Have you ever visited a Buddhist temple or a monastery? Usually we practice some special dress code and practices when entering into a Buddhist temple. As a Buddhist, I follow these practices in Sri Lanka. But I found those are almost same in the temples which I visited in Singapore and Malaysia too.
Recently I found an interesting site about monks, monasteries and meditation. After reading some posts shared on that site, www.monksareawesome.com I thought of sharing this post with some tips which are helpful for you when visiting Buddhist Temples and Monasteries.
Things you should know before Visiting Buddhist Temples and Monasteries
Wear appropriate clothes
When you visit to a Buddhist temple or monastery, it is important to pay attention to your dress. Wear appropriate clothes that cover your shoulders and long enough below the knees. When you enter into the temple, you need to remove your shoes and usually you have to walk inside the temple on bare foot. If you wear hats, caps or even sunglasses, remove those when you enter into the temples. We believe these as respecting the Lord Buddha and his teachings. (Dharma)
Not only Sri Lanka temples, even in Singapore temples like Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, we obey to these rules. If you wear sleeveless dress or short pants, then expect to receive a shawl or a sarong to cover you.
Behavior inside the temples
Buddhist worshiping methods always connect with meditation. There are people who practice meditation inside the temples. Be quiet and respectful in your each and every behavior. Usually people offer flowers and burn incense sticks in the temples. You can follow the same and enjoy the calm and quiet peaceful environment.
Buddhist temples and monasteries are full of beautiful arts and paintings. Some of the temples are with historical values and the paintings are many years old. Therefore taking photographs must be with care. Before you capture photos, just look around to see if there are warning signs asking not to take photos. Sometimes, it is requested not to use the flash simply because the paintings are well protected. In some temples, you cannot take photos at all. In Singapore tooth relic temple, you can’t take photographs inside the chamber that the sacred tooth relic is placed. Likewise, in Sri Lanka, there are temples which you cannot take photos at all.
You also need to pay attention when you pose for the photographs. Simply, don’t take pictures with Lord Buddha with different (funny) actions such as keeping your hands on statues, sitting, leaning on statues. Always be respectful as Buddhists pay much respect for their religion and Lord Buddha.
You can give Donations
This is not required or not a must. But still, if you like you can donate to the temple or monastery. Usually temples are free to enter. Even if you want, you can find free accommodation in most Sri Lankan Buddhist temples including food. In return you can donate to the temple too. There are boxes in most temples which you can insert your donations including coins.
Above are some tips which are helpful if you visit Buddhist monasteries and temples. Have you ever visited a temple or monastery? If so how was your experience?