Frequently Asked Questions

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.




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 arangements, tea area), and then picking up after the meeting is finished. For those that would like to make make a monetary donation we have a small jar located by the tea area that you may leave a cash donation, or if you prefer, 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 bring?


Just bring yourself and any others that would like to attend with an open heart and open mind. We provide many options for sitting (cushions, mats, pillows, blankets, and folding chairs). We have only a limited supply of sitting arrangements that are available for everyone’s use. For those that already have a meditation cushion or other favorite sitting arangement we encourage you to bring it so others can use the cushions we provide. We also offer tea after the sitting meditation so if you have a favorite tea cup or mug you are most welcome to bring that along too.




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 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 Buddhist topic). Between the 20 minute guided meditation and the Dharma discussion we will break for a few minutes to stretch our legs, and get a drink of a selection of warm teas. More information on our sitting and walking meditation practice and Dharma sharing can be found on our ' Practice' page.




Are kids welcome to attend?


Yes, everyone is welcome to attend regardless of age.




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.




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 after the meeting.




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 notification through our weekly newsletter and also post on our facebook page.




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.




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.




Because you are not meeting in person in observance of COVID-19. Are you meeting online instead?


Yes. We are meeting via Zoom each Sunday from 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm. Listed below are the details for connecting: Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/561681029

Meeting ID: 561 681 029

One tap mobile
+16699006833,,561681029# US (San Jose)
+13462487799,,561681029# US (Houston)

Dial by your location
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US
+1 301 715 8592 US
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Meeting ID: 561 681 029
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/anQL6Ie6j