Is this a recovery group? No, Dharma Punks is not a recovery group. However, a number of people who attend our group are in recovery and it is a topic that arrises often in our discussion group. Everyone is welcome at Dharma Punks wether you are in recovery or not. Those in recovery may wish to know of The Heart of Recovery Sarpashana group which is a part of the Shambhala center. This is specifically an addiction recovery group and meets right before the Dharma Punks each Tuesday.
Do I need to be a Buddhist to attend? Nope. Actually we can have whole discussions around what ‘being a Buddhist’ even means. Our group has no vows, or any official membership. If you show up you are part of our community and that’s all there is to it. Even if you consider yourself of ‘another faith’ who just practices silent prayer you are welcome to sit with us too.
Do I need to know how to meditate? Not really but it is helpful. We are a peer lead group, meaning we are not monks or any kind of official teachers. Though, many of us have years of experience with our own meditation practice. If this is your first time meditating please arrive a little early (8:10-15 ish) and reach out to whomever is leading that night and we can give you some basic instructions to get you started. We also highly recommend that in this case you hang around for the discussion group; then you can ask and benefit from many peoples perspectives on getting started with mediation.
What lineage or school of Buddhism does Dharma Punks belong to? None. We are a peer led group and our community has a variety of experience with various schools and even various faiths.
What is the discussion group? Our Dharma (the teachings/the way) discussion group is an informal discussion based around Buddhism and our practice. Everyone is free to ask questions and share reflections in this session (or you are even quite welcome to sit and listen the entire time). Topics usually cover ground such as how our individual practice is going, thoughts based around the reading that night, and individual interpretations of Buddhist principles or teachings. If you are new to Buddhism this is also where you can get many of your questions ‘answered.’
Do I need to bring anything? You and your mind. We have plenty of cushions and mats available.
Is there any cost? No. The evening is freely available to all. However, donations are graciously accepted to help cover the cost of our weekly rent for the space. We can not over stress how optional this is. If you attended every week for ten years and never put a dollar in the donation box we would be happy to see you every week. Your presence is ALWAYS more important than any money you could share.
Is there anything else I should know? If this is your first time at a Shambhala center please note that you need to remove your shoes before entering. There is a shoe rack by the door.
What is your association to Dharma Punx and/or the Against the Stream Mediation Society? The short answer is none but the history of it is a little complicated. Please see this post (which also links to this post) for the full history.