Attendee Tip #6 – Monastery Etiquette

To avoid offending others while visiting the monastery, please be aware of the following inappropriate conduct. Even if you do not intend to be disrespectful, such behavior may appear rude and inconsiderate.

1. Do not remain seated when His Holiness the Dalai Lama enters the prayer hall. Please stand when His Holiness enters the prayer hall, do not sit until after he sits, and please stand up as he is leaving the prayer hall.

2. Do not put Dharma materials (prayer books, Dharma books, or notebooks with Dharma in them) on the floor, step over them, sit/stand on them, or place non-Dharma objects on top of them.

3. Do not lie down, sleep, do any yoga/stretching exercises, or chew gum in the prayer hall at any time.

4. Do not point your feet towards the teacher or any holy object (statues, paintings, etc.).

5. Inside the monastery avoid wearing clothing which is too revealing (short pants, short skirts and sleeveless shirts). Appropriate clothing includes long or short-sleeve shirts/t-shirts, trousers and long skirts.

6. Do not express public displays of intimacy (kissing, hugging, holding hands, giving massages, etc.), as this would cause unnecessary discomfort to the monastic community.

7. While listening to Dharma teachings, do not cover your head with hats/scarves/umbrellas, unless you need to do so in order to protect your health. His Holiness makes a point of encouraging those who are sitting in the hot sun/rain/cold weather to cover their heads in order to protect themselves.

8. When entering the prayer hall, please remove your shoes. In seating areas outside of the prayer hall, Tibetans usually keep their shoes on while walking through a seated crowd to avoid carrying shoes near the faces or over the heads of people who already seated. You may wish to follow this custom or carry your shoes in a plastic bag.

9. When tea and bread are distributed during the teachings, do not eat these immediately; please wait until after His Holiness has said the offering prayer.

10. During the entire teaching period you are encouraged to not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.

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