"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 – Spring Series

Event Dates: Tuesday March 25, 2014 – Tuesday May 13, 2014

Friends' NightFriends 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. (more…)

Fundraising Dinner for the Stupa Project

Event Dates: Friday April 18, 2014 – Friday April 18, 2014

Register for this Event

Stupa DinnerPlease join us for a scrumptious and elegantly simple fundraising dinner at Aryaloka Buddhist Center on April 18th at 6:00 p.m.! The menu includes a hearty soup to warm the winter chill, lovingly-created bread and salad, and cake for dessert to add a touch of sweetness. All this in addition to joyful sangha friends to break bread with!  There will be a presentation about the Stupa Project as part of the evening, and the dinner will be followed by a special Dhardo Rinpoche puja ceremony.

The cost for the dinner is $25 per person. Proceeds for the evening go towards funding for The Stupa Project – the building of a spiritually vital Buddhist monument at Aryaloka in honor of Dhardo Rinpoche. (more…)

Buddha Day Celebration

Event Dates: Friday May 9, 2014 – Friday May 9, 2014

Register for this Event

BuddhaThe Buddha’s Enlightenment is the central event in Buddhism and we mark this event on Buddha Day (sometimes called Wesak), the most important festival in our calendar. Many of the Buddha’s disciples also attained Enlightenment, and in the centuries that have followed there have been many other Enlightened masters. They too are recalled at Buddha Day with readings of accounts of their lives or from works they wrote themselves. But Enlightenment is also an ideal to which all Buddhists aspire. So Buddha Day is a chance to reflect on what it might mean for individual Buddhists.

Led by: TBD
Times: TBD
Venue: Aryaloka
Fee: Donations gratefully accepted
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.


Friday Practice Evenings

Event Dates: Every Friday Evening

Register for this Event

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.

Each evening includes a combination of meditation (either the Mindfulness of Breathing or Metta Bhavana practices) with some minimal explanation for any newcomers, a short reading, and some chanting, followed by a short relaxing period of tea.

Everyone who is familiar with the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana meditation practices are welcome to attend.

Upcoming puja evenings are: April 18, May 9 (Buddha Day Celebration), and June 13 (more…)

Aryaloka Drawing Group

Event Dates: Sunday April 27, 2014 – Sunday April 27, 2014

Register for this Event

drawing_group_smThis 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). The current dates set for 2014 are January 5, February 2, March 23, and April 27.

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


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!