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?
You will be asked by the steward to hand over any personal electronic devices and books you have in your possession for the duration of the course. We have found that these items provide too much of a distraction, even when meditators intend to avoid their use. Even books related to Dhamma serve as a distraction in the context of a retreat. Please make sure your affairs are in order so that you can be out of contact for the duration of the course. If there is an emergency and you need your items returned to you, they will be provided upon request. We also have a phone in the centre which you may use in the case of emergency (see below for more info regarding emergency contact).
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 available on the Meditation Centre page. 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?
All of our courses are offered for free, and there is no expectation of payment. If you are interested in making a donation, you may make a donation to Sirimangalo International, which supports Venerable Yuttadhammo in his teachings both in-person and online.
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 advisable 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. Click the “Directions” button. Enter your point of ingress into the region, such as Toronto Pearson International Airport, or Buffalo Niagara International Airport.. 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 the Internet upon arrival. Taxi and Uber are also available, however they are costlier options.
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.