What needs to be done before coming to the centre?
Please visit Apply to Meditate page for application details. Finalize your personal arrangements and let your family members know where you will be.
What should I bring when attending a residential course?
Most of the necessities of daily life are available at the centre, for example, meditation cushions, sleeping mats, blankets, sleeping bag liners to use as sheets, pillows, towels, kitchen items, etc. Please bring comfortable, modest clothing to wear. White clothing is traditional; but is not absolutely necessary. Please also bring any necessary personal items and toiletries you’ll need for the duration of the course.
Can I bring my phone?
Yes, however your cell phone must be set to airplane mode for the entire course, with no exceptions apart from an emergency. No electronic devices should be used during your course. Any valuable items should be left at home.
I have special dietary needs. Can this be accommodated?
Supporters of our centre donate vegetarian meals for meditators during their course and our ability to provide for special dietary needs is limited. If you have special food needs (non-dairy or food allergies) please make a note of it on your application and we will coordinate with our supporters to see if this can be accommodated. If you have a very specialized diet and we are unable to provide for your needs, we’ll inform you of this as soon as possible.
How can my family contact me in case of an emergency?
Our centre’s phone number is (905) 581-8522. Our address is 31 Beaucourt Rd, Hamilton, ON, L8S 2R1, Canada. Please give this to your family in case of an emergency.
Will I share a room with another meditator?
Our meditation course is conducted on an individual basis and generally there are no more than 4 meditators at the centre at one time and each would have their own individual room. At rare times there may be more in attendance and meditators may share space.
Are meditators required to do chores during the course?
We ask meditators to be mindful and considerate of others by cleaning up after themselves when using common areas such as the kitchen and washroom. When leaving the centre, meditators are asked to tidy their individual room and prepare it for the next meditator. When needed, meditators are asked to help with occasional tasks at the centre.
How often will I meet with a teacher?
Meditators generally meet daily with a teacher. You will be given a time to report for this meeting upon arrival at the centre.
Is there a fee for the course? May I make a donation for the course?
Our course is conducted at no cost to the meditators. This is made possible through the donations of others. If you would like to make a donation to the meditation centre so that others may benefit as well, donations (both one time or monthly recurring) can be made at Sirimangalo.org/support. Please know that donations are optional, but helpful to sustain teacher and future students at our centre.
Can I bring a gift for the teacher?
It is not necessary to bring a gift for the teacher. Buddhist monks live simply and are required to follow a number of rules regarding accepting food and certain other items. They cannot accept money at all. If it is your wish, however, to bring or send a useful item, our centre does maintain an Amazon Wish List.
Are there laundry facilities at the monastery?
Yes, there is a washer and dryer that you will be able to use.
Are breaks allowed during the day?
Yes. You can discuss the length of breaks in more detail when you meet with your teacher.
What can I do to prepare for the course?
- Read our booklet on How to Meditate.
- Settle all external affairs before coming to take the course, as students are asked to refrain from contact with the outside world during their course.
- Read the centre rules carefully and ask about anything you are not sure of.
- If you smoke or drink beverages containing caffeine, it might be advisible to give these up in advance of arriving to make for a smoother transition.
- You may wish to reduce or eliminate such activities as listening to music, watching tv or movies, or excessively using the internet to make for a smoother transition to keeping the 7th precept.
Must I do the 21 day Foundation Course all at once?
While there are benefits to doing the course at one time; we understand that not everyone can come for a full 21 days. It is possible to complete the course in two or more segments and even to complete parts of the course online. It is recommended to begin and end the course at the meditation centre however.
How do I get to the centre from the airport, train station, or bus terminal?
One way to plan for this is by going to maps.google.com. On their search bar, enter the centre’s address of 31 Beaucourt Rd. Hamilton ON Canada. Click the “Directions” button. If you will be flying in, enter Toronto Pearson International Airport, if you will be coming by train enter Toronto Union Station, if you will be coming by bus enter Toronto Coach Terminal. Use the options on the map to enter the day and time you expect to arrive and choose Public Transport as your mode of travel. This will display all of the public transport options available in detail. We recommend you do this before leaving home and consider printing out the directions or saving them offline just in case you are unable to connect to internet upon arrival. Taxi and Uber are also available, however they are costlier options. For comparison purposes, taxi or Uber can cost around $180 CAD each way. GO Bus (inter-city bus transit) plus local bus will cost around $25 CAD each way. (These are rough estimates and subject to change of course.) All of this is assuming your travel brings you to Toronto; but the method can be used wherever you arrive. 🙂
What time should I arrive on the first day of my course? What time should I leave on the last day of my course?
As our courses are conducted on an individual basis, there is not a standard arrival or departure time. Your course will generally begin when you arrive and meet with your teacher. If it is late in the day or other special circumstances arise; you might begin the following day. It is helpful to state how long you are scheduled to stay at the centre at your first meeting and also to mention when you have only a couple of days left before departure.
What needs to be done before I leave the centre?
Inform the teacher when you will be leaving. Remember to bring all personal belongings with you. Clean up the rooms and items that have been used during the course, for example, bedroom, washroom, pillowcases, sleeping bag liners, and kitchen items. Put things back where they belong. This will provide a clean centre for future meditators.