937-244-1961 | 1907 G St, Iowa City, IA 52240 | sangha@milarepaiowa.org

Milarepa Buddhist Center FAQ


Do I need to sit perfectly still?
In the tradition of Buddhism found at Milarepa Buddhist Center it is not necessary to sit perfectly still in order to participate in meditation or other events.

Do I need to be a Buddhist to attend Gar Drolma?
Not at all. No previous experience with Buddhism is necessary in order to attend practices. In fact, we all began with no experience!

What types of people are welcome at the center? 
We are an open and inclusive sangha, and do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, income, sexual orientation or political orientation. We are a very diverse group of people with members from many walks of life.

You have a lot of merit, as you have the fortune to learn both the worldly system and the religious system, which is like possessing two open eyes. This wisdom is your inner Buddha.  The actual Dharma is love. Everyone needs love. If you truly understand the Dharma, you will generate great love and thus experience great happiness. Thank you for coming and supporting  the center.  ~from Garchen Rinpoche to those that are visiting a dharma center for the first time.

I cannot sit on the floor, will I be able to sit in a chair?
We sit on cushions at the center. In addition, we have chairs available.

Are there any rules I should know about before coming to the center? 
We ask individuals to abstain from alcohol or illicit drugs at any dharma-related function at Milarepa Buddhist Center.

May I bring my kids to the center?
Our large events are open to children. At present we have a very small shrine room that fits about 14 people max. For this reason you may not be comfortable bringing a young child. Children older than 10 are welcome to attend any of our sessions.

Are there any costs involved in attending?
Donations to Milarepa Buddhist Centerare much needed and much appreciated but not required. There is no fee for any of our meditation sessions.  There is a fee associated with some of our classes. In addition, there may be a charge for larger events due to the increased cost to the center. These fees will be clearly listed on this website if applicable.

It is not Milarepa Center’s goal to make money but just to break even. Monks and lamas, our precious teachers, devote their whole lives to the Dharma to benefit beings. Our individual support helps make this possible, particularly in the West. Generosity is the first of the six perfections, and Buddhists believe that offerings of money, goods, time, or energy directed toward dharma activities bring enormous benefit to the giver if done with proper motivation. Do not underestimate the value of donating your personal time and energy to the center as well; these are extremely important and will make a big difference.

How do I know if the center is open during bad weather?
If weather is extreme, we may need to cancel practice. Please stay tuned to the home page of this website for such announcements.

What if I need a special appointment?
If you need to make a special appointment to come to the center at a time not listed, please contact us at: sangha@milarepaiowa.org


This information on protocol is meant to help relieve anxiety rather than create it. It was assembled because many beginners have questions about these formal matters.

Sacred Texts
Sacred texts and materials should not be placed on the floor and they should not be stepped over by people or by animals. Nothing should be placed on top of these items except for other dharma texts / pictures. Sacred texts include pechas, photocopied prayers, any representation with sacred syllables, dharma books, your personal notes containing dharma teachings, any representation of deities, lamas, buddhas, bodhisattvas, sacred mandalas, etc. If a time comes when the materials are no longer useful, they do not go in the garbage. We burn them and can think of them as an offering at that time.

Shoes should be removed and left at the door.

When entering the shrine room, a Buddhist practitioner may do three prostrations facing the shrine, or make a short bow with hands folded.  It is not necessary to do prostrations until you understand their meaning.    If you are interested in doing prostrations, someone will teach you about them at any time.  At the same time, is not necessary to perform prostrations in order to attend Milarepa Buddhist Center.

During Practice
Please do not point your feet in the direction of the shrine or the teacher.

After Practice
Please return the Dharma center texts. We do not have enough texts to be able to send them home with individuals. Texts will be available in the bookstore for purchase.