I went to a Buddhist meditation center for the first time, I'll admit to knowing nothing about Buddhism - I didn't expect this to be an issue for a meditation class open to anyone, also note I've ADHD so it's not easy for me to study-up.
A few things that happened that I'm a bit confused by, I'm hoping someone here can help...
Sitting talking before class, a person walks through the room who I assume was the resident monk, everyone else goes quiet, stands up, bowed their heads, makes a prayer-type gesture with their hands. What was this? They didn't explain this to me or tell me to copy them, I just sat there quietly...I didn't know any better so figured I couldn't go wrong just sitting quietly. They didn't do this when the same person walked through the room at the end.
So what was this, and am I expected to do this next time?
I stayed back to try to ask the teacher about this but I didn't know how to put the question, I think he assumed I'd been overwhelmed by the meditation so thought this was what my question was about. I feel really anxious about this, ideally I'd like them to tell me if it's expected of me, but I don't want to do it without knowing why I'm doing it.
Bowing, the teacher bowed three times prior to starting the session - why is this? The other people taking the class didn't seem to do anything special when h did this, they were still standing, did I do the right thing continuing to sit?
At one point during meditation everyone (except me) said some sort of prayer, something that sounded like Prayer of the Stages of the Path - am I expected to say this? Which also brings me to the next point...
I'm not Buddhist, I'm Pagan (Scientific Pantheist, so no deity as such and nature-focused, thus I guess it would not contradict Buddhism), is it rude for me to be going to a Buddhist Meditation center if not Buddhist? I'd assumed not, but where do I get the right balance between potentially studying and benefiting from some Buddhist practices while not either A. crossing a line I'm not comfortably with due to my differing religion, and B. not offending Buddhists?
eg. if it's polite to greet a Buddhist holy man as in question #1 that's fine, that' basic respect for their practices, but the prayers bother me so would it be acceptable for me to participate in meditation without saying this prayer?
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