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First Time Visitors


If you are planning to visit us, we hope that your experience at IBC will be positive and beneficial. Even if it's your first occasion to visit a Buddhist center, we want you to be at ease and feel free to ask questions. The people at IBC are a pretty friendly lot, and will be happy to help out.


Part of our purpose at IBC is to make Buddhist teachings available to those who are interested. We feel that the teachings should be analyzed, and that each individual should make their own informed decisions about whether the teachings are beneficial for them. Our intention is to have a comfortable and open environment for learning about Buddhism and Buddhist practices, whether the interest is spiritual, philosophical or academic.  


All events on the IBC schedule are open to the public unless otherwise indicated. You do not have to be a Buddhist or an IBC member to attend. If you see a teaching or event on the IBC schedule that you would like to attend, you are welcome and encouraged to come. There's no need to contact us before you attend unless you have questions.


Here is a link to a helpful article with some good Advice for newcomers to the Dharma (Buddhist teachings) and attending Buddhist centers, written by American Buddhist nun Thubten Chodron.


What to expect during a teaching or prayer session


  • Many of the formal teachings are taught by the resident spiritual director, Geshe Jinpa Sonam (Geshe la). Depending on the teaching, he may teach in English, or for highest accuracy he may teach in Tibetan and a translator will repeat in English.  The format of a teaching itself will be familiar to anyone who has attended high school or college classes. For lecture-oriented teachings, Geshe la typically leaves time at the end of sessions for Q&A. For discussion-oriented teachings, there may be a lot of interaction throughout.


  • Teachings, study groups and meditations led by senior students are taught in English.


  • For prayer and chanting sessions and meditations, there may not be any teaching (lecture) given, depending on the occasion.


What to wear


  • For most events, casual dress is the norm. Select clothes that are comfortable while being appropriately modest for a prayer center. If you plan to sit on a cushion, you may find loose-fitting or stretchy clothing to be more comfortable. If you wear socks, wear a pair that you don't mind showing, since you will be removing your shoes.


Arriving at the Center


  • After entering the building, please remove your shoes, and leave them in the foyer before entering the teaching room. If you have a coat, you may also prefer to hang it in the foyer.


  • If you are early, feel free to introduce yourself to the teacher or other attendees, or to sit quietly as you prefer. It is best to arrive early as the teachings and prayer sessions sometimes begin slightly before the hour.


  • If you arrive while a session is already in progress, no worries, come into the room quietly and find a seat.


  • Chairs and cushions are provided. You can sit in a chair or on a cushion as you prefer. If you would like to use your own favorite meditation cushion or bench, please feel free to bring it.


Etiquette during a Teaching, Prayer or Meditation session


All practices are optional, and there is no expection for you to join in. Just have a relaxed and respectful attitude, and feel free to ask questions. Here are some guidelines that we hope you find helpful.


  • When Geshe la enters before a teaching and exits afterward, students typically stand and bow. At the beginning of a formal teaching, some choose to perform prostrations according to their practice and out of respect for the teaching. These are all optional, and there is no expectation for you to do them.


  • At the beginning and end of formal teachings, students recite prayers from provided prayer books to help set the intentions of listening attentively and cultivating compassion. These recitations are done according to the practice of each student, and therefore optional.


  • Please do not place teaching materials (prayer books, dharma books, etc.) directly on the floor or a seat. To show respect for them, place them on a table or tray, or on one of the provided placemats. Don't step on them or over them.


  • During a teaching, be mindful that it is considered impolite to sit with your feet outstretched towards the teacher or altar.


  • Please do not touch any objects on the altar, but do take the opportunity to walk around and get a closer look at the sacred works of art on the altar and in the teaching hall while sessions aren't in progress.


Most teachings and events are free, and donations are appreciated


  • Most events at IBC are free, including all of the regular weekly teachings and events. If a specific event has a fee, it will be noted in that event's calendar entry. If you would like to leave a donation, you can drop it in the donation box in the teaching room. Donations allow IBC to remain open and support our wonderful teacher. Generosity is one of the perfections taught in Buddhism, and practicing acts of generosity help us to cultivate qualities of gratitude, loving-kindness and compassion.  


Bringing children


  • Children are welcome to attend, but please note that we do not have child care available. Geshe la enjoys meeting children after a teaching, and they enjoy meeting him! We ask that parents be attentive to their children’s needs and be respectful of other participants during the teachings.


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