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Etiquette to Observe When Visiting Losel Maitri

Other than the usual respectful behavior, such as sitting quietly and alertly during the teaching, there are some points of etiquette specific to Eastern traditions and Buddhism that are unfamiliar to many of us, but might be equated to "just good manners" in Tibet. But there's no reason to be concerned if you realize that you have made a mistake in etiquette. Lama Deshek knows that much of this is new to us.

  • Leave shoes in the area near the door.
  • Stand when the Lama enters the room.
  • Avoid stretching your legs toward the Lama or altar, as pointing the soles of one’s feet is considered disrespectful.
  • Stand when the Lama approaches the shrine at the start of the service and remain standing while he prostrates to the Buddhadharma and takes his seat.
  • Wearing revealing clothing, such as tank tops, short skirts and the like is considered inappropriate attire in temple and shrine room settings.
  • Avoid placing spiritual texts or Dharma materials directly on the floor, chair seat or cushion (It's OK to put them on a pack, handbag, etc. that is on the floor).
  • If you enter the shrine room after meditation or teaching has begun, do so as quickly and as quietly as possible, so as not to disturb others.
  • When moving about, try not to step directly over texts (this can be challenging in close quarters).
  • Stand when the Lama rises at the conclusion of the service and remain in place until he has reached the back of the room or left.
  • During more informal activities, the easiest way to behave appropriately regarding the Lama is to simply remember that he is our honored guest, not our servant. He should be served first, and we should never allow him to perform tasks such as passing around snacks, etc. (If he begins to do so, generally speaking, it is just his way of indicating that this is something that needs to be done.)