What to Expect/FAQ
What should I expect when I arrive?
- NYI is a casual, non-ceremonious spiritual center. We do not observe any specific rituals.
- Our lay teachers do not wear robes or have honorific titles (although we sometimes host monastic teachers who do).
- All events start on time: please arrive 15 minutes beforehand.
- Please remove your shoes and place them in allocated areas.
- Latecomers should either wait outside or sit in the back of the large room until there is a break in the dharma talk or meditation period.
What is dana or teacher support?
- Dana is the Pali word for generosity. At all New York Insight events, we endeavor to keep our costs low and to offer all participants the opportunity to share in the joyful cultivation of generosity through offerings to our teachers.
- At almost all events, our teachers receive no payment for their instruction: they are supported solely by the voluntary donations given by students at the end of each event.
- We keep our costs low in part to allow for these donations to be given. Please keep this in mind when registering and attending events.
- It is sincerely hoped that donations come from a spontaneous expression of the heart in gratitude and appreciation for the benefits we have received through the hearing and practice of these unexcelled teachings.
- No one is turned away from the teachings for lack of funds.
Am I allowed to talk?
- Each event is different. Days of silence are largely kept in Noble Silence, but some events invite engagement and discussion as part of the process. Usually this is described in the event description and teachers explain the program flow at the start of an event.
Do I have to sit on a cushion?
- We provide cushions, benches, as well as comfortable straight back chairs.
Are there any rules?
Most of our daylong events, especially those referred to as “retreats”, include periods of meditation. In the interest of providing a harmonious and rewarding opportunity to practice, we ask all participants to join us in creating a supportive sacred space by observing the following guidelines:
- Please wear modest, appropriate clothing with an emphasis on comfort.
- Please remove your shoes and place them in the allocated areas.
- Except for the lunch period, please refrain from reading, eating, lying down or stretching in the meditation rooms during formal programs.
- Please refrain from using any electronic devices during programs. We encourage the use of paper and pens/pencils over electronic note-taking as these devices can be extremely distracting for others around you.
- Please do not sit on the sofa or in the lounge area during formal teaching and programs.
- Make sure that the area you’ve been sitting in, and any cushions you’ve used, are clean before you depart.
- Out of respect for people with environmental illnesses, we request that everyone at NYI please not wear strong fragrances or strongly scented products when attending events at NYI. We greatly appreciate your efforts to make NYI accessible to those with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities).
- Please keep aisles and fire exits clear of cushions and belongings.
- Please make every effort to enter and leave meditation areas only at designated times.
- Please sit in an attentive posture during meditation and Dharma talks.
- Please be mindful of others when practicing walking meditation. Choose a walking path that does not cross paths of other meditators.
- If you wish to practice yoga, please do so only if there is space and time allotted (if you’re not sure, ask the Event Manager or a volunteer).