"Spiritual friendship is the whole of the spiritual life."
~ Samyutta Nikaya, Verse 2

At Aryaloka, we cultivate strong and meaningful relationships with each other through our practice of Buddhism and our focus on compassion, communication, and community. Check back with this page regularly to get the latest events, information, and goings-on from our sangha.

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Tuesday Friends’ Night: Autumn Series

Event Dates: Tuesday October 21, 2014 – Tuesday October 21, 2014

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buddha-rupa4_300px_squareFriends Nights at Aryaloka are from 6:45-9:00, when we gather to meditate and explore aspects of Buddhism through workshops, talks, study, ritual, or discussion. The emphasis is on practical application of Buddhist principles in our own lives. Although there is no fee for this event, donations are appreciated.

The 40-minute silent meditation in the main shrine room is typically not guided. (If you prefer to have prior instruction, see the Programs section for more information on introductory classes.)

An option for a guided meditation is offered in the library, after which, you can join the rest of the group for the second half of the evening.


Tuesday Friends’ Night: Cafe Evening

Event Dates: Tuesday October 14, 2014 – Tuesday October 14, 2014

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Join us for Cafe Night at Aryaloka!  When study series are complete for our Tuesday Friend’s Nights we like to hold these evenings to reconnect before embarking on a new series, and they’re always lots of fun.

We’ll be having a potluck dinner beginning at 5:30, where we can share a yummy meal with each other, meet new friends, and catch up with old ones!

Then, a meditation session will be held from 7:15 to 8:00, followed by exciting new cafe topics.

So, bring a dish to share, questions to answer, and join in the fun!

Friday Practice Evenings

Event Dates: Friday nights,  October 17th, 24th, & 31st, November 7th, 21st, & 28th

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Practice EveningJoin us every Friday evening for a session of collective practice, including meditation, chanting, and a special puja on the Fridays closest to the full moon. Most evenings are from 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m..  Evenings that include a full moon puja are from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (more…)

Aryaloka Arts Night

Event Dates: Sunday November 2, 2014 – Sunday November 2, 2014

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artsnight_smAn evening with the arts at Aryaloka, featuring Virginia Peck, a well-known artist who exhibited at the first Aryaloka Arts Night several years ago. This will be the artist’s reception for the exhibition “The Faces of the Buddha” on view at Aryaloka from September 23 through November 18. Besides a talk by Virginia Peck on her work and a chance to meet the artist and talk to her about her art, there will be poetry and music, as well as light refreshments. More information later as we firm up the other participants. Come and enjoy a wonderful evening with the Arts at Aryaloka.   (more…)

Open Meditation Session

Event Dates: Tuesdays & Thursdays October 7, 2014 – December 30, 2014

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MeditationAre you looking for more opportunities to meditate with others or for help maintaining a regular meditation practice? Join us on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for open meditation sessions, followed by time for discussion. Everyone is welcome to attend. Some guidance will be provided for those new to meditation, but anyone looking for an in-depth introduction to meditation is recommended to take one of our weekend Introduction to Meditation workshops or four week Introduction to Meditation courses. The open meditation sessions will not be held when retreats are in session. There is no fee for these sessions, but donations are appreciated. No registration required. (more…)

As Metta Unfolds: Intermediate Meditation Course

Event dates: October 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th, & November 5th.

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touching_heart_smIn five weeks of evening sessions we will enter the realms of kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. What if you were more kind to yourself? What if you could develop greater compassion for everyone in this challenging world? What is the gateway to joy? And is it really possible to be calm and even-minded in the face of everything life throws at us? Come to this series of classes if you have been meditating for a while and wonder where the heart fits in. (more…)

Sangha Day

Event Dates: Friday November 7, 2014 – Friday November 7, 2014

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Triratna Refuge Tree“The growth of the sangha should be expected… so long as they meet together frequently and in large numbers…”
~ The Buddha, Mahaparinibbana Sutta

On Friday, November 7th, the Aryaloka community will be joining together in celebration of Sangha. This special day of practice, discussion, and rejoicing will be co-led by Order members throughout the region, with support from kulas of Mitras and Friends. It promises to be an inspiring opportunity to experience the diversity and depth of our local sangha. (more…)

Bodhisattvas at Play – Fall Work Weekend

Event Dates: Saturday October 25, 2014 – Sunday October 26, 2014

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workday_smPlease join us for our fall work days on Saturday, October 25th and Sunday, October 25th! This is a great chance to practice generosity and to work together with friends from the Aryaloka sangha to create beauty and harmony inside and outside. We will be cleaning, tidying, working in the gardens and on the grounds – whatever needs doing to make the center shine! No experience necessary. (more…)

Exploring Mindfulness: The joy of bringing awareness into our daily lives

Event Dates: Saturday November 22, 2014 – Saturday November 22, 2014

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exploring_mindfulness_smAre you ready to take your mindfulness to a deeper level? Treat yourself to a relaxing and spacious day of mindfulness practice, including meditation, activities, noble silence, gentle yoga, and small group discussion. This mini-retreat will offer you practical ways to apply mindfulness in your relationships, communication, and work. Led by Akashavanda and Tom Gaillard. (more…)

Aryaloka Drawing Group

Event Dates: Sunday November 23, and December 21.


This monthly informal drawing group grew out of a Drawing and Meditation Workshop and it’s a great way to meet up with other artistic spiritual friends.

We meet from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at Akashaloka (the building behind the Aryaloka domes).

Bring your own art supplies. While a simple pencil and drawing pad is enough, feel free to bring anything else you may have. Sign-ups not necessary and we will have a Dana bowl for donations. For more information or any questions e-mail Eric Ebbeson at

Dates for the drawing group are August 3, November 23, and December 21.

Led by: Eric Ebbeson
Times: 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Venue: Akashaloka
Fee: Donations appreciated
Level: Open to All
Directions: Directions Page
The Generosity Kula invites everyone – each time time they come to Aryaloka – to bring one item for our collection boxes in the entryway. We are collecting non-perishable food items, personal care/cleaning products, or warm clothing items. Your generosity makes such a difference in many people’s lives! We thank you for your past donations and encourage you to continue. With gratitude, the Generosity Kula.

Young Sangha Gathering

Event Dates: Sunday December 14, 2014 – Sunday December 14, 2014

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Young SanghaThese classes offer a simple introduction to Buddha’s teachings by emphasizing kindness and respect for others. Our first hour is for children ages up to 9. In each class there is a short talk, gentle meditation, and an arts and crafts activity related to a Buddhist theme. Older children are encouraged to come and help with the arts and crafts program. Parents must remain on premises and parents of very young children are asked to stay with their child to assist them if needed. The second hour is for ages 10 to 17. During this hour we will have gentle meditation and discussion on topics relevant to teens and how to live the practices in our lives. (more…)

Young Sangha Gathering

Event Dates: Sunday October 19, 2014 – Sunday October 19, 2014

Register for this Event

Young SanghaThese classes offer a simple introduction to Buddha’s teachings by emphasizing kindness and respect for others. Our first hour is for children ages up to 9. In each class there is a short talk, gentle meditation, and an arts and crafts activity related to a Buddhist theme. Older children are encouraged to come and help with the arts and crafts program. Parents must remain on premises and parents of very young children are asked to stay with their child to assist them if needed. The second hour is for ages 10 to 17. During this hour we will have gentle meditation and discussion on topics relevant to teens and how to live the practices in our lives. (more…)

Etiquette for Dhardo Rinpoche’s Visit

Dhardo RinpocheSome Etiquette Guidelines for Dhardo Rinpoche’s Visit…

About Rinpoches:

A Rinpoche (Tib: “precious one”) is one who has achieved, by years of study and practice, a high degree of spiritual awareness and attainment. A Rinpoche has frequently gone through extensive training, even in worldly terms, and he has devoted his life to bringing out the highest spiritual potentials in everyone that he contacts, as well as in himself. His compassion extends to all beings, and he selflessly strives to be a purified vessel of the enlightened attitude, and gives of himself to others without hesitation. He is truly a holy person, and for this reason he deserves not only respect, but great consideration.

If the Rinpoche is also a Tulku (Tib: “nirmanakaya”), he is considered an incarnation of a highly evolved individual or bodhisattva, who has been practicing such compassion and selflessness for many lifetimes, to the point that he has deliberately forestalled his own complete liberation in order to return to the realm of suffering and help free others. Anyone who has had experience with the Rinpoches can verify that extraordinary qualities of generosity, compassion and wisdom are unfailingly manifested by them, each in their own unique ways. And in addition, they are repositories of truth, of Dharma. They are due every courtesy that can be extended to them.


Proper respect towards a lama is shown in a simple way. To greet him traditionally, according to the custom of Tibet, one would offer a white silk scarf (Tib: “kata”). If the lama is a high Rinpoche, and especially one’s own teacher, it is customary traditionally to prostrate three times upon arriving and once when leaving, if it is a formal situation. In the West, people are not always comfortable with such demonstrations, particularly if they are not Buddhists, and if this is the case, one may show respect in a natural way, perhaps with a short, Japanese-style bow with hands folded, or with an American-style handshake. The important thing is to acknowledge the lama as one would acknowledge any dignitary or religious personage, in an appropriate way.

When addressing a Rinpoche, he is called “Rinpoche,” as when speaking of him one refers to him by his name as well as his title, for example, “Kalu Rinpoche.” Very high Tulkus, such as His Holiness Karmapa or His Holiness the Dalai Lama, one would address as “Your Holiness.”


If a student is requesting an interview, it is appropriate and customary to bring an offering. Flowers, incense, fruit, candles are symbolic offerings made to the purified Buddha-mind that you perceive in your teacher. Useful items are also good offerings, and money, needless to say, is perhaps the most useful gift of all, and it may be offered without hesitation, wrapped in paper or in an envelope. The lamas have needs like anyone else who inhabits a physical body, though theirs are very simple as a rule, and they are not paid for services rendered, nor do they think about such things. Frequently offerings are immediately turned toward benefitting others, and any offerings made are certainly more for the benefit of the donor than the lama himself. He is a sublime opportunity for the student to express generosity, and he is also an unsurpassable steward, using all things he receives to assist beings.

Awareness in his presence:

When in the presence of a Rinpoche, defer to him in every way possible. Stand when he enters a room – especially the shrine room. Offer him a chair, and if it is the only chair, he should have it and others stand or sit on the floor. If he needs assistance to stand or get around, offer it immediately. His needs should be carefully looked after, and this sometimes requires some insight and observation, as he may not mention his needs even when asked. The lama, not being grasping, will most likely humbly say that he needs nothing. It is up to you to find out, and it is crucial when you are in a position of hosting a lama or coordinating a visit for him. He is a precious bearer of truth, and acts selflessly, sometimes to his own physical detriment, so it is the responsibility of his attendants and hosts to thoughtfully provide for him, protecting him when necessary. This can range from simple things like making sure he has ample water or tea while teaching, has adequate meals, or that he is not over-scheduled during a visit. The lama needs time for rest and meditation. He will rarely say no to a request. It is a visit-coordinator’s responsibility to see that he has time to himself and is not run ragged by lectures, ceremonies and personal interviews. Consideration is the watchword.

An instance of the group of people, all of whom had several opportunities to speak with a Rinpoche apart from teachings and who still insisted on seeing him again as a group, despite the fact that he was exhausted after receiving people steadily for five hours is an example of what should not happen. The obligation rests not only with visit coordinators, but on students who demand extra time, and who might well consider if their ego-satisfaction is more important than the Rinpoche’s well-being.

The Buddha, the Dharma, the Shrine Room

Dharma books and puja texts do not belong on the floor, out of respect for the truth that they contain, but on a table or cushion. Texts should not be stepped over, stepped on or sat on. Like the written Dharma, spoken Dharma is treated respectfully, and strictly speaking, unless one is serving tea, or has a physical problem, one should not get up and walk in and out of teachings and pujas. It shows lack of consideration for others, who are distracted by it, not to mention disrespect for the lama who is teaching. When questions begin, one may freely leave.

Some final notes:

Most of the foregoing are guidelines that could be substantiated by consulting Amy Vanderbilt or Emily Post’s rules of etiquette, because what they embody are common courtesy and respect. In our so called “free” society, many such attitudes of politeness have unfortunately gone by the wayside. Courtesy that springs from the heart, a result of respect, has since ancient times formed a part of spiritual disciplines, as well as been operative in society. To be courteous, respectful, and polite is not a superficial form, but can be a great practice of mindfulness and a way to develop bodhisattva actions. It is with this attitude that one may approach the particular kind of attention to detail that showing respect involves, be it to a lama, in a shrine room, or in ordinary daily interactions.


Bhante’s Skype Chat with Aryaloka

Bhante SkypeIn early July of 2012 Sangharakshita and Aryaloka Buddhist Center, along with Triratna New York City, coordinated a live Skype event together – the first of its kind to connect Bhante directly with the North American sanghas using new technology. And we have a recording of the event available for those weren’t able to be there!

In the question and answer session, Sangharakshita shared his thoughts on various topics chosen by sangha members. At the end, several Aryaloka community members and old friends expressed their deep gratitude for Bhante’s contributions. This was a beautiful opportunity for everyone involved, and hopefully one that will set the stage for further chances to connect.

To see the video, visit our Media Page, where you’ll find the entire conversation, along with many other wonderful video resources that you may have missed!

Vajra Bell – Winter 2012

Vajra Bell - Winter 2012In this issue:

  • “Getting Unblocked: Working with the Five Hindrances in Meditation” by Saddhamala
  • Reflections on 2011 from the Aryaloka Buddhist Center Council
  • “Releasing the Butterfly: Living with Impermanence” by Ashley Davis Bush
  • Movie Review: “Travelers and Musicians,” by Daniel Bush
  • Tom Gaillard shows that the year’s finances end on a positive note
  • Online Insight: The Best Buddhist Blogs
  • New additions at Buddhaworks, the Aryaloka bookstore
  • Men’s sangha spends a day with Asian culture at the Museum of Fine Arts
  • Upcoming arts events at Aryaloka
  • Sheila Groonell writes about the fun of contemplative movement
  • Poetry from our sangha members

Aryaloka 2012 Pledge Drive

An Appeal for Generosity

The Aryaloka Buddhist Center is growing fast and attracting more people who want to learn about and live the Dharma. Our mission is to create the best possible conditions for you to explore, practice and share the Buddhist spiritual path for the benefit of all beings.

The annual appeal is a vital funding source for Aryaloka along with Sangha night donation, retreats and other programs. Unlike the other sources, though, the monthly pledge provides the bedrock of certainty to our monthly income, and enables us to better plan and dedicate the resources towards teaching and spreading the Dharma throughout the region.

Aryaloka is fueled by a considerable volunteer force, and for that we are deeply grateful. Income from retreats and Sangha night donations only cover a portion of the Center’s annual costs. Additional funding is still needed to pay for our small staff, utilities, building maintenance and upkeep, including meeting unexpected (and costly!) issues like squirrel control or the losses from Hurricane Irene.

Bodhisattvas at Play – Spring Work Days

Start Date: Saturday May 18, 2013
End Date: Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spring Work Days Please join us for our spring work days on Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, May 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a great chance to practice generosity and to work together with friends from the Aryaloka sangha to create beauty and harmony inside and outside. We will be cleaning, tidying, working in the gardens and on the grounds – whatever needs doing to make the center shine! No experience necessary.

You can come for a whole day or however long is convenient for you – every bit of effort is a great help! Lunch and snacks will be provided. Friends and family welcome!

Led by: Facilities Team
Times: Sat., 5/18 = 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.;  Sun. 5/19 = 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Venue: Aryaloka
Registration: No registration necessary
Fee: No charge

Level: Open to All
Directions: Directions Page
More info: Lunch and snacks provided

Welcome to the New Website!

Hello Aryaloka sangha!Painting

We have a new look and lots of new and improved functionality on the latest version of the Aryaloka website. There will be an expanded presentation at some point soon, during the 25th Anniversary evening series of talks, that will go into more detail. But for the moment, here are a few spots you might want to take a look at and explore…

Events Calendar

The new events calendar allows you to see our upcoming events at a glance. Each event has a rollover that gives you a quick teaser of what it’s about, and by clicking on the event it will take you to a more detailed description. Events are also labeled with different colors to reflect the group that they are for (for instance, Introductory events are in orange).

Online Registration

An enormously useful addition to our website. You can now register AND pay for events online using our online registration system. Payments can be made by credit card or PayPal account through PayPal.

Online Donation

Again, using your credit card or PayPal account, it’s easy-peasy to make donations. You can make an ongoing pledge to our Mandala of Supporting Friends or a one-time donation. For pledges, the funds will be automatically charged and you’ll be supporting Aryaloka without ever even having to think about it.

“Life as a Buddhist” Section

Part of our ongoing efforts to inform those new to Buddhism on what it’s all about, the Life as a Buddhist section gives an overview of what Buddhist practice is, and in particular, how it’s practiced in the Triratna Buddhist Community.

Vajra Bell Online

As editor of the Vajra Bell newsletter, this is one of my favorites. Now, in addition to being able to download the Vajra Bell, you can read it online in a snazzy new format. And keep your eyes peeled for more changes coming to the newsletter… (pique your interest?)

The Web kula hopes you enjoy what we’ve put together!