Information for Beginners
The purpose of meditation is to cultivate positive states of mind, conducive to peace and well-being, and overcome negative habits of mind.
If we examine our life we can see that most of our time and energy is devoted to seeking material and emotional security. Although these things can make us happy for a short time, they are not able to provide the deep lasting contentment that we long for.
Happiness is a state of mind, therefore the real source of happiness lies in the mind, not in external situations. If our mind is peaceful we will experience happiness, regardless of our external circumstances, but if it is unpeaceful we will never find happiness, no matter how successful we are in improving our external conditions. The method to make our mind peaceful is through meditation.
When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still,… a deep happiness and contentment naturally arises from within
What will I gain from these classes?
The classes will allow you to unwind your mind and return home relaxed and refreshed. They will provide you with new tools for dealing with stress, anxiety, and problems. They will also help you to overcome negative states of mind such as anger and jealousy, and to cultivate positive minds such as patience and love.
The talks and guided meditations will provide you with the foundation for developing a powerful meditation practice. A regular meditation practice has many benefits:
• Reduced stress and anxiety
• Increased self-esteem
• Brings inner calm and a feeling of well-being
• Gives clarity to solve our problems
• Helps us deal with challenging people and situations
• Numerous health benefits including improved blood pressure
• Increased academic performance and creativity
Where do we start?
We may have a wish to learn how to meditate, or to find out about Buddhism, but where do we start?
The General Program (GP) Classes at Kadampa Buddhist Centre Huddersfield and its branches are the perfect place. The classes are designed both as a series and as stand-alone classes, so you can attend any class even if the series has already started. Training our mind through meditation depends on guidance from a qualified instructor initially and it is also invaluable to have the support of fellow practitioners. All General Program classes are based on Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s books and teachers will often reference a particular section of these books. This gives us the opportunity to deepen our familiarity with the topic by engaging in follow-up study. See ‘Study Programmes’ for more information.
Who are these classes for?
Our meditation classes are for everyone who is interested in learning how to meditate, regardless of background or belief. They are designed to give a broad introduction to Buddhist meditation, teachings, and practice. Everyone is invited to use whichever aspects of the teachings they find helpful and to not worry about the rest!
What happens at a class?
Classes begin with a simple guided breathing meditation to reduce stress, tension and distractions. This is followed by a talk on how to incorporate meditation and Buddhist principles into daily life. This may include topics such as improving relationships, developing confidence, gaining peace of mind, coping with stress and dealing with anger.
There is guided meditation at the end of the class to help us gain deeper experience of the subject of the class. The class concludes with discussion, question and answers, giving you the opportunity to clarify any points.
Having learned some methods for improving our mind, we can then continue to train in these meditations and practices on our own. If we put these methods into practice we will experience our mind gradually becoming more peaceful, our problems diminishing, and our relationships improving.
Q: Do I need to be Buddhist to attend a weekly class?
A: No. We try to present Buddha’s teachings in a way that is accessible to everyone, and no religious obligation is required.
Q: Do I need to have experience of meditation or Buddhism to attend a weekly class?
A: No. Everyone is welcome, including beginners.
Q: Are the classes suitable for someone with some experience of meditation?
A: Yes. The teachings are designed to be simple yet profound, so that every class provides something for everyone.
Q: Will I be asked to say anything, or speak in front of a group of people?
A: No. But you can ask questions if you want to.
Q: Is there any physical exercise involved, such as yoga?
A: No. Meditation is a mental yoga where we learn how to train the muscle of our mind, rather than physical exercise.
Q: What do I need to bring?
A: Nothing in particular. However, some people find it useful to bring a notepad and pen.
Q: How should I dress?
A: There are no special requirements, but comfortable clothing is generally best.
Q: If I want to attend a weekly class, do I need to wait for the next course of classes to begin?
A: No. Each class is self-contained. You can drop in whenever you can, and start whenever you like.
Q: Do I need to book in advance?
A: For weekly classes it is not necessary to book in advance; (but you can do using our online system)
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