharma sharing can be found on our 'Practice' page.
  • Do I need to prepare for anything beforehand?
    There is nothing to prepare beforehand. No experience is needed in either meditation or Buddhist practice.
  • What should I bring?
    Just bring yourself and any others who would like to attend with an open heart and mind. We provide many options for sitting (cushions, mats, pillows, blankets, and folding chairs). We have a limited supply of seating arrangements for everyone’s use. For those that already have a meditation cushion or other favorite sitting arrangement, we encourage you to bring it so others can use the cushions we provide.
  • I’m not a Buddhist. Can I still attend meetings?
    Yes! Although we practice in the tradition of Buddhist Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, it is not necessary to be a Buddhist in order to enjoy this practice. The benefits of mindfulness are available regardless of one's particular spiritual path. The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings encourage us not to be bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, even Buddhist ones, and to be open-minded to others' insights and experiences. We don't assume anyone's "done this" before, and we have a printed program that will outline what we do. No experience is needed in either meditation or Buddhist practice.
  • Are kids welcome to attend?
    Yes, everyone is welcome to attend regardless of age.
  • What is a Sangha?
    A sangha is a local community of mindfulness practitioners who gather to meditate, to share their joys and difficulties, and to encourage each other on the path of practice. Meeting regularly with others to sit and share together is a precious way to cultivate our understanding and compassion and to re-establish our deep connection with others.
  • How do I know if the Sangha is not meeting this Sunday?
    We strive to meet weekly, every Sunday. However, in the unlikely event that we need to cancel a meeting, we send notifications through our newsletter subscribers and post them on our Facebook page.
  • Are donations tax deductible?
    Awakening Valley Sangha is a Section 501(c) (3) charitable organization, EIN 83-3605640. All donations are deemed tax-deductible absent any limitations on deductibility applicable to a particular taxpayer. No goods or services were provided in exchange for your contribution.
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