Downtown Meditation Community
Downtown Meditation Community provides an environment where individuals come together to practice and study insight meditation. The heart of insight meditation is the practice of mindfulness, as explicated in the Buddha’s teaching on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. DMC offers a refuge, a place to cultivate skillful qualities, concentration and discernment in New York City.
The insight meditation teachings offered at Downtown Meditation Community come from the Theravada tradition. Theravada practice is derived from the core teachings of the Buddha, as found in the Pali Canon, the earliest surviving record of what the Buddha taught. Within Theravada Buddhism there are various streams, lineages. At DMC, we practice primarily in the style of the Thai Forest tradition. The teachings of Ajaan Lee, a 20th century Thai meditation master, and Thanissaro Bhikkhu, abbot of Metta Forest Monastery, provide the inspiration for dhamma practice at DMC.
At Downtown Meditation Community, it is our vision to:
**Provide an opportunity for students to develop in their practice lf insight meditation through a close, ongoing teacher-student relationship, as well as a relationship with other students. DMC offers a developmental program of practice and study, allowing students to deepen in their skill in meditation and cultivating skillful qualities.
**Help students to integrate mindfulness practice in their day-to-day lives. Since we are householders, with jobs, relationships, families, etc., it is essential that we learn to develop skillful qualities, concentration, and discernment in all the facets of our lives.
**Establish a community of likeminded people, committed to dharma practice. Having a secure base, a community that embodies trust, care, kindness, and joyful companionship, we are able to make a wholehearted effort to alleviate our suffering and find greater happiness in our lives.
Participation at Downtown Meditation Community is open to all interested students.
For students who may be new to dharma practice, we recommend taking a New Students (beginners’ level) course. We offer beginners’ courses on a regular basis.
Thursday Night Meditation classes are designed for dedicated students. We define a dedicated student as someone who is interested in developing a commitment to dharma practice and the DMC community. All students are welcome to attend Thursday Night Meditation. It is expected that students will have experience in meditation. Students should have taken a New Students’ (beginners’ level) course or have equivalent training.
Guidelines for Class Participation
In attending classes and retreats at Downtown Meditation Community, students are asked to follow certain guidelines. We can think of these guidelines as “healthy boundaries.” By respecting these boundaries, we help to create conditions that are suitable for practice of the dharma. The guidelines are offered in the spirit of maintaining an environment that is safe and nurturing.
At DMC classes and retreats, students are expected to follow the Five Precepts.
The Five Precepts
“I undertake the precept to refrain from taking the life of any living creature.”
“I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.”
“I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.”
“I undertake the precept to refrain from false and harmful speech.”
“I undertake the precept to refrain from consuming intoxicating drink and drugs, which lead to heedlessness.”
*Please arrive on time to all classes.
*Please do not use any electronic devices in the meeting space, before, during, or after the class or retreat.
*Please observe silence at all times. Classes are held in silence, except for teacher instruction, talks, and question and answer periods.
*Please do not leave your seat during sitting meditation. If for some reason you have to get up, please move quietly so as not to disturb other meditators. Please do not read, write, eat, drink or lie down while meditation is in progress.
*Please remain in your seat during the class. If you have to get up, please move quietly.
*When the teacher is offering a dharma talk, please do not read, eat, lie down, or leave your seat.
*Please remain in a sitting position throughout the class. If, for medical reasons, you need to lie down, please notify the teacher before the class.
*When speaking at DMC classes, it is asked that participants speak from their own experience. It is asked that when sharing that we do not criticize what other people say, give feedback, or offer advice. Please follow these suggestions before, during, and after classes.
*Please respect the privacy of all students. Please keep confidential what you hear at classes.
Class Fees and Teacher Support
The financial structure at Downtown Meditation Community includes two separate streams:
-Guiding Teacher income (dana)
DMC income includes money received from class fees. The income from class fees goes to the group and covers expenses for putting on the programs.
The fees charged for DMC programs are kept as low as possible, so that all may attend. Full and partial scholarships are available for all DMC programs.
No part of the fees for DMC programs goes to the teacher. Teachers do not receive payment for leading classes. Teachers are supported entirely through contributions (dana).
Since the time of the Buddha, the teachings of the dharma have been offered freely, in the spirit of generosity. In turn, students have the opportunity to offer generosity (dana) to teachers.
The guiding teacher of DMC, Peter Doobinin is supported through this practice of giving. In line with the centuries-old practice, this generosity is applied toward basic living expenses such as food, clothing, shelter, medical needs, and fundamental requirements for an individual in contemporary society.
There are two ways to participate in the practice of supporting the guiding teacher:
(1) Students may support the teacher by making a contribution at classes and retreats.
(2) Students may use the pledge method.
Students can pledge an amount to the guiding teacher. Pledges can be made monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. Information about the pledge method is provided at DMC classes. Or send an email and we’ll tell you more about making a pledge.
In the service of providing a feedback loop for the group, a financial report including information about the teacher’s expenses and the contributions offered by students is made available at DMC’s monthly community meeting.
DMC Monthly Community Meeting
The DMC Community Meeting is held on the first Sunday of the month, during the last part of the Sunday Night Meditation class.
The Community Meeting provides a forum for discussing the financial report, DMC curriculum, the retreat schedule, and the ways in which students may offer service to the community. A report detailing the guiding teacher’s monthly expenses and the incoming contributions (dana) to the teacher is presented.
The Community Meeting provides an opportunity for students to discuss their participation in DMC.
Community Members are encouraged to attend the Community Meeting as part of their ongoing involvement in the group.