Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully you'll find the answer you are looking for here, but if not please contact us HERE and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
DO I HAVE TO BE A BUDDHIST OR BECOME ONE TO ATTEND YOUR CLASSES?
The answer is most definitely no, you don't have to become a Buddhist to benefit from meditation. Everyone is welcome at our classes and anyone can benefit from meditation and mindfulness. We have given a long answer here as we feel it is important to understand this point.
The Buddha taught many people from all walks of life with the intention to help them find true inner peace and happiness. The teachings on wisdom, love and compassion, on overcoming fear, anxiety, hurt and anger, are for everyone and can be used by anyone to help them find the happiness we all seek. We do not seek to "convert" people to Buddhism, we simply wish anyone looking to improve their sense of well-being, happiness and joy, life and experiences, to be able to do so through the very practical and beneficial teachings of the Buddha. These ancient teachings remain totally relevant to our modern world and Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has given us a unique modern presentation of this wisdom for the modern, westernised world.
To coin a modern phrase, the Buddha was renowned for saying "Don't take my word for it". His meaning was that the Buddhist path is one of personal exploration and experience. The instructions we receive are to be tested and examined, not taken as orders or commands but as personal advice which we should scrutinise for ourselves to see if they hold true.
I WANT TO TRY MEDITATION, I'VE NEVER TRIED IT, BUT WHERE DO I START? I Have done some at home - can i still come to a class?
Just start. It's as simple as that. Just start going to a class. You will gain an idea of how to meditate, understand some of the teachings and gain benefit in your daily life.
You don't need to gain lots of knowledge before giving it a go. Take you're time, do it at your own pace and enjoy the process.
Meditation is in a modern terms, a "life-skill", and with time and some patience you will find things come together.
Its definitely not a problem if you've never tried meditation or never been to a class. We all have to start somewhere when we learn a new skill. All our drop-in classes have guided meditations, so all you need do is follow the instructions the teacher gives. Just relax and enjoy the opportunity to take some time out from your normal activities and concerns and find some inner peace.
MY MIND IS TOO BUSY TO MEDITATE. CAN YOUR CLASSES HELP ME?
Everyone can meditate, you just have to know how and to be patient. Like anything in life, meditation takes practice. It will become easier in time. Stick with it, you'll get there!
With practice, even a short and simple daily breathing meditation practice can have a profound effect on our sense of inner peace and well-being.
DO I HAVE TO SIT ON THE FLOOR?
No, we sit on chairs during the class. On occasions at KMC Plymouth (not our branch classes), it may be possible for those who wish to sit in the traditional posture on the floor to do so, but depending on numbers attending the class we cannot guarantee this.
DO I NEED TO WEAR ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR?
No. Whatever you find comfortable. You need not wear anything special but we do recommend some warm socks in the winter as you will need to remove your shoes to enter the meditation room if you are attending KMC Pymouth for your class!
DO I Need to bring anything with me?
No, you don't. Some people find a note book and pen helpful to make a note of anything they find helpful during the teaching part of the class.
How Long Do the classes last?
Depending on which class or event you attend, but it will usually be either 30 (lunchtimes at KMC Plymouth only) or 90 minutes (all our evening classes). Meditation Half Day Courses have two 75 minute sessions separated by a 30 minute comfort break. The timings for all our classes our on this website and our printed publicity.
DO I HAVE TO ATTEND ALL THE CLASSES IN THE TERM?
No. All our drop-in classes are self-contained so you can attend any class whenever you can. We organise them into short course covering a common theme, but you can still just attend individual classes within the set. Obviously, the more you can attend, the more you'll benefit, but there is no requirement to do so and as with anything in life, something is better than nothing!
Can I Ask the teacher a question?
Yes, the teacher or our volunteers would be happy to answer any questions you may have about the class, meditating and Modern Buddhism. They can also advise you about the books and other materials we have on sale. However, we do ask that you wait until after the class to discuss your questions with the teacher.
IS THERE DISABLED ACCESS?
At KMC Plymouth, yes, we can put a disability ramp up to our front door and once inside all the public areas are on the same level. There is also a spacious fully fitted disabled toilet.
For specific information about our branch classes please contact us or the venue directly.
What's the parking like?
KMC Plymouth: The parking is on-road (partly residents only parking and partly pay and display). However, most evenings there is no charge in the pay and display areas and the residents parking restrictions vary street by street during the day. Please see the Plymouth City Council website for details or email us if you have a specific question.
For our branch classes please contact your local council for details of any parking schemes in the area.
YOU'RE A BUDDHIST CENTRE, SO ARE YOUR CLASSES A RELIGIOUS THING?
Buddhism is often referred to as being a philosophy or a way of life, as well as a religion. Either way, the focus of our classes are spiritual instructions for developing our mind. Anyone from any background can benefit in their daily lives from the teachings of the Buddha - that was his intention; to help all living beings. During our evening classes there is a short chanted prayer that we contemplate whilst just listening or singing along. It is entirely up to each individual how they engage with that.
WHAT DO you charge for classes and other events?
A full list of our pricing and discounts can be found HERE.
KMC Plymouth is a registered charity working across Plymouth, West Devon and Cornwall. The fees we charge pay our running costs including room hire charges etc at our branches. Our branch teachers and assistants are all volunteers who give their time freely to teach.