Frequently asked Questions about KMC NC
Where are you located?
Our physical address is 2108 South Blvd., Suite #109, Charlotte, NC 28203. W are located in the Atherton Lofts building off of South Boulevard, in Southend Charlotte. There’s a Google map on the lower right side of this page or click here.
How can I get/stay in touch with you?
You can subscribe to our newsletter by clicking on the link under “Keep In Touch!” about half way down the right side of the page and/or send us an email by clicking on the envelope icon in that same section. You’re always welcome to contact us at Info@meditationcharlotte.org.
When are your classes and other events?
Do I need to book in advance or can I just show up?
Weekly classes and pujas are drop-in events, with no reservations or booking required. The Foundation Program classes are a more structured method of study and do require a commitment to attend the full semester.
What should I wear?
Clothing that is loose-fitting and comfortable is recommended, as meditation is traditionally carried out in the lotus or “cross-legged” posture while seated on a cushion. Cushions are provided, and chairs are available for those who cannot sit comfortably on a cushion for extended periods.
Can I ask questions?
Questions are encouraged during the teachings, and staff are available before and after classes for additional questions and discussions.
How much does it cost?
Our Monday evening General Program classes are $10 and our Wednesday evening Introduction to Meditation class is $8 per class or $25 for one series of 4 classes. The Learn to Meditate in 1/2 day workshops are $25 per workshop. Student/Senior discounts are available. The Foundation Program or Teacher Training Program classes held on Sunday evenings are $55 per month, for 12 calendar months. The cost for Special Events varies depending on the type of event and the duration. Pujas are held at no cost.
Why are the water bowls on the shrine?
In all Buddhist traditions, offerings are made to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for many reasons. A major reason is that we want to show our gratitude for their attainments and teachings; another is that we want to gain the same attainments ourselves. Through making offerings, we create a relationship with the holy beings, just as by giving people gifts we improve our everyday relationships. While the Buddhas do not need these gifts, we ourselves need to give them to improve our relationship with the Buddhas. Our making offerings to them makes it clear that we are paying homage to their many good qualities and are hoping to learn from them.
Additionally, each of the seven bowls filled with water symbolizes a different offering substance, such as perfume and nectar. These originated from objects which people in India offered to honored guests in their homes. Each offering substance creates causes for our mental and physical development in the future. For example, offering light creates the cause to increase our wisdom.
What is a puja?
A puja is a series of prayers designed to bring us closer to enlightened beings and to help us to develop their good qualities. There are several pujas that take place at our center on a regular basis. These can be done by a single person or a group, aloud or silently. They each use a sadhana, a booklet which contains the words to the prayers of the puja itself.
What about the prayers, prostrations and other rituals?
We engage in prayers, prostrations and other rituals to help us purify our mind, increase our merit or good karma and receive inspiration from enlightened beings. All of these help us to quickly transform our mind. Some of the most sacred and ancient prayers and mantras have been retained in their original Tibetan or Sanskrit, but most of the prayers have been translated into our own language under the guidance of Geshe-la. Prostrations are a way of showing humility, gratitude and respect for the teachings. Decide for yourself whether or not to join in prayers, prostrations, or other rituals.
Are there any obligations or commitments?
No. As with any student/teacher relationship, we should expect to show respect for the teacher and the teachings. We try to avoid placing our books or prayers on the floor, to remain quiet during meditation and to stand when the teacher enters and departs – all out of respect for the teachings and the teacher. Nobody will judge you or expect anything from you other than common courtesy and respect.
As your practice grows and internally you feel committed to the practices, then there are levels of personal vows to cultivate your practice. Vows are an individual’s sole responsibility and each person voluntarily and privately chooses to take them or not. All of the vows serve the purpose of helping us to overcome our faults and to train our mind. They are taken with the intention to keep the vows as best we can. There are different types of Buddhist vows and precepts, including refuge vows, Bodhisattva vows, and Tantric vows–all for those with varying levels of personal commitment. The most important promise a Buddhist makes is the promise to never deliberately harm other living beings. Beyond that, recognizing mistakes so we can learn from them and intend to not make them again are part of the path. It’s the fact that we keep trying to cultivate a virtuous mind that counts.
What are the economics of the Center and the Sangha (the spiritual community)?
Each NKT Center is an independent, non-profit entity, receiving no financial support from the tradition’s leadership or any other government or corporate entity. We sustain the Center ‘s Dharma activities solely through class fees and donations, as well as through the contributions of those who are core supporting members. The Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity and donations are tax-deductible.