Orientation to our Practice

Those new to the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives are asked to attend an orientation before joining our other activities. Due to surgery, we will not be holding orientations after Friday, February 2nd, for several weeks.

An orientation consists of an introduction to the Priory, its physical layout, and our form of meditation and practice. You are given an opportunity to meet a monk and ask questions in an informal setting. We also take the time to try to find a meditation posture that is reasonably comfortable for you. The intention is to make you feel more comfortable when you come for services, and to help you fit in without disturbing the flow. We make no assumptions as to your continuing to practice with us or becoming a Buddhist.

The orientation is available by reservation on most Fridays at 6:00 PM. It lasts about an hour. To make a reservation, as well as to get directions to the Priory, which is at 426 Arrowwood Rd. near Dutch Square Center, in Columbia, please call 803-772-7552 two or three days before the Friday that you wish to come (Contact). We are most likely to be available to take your call from about 9:30AM-12:30PM and 3:00PM-6:00PM Tuesday-Saturday, although Thursday and Friday mornings, as well as Wednesday afternoons, can be problematic. During the call we will give you directions for getting here. We prefer to deal with people personally rather than via email. It minimizes misunderstandings.

Please arrive between 5:45 PM and 5:55 PM for orientation. If you realize that you will arrive later than 5:55 PM please call to reschedule, and if, for some reason, you find that you are not coming, we would be grateful if you would let us know. When you arrive, please come to the front door, not a side door, and ring the doorbell. Otherwise we might not hear you.

There are no fees of any kind for instruction, or participation in Priory activities. The Priory is supported (Priory Support) entirely by kind donations from our congregation and friends.

It is traditional to bring an offering when one comes to a Buddhist temple. This is not a transaction or payment. It is simply the encouragement of a willingness to take a first step in the practice of Buddhism, i.e. to begin to deal with clinging. This provides an opportunity to experience the deep benefit that generosity has on one’s practice—see CZBP Newsletter #26, “On Generosity II.” It doesn’t need to be a large offering. In fact, for those with little, it is much more helpful to be willing to make a very small offering, than to feel that what you can afford will be inconsequential.

The monk in residence has a number of food sensitivities, so if you include food in your offering, please bring only small amounts, so that nothing is wasted. Please don’t bring meat or fish, alcoholic beverages, incense, or plants, especially cut flowers. Monetary offerings, even small ones, are especially welcome because they relieve the Prior’s concern about possible waste.

If you are, or think that you might be, sick with something that you might pass on to others, please don’t come until you are no longer contagious.

Please wear nice, dignified, respectful, clothing–something loose enough to comfortably meditate and bow in. Tight or revealing clothing, as well as T-shirts, shorts, or clothing that ‘makes a statement’ (with slogans, advertising, styling, etc.) are not appropriate. Please minimize scents: perfume, after-shave, laundry, etc.

Click here for a short introduction to Buddhism, our tradition and practice.