If you have further questions, please email admin@eastbaymeditation.org. We do our best to be friendly, welcoming, and inclusive, and we hope that you will consider EBMC one of your spiritual homes.

What should I expect when I go to EBMC for the first time?

  • Beginners in mindfulness meditation are welcome to attend all EBMC groups and events, with the exception of a few programs that are for more experienced practitioners.
  • We provide a variety of seating arrangements (several types of folding chairs, meditation mats, cushions and benches), with accommodations for people with illness or disability who may need to lie down.
  • It’s important that you be fragrance free: free of scented hair, skin and clothing products. See https://eastbaymeditation.org/?page_id=63 for more information and a list of products.
  • Wear loose, layered clothing.
  • No food or open-top beverages are allowed in the meditation hall. You may wish to bring a spill-proof water bottle. The kitchen has a refrigerator, microwave, filtered water and tea.

Why do I need to be Fragrance Free to attend EBMC events?

  • Some members of the EBMC community have a disability called Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) or they have asthma, and they may become very ill, sometimes requiring hospitalization, if exposed to fragranced hair and body products or clothing laundered with fragranced products.
  • Products that may make others ill include “natural” or aromatherapy products, along with synthetic chemicals that add scent. Because of the prevalence of scented products, being fragrance free does require change for most people in our society.
  • We invite those who come to EBMC to consider that “making space accessible [to people with disabilities] is an act of love for our communities.”
  • See the Fragrance Free for more information and a list of products.

Do I have to/May I be silent when I’m at EBMC?

  • No, not all the time. EBMC functions as a place to learn and practice meditation and contemplative practices in silence. It also functions as a community center where members connect with one another and offer the joyful support that develops through spiritual friendship.
  • Although there are periods of silence at EBMC, mindful speech and learning how to be together as a diverse community are considered to be valuable forms of spiritual practice.
  • If you want to practice in complete silence when you’re at EBMC, you are welcome to wear a “Noble Silence” neck tag; this signals to others that you do not wish others to speak to you or approach you during breaks or meal times when there is social interaction.
  • The neck tags are kept in the kitchen, near the microwave.

What is gift economics and why is it important to EBMC?

  • Gift economics is a worldwide movement that provides an alternative to a consumer mentality (“How can I pay as little as possible and get as much as possible?”) by instead encouraging a mindset of generosity, sustainability, and community empowerment.
  • EBMC has never charged a set fee for any of its weekly groups, classes, and daylong retreats, in order to provide access to wisdom teachings and mindfulness practices for all.
  • Gift Economics works best when those with more financial means give more than what the “market rate” for a similar program might be, to balance out the contributions from those of lesser financial means who can offer less.
  • By charging no fees, but offering everyone the opportunity to give voluntary financial contributions to the Center and to the teachers, EBMC encourages “pay it forward” thinking.
  • This practice highlights traditional teachings on the spiritual benefits to both donor and recipient in the act of gift-giving.

How much does EBMC pay its teachers?

  • EBMC does not pay its teachers. Our highly skilled EBMC teachers offer their teachings in order to serve the community.
  • They often depend completely on financial contributions from the people who attend their teachings to pay their bills and to sustain their own spiritual practice and study.
  • At this point, we do not have the capacity to accept financial contributions for teachers online or by credit card.
  • Please bring cash or checks to EBMC to offer to the teachers if you’d like to do so.

Should I assume that all EBMC groups and programs are open to all?

  • Because we serve underrepresented communities (such as People of Color, the LGBTQI same-gender loving community, and people with disabilities and chronic illnesses), not all groups and programs at EBMC are open to all.
  • Identity-specific groups and classes offer the opportunity for communities to experience increased safety and support.
  • We request that you read all descriptions carefully in order to determine if the group or class is open to all, or whether it is intended for a specific community.

If I try to register for an EBMC event and it says that it’s “sold out,” will I have a chance of getting into the class if I sign up for the waiting list?

  • Yes, we often have last minute cancellations and will release people from the waitlist in order of registration. Please monitor your email. We kindly ask that you do not show up to the event if you were not notified that you have been released from the waitlist and accepted into the class. Classes with waitlists are often large and simply showing up can cause confusion and hold up the registration process.

Does EBMC offer overnight retreats?

  • We are not a residential Center at this time. EBMC does not offer overnight retreats.
  • Some committed meditation practitioners who come to EBMC attend residential retreats at other centers, sometimes as part of an informal “EBMC group” that might travel together or pool other resources.

Do you have recommended readings to support regular practice?

Reading can be an excellent support to Dharma practice. If you come to East Bay Meditation Center, you are invited to browse our Lending Library and borrow any materials you like, or enjoy curling up on our comfortable couch to do some quiet reading. If you’d like book recommendations, here are a few to get you started.

Selected reading recommendations from EBMC teachers:

General Buddhism

Buddhism: A Way of Life and Thought by Nancy Wilson Ross

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings by Thich Nhat Hanh

One Dharma by Joseph Goldstein

The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism by Robert E. Buswell and Donald Lopez

What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula

Buddhism in the U.S. / Buddhist Modernism

American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity by Ann Gleig

American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War by Duncan Ryuken William

Buddhism beyond Borders: New Perspectives on Buddhism in the United States (SUNY series in Buddhism and American Culture), eds. Scott A. Mitchell and Natalie E.F. Quli

Buddhism in America: Global Religion, Local Contexts by Scott A. Mitchell

The Faces of Buddhism in America, eds. Charles Prebish and Kenneth K. Tanaka

How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America by Rick Fields

The Making of Buddhist Modernism by David McMahan

Contemporary Dharma & Spiritual Practice

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield

Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community by Larry Yang

Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathing In and Out by Larry Rosenberg

Cutting through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa

Dharma, Color and Culture: New Voices in Western Buddhism, ed. Hilda Gutierrez-Baldoquin

Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There by Sylvia Boorstein

A Gradual Awakening by Stephen Levine

Grist for the Mill by Ram Dass with Stephen Levine

A Fierce Heart: Finding Strength, Courage and Wisdom in Any Moment by Spring Washam

Healing into Life and Death by Stephen Levine

A Heart as Wide as the World by Sharon Salzberg

It’s Easier Than You Think by Sylvia Boorstein

Natural Wakefulness and Natural Bravery (2 separate books) by Gaylon Ferguson

A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach

Seeking the Heart of Wisdom by Joseph Goldstein

Shambhala:  The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa

Understanding Our Mind: 50 Verses on Buddhist Psychology by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Way of Tenderness by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron

Buddhism and Social Justice (Socially-engaged Buddhism)

Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community by Larry Yang

Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Great Awakening: A Buddhist Social Theory by David Loy

Money, Sex, War, Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution by David Loy

The Path of Compassion: Writings on Socially Engaged Buddhism, edited by Fred Eppsteiner

Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation by Rev. angel Kyodo Williams and Lama Rod Owens

Sanctuary: A Meditation on Home, Homelessness, and Belonging by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

Seeds of Peace by Sulak Sivaraksa

Time to Stand Up: An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth—The Buddha’s Life and Message through Feminine Eyes (Sacred Activism) by Thanissara

The Way of Tenderness: Awakening through Race, Sexuality and Gender by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

Theravada (Path of the Elders) Buddhism

The Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation by Arinna Weisman and Jean Smith

Being Nobody, Going Nowhere by Ayya Khema

The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations by Gil Fronsdal

The Experience of Insight by Joseph Goldstein

The Heart of Buddhist Meditation by Nyanaponika Thera

Four Foundations of Mindfulness by U Silananda

The Meditator’s Atlas:  A Roadmap to the Inner World by Matthew Flickstein

The Mind and the Way by Ajahn Sumedho

Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

Mindfulness: The Path to Awakening by Joseph Goldstein

www.accesstoinsight.org has an immense online library of Theravada texts translated into English, as well as essays and commentaries by noted Theravada Buddhist authors and teachers

Mahayana (Great Way) Buddhism

Ocean: An Introduction to Jodo-Shinshu Buddhism in America by Kenneth K. Tanaka

River of Fire, River of Water by Taitetsu Unno

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism

Advice from a Spiritual Friend by Geshe Rabten and Geshe Dhargyey

Shantideva’s Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche

Buddhist Monasticism

Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun by Faith Adiele

Stepping into Freedom:  An Introduction to Buddhist Monastic Training by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Zen Monastic Experience by Robert Buswell

Secular Mindfulness

Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Everyday Blessings by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

How do I become enlightened?

  • Go to www.accesstoinsight.org and type the question into the search bar in the upper right-hand corner. You’ll find lots of good reading that will provide one context out of many for your inquiry.
  • Buddhism is a global faith tradition that is more than 2,500 years old, and like other world religions, it contains many different lineages, schools and sects that will offer different answers to your question.
  • Generally speaking, if you start with some reading on the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, that’s a good place to start.
  • Practice patience; this stuff doesn’t come as a phone app. You’re looking at a journey, a path of development that helps you to become wiser, more contented and peaceful, and more compassionate a little bit at a time.

How do I get in touch with the staff or board of EBMC about finances, programs, fundraising, the meditation center’s governance, or something else that I have a question about?

On our website, place your cursor on “About EBMC” at the top of the webpage. You’ll see a pull-down menu. At the bottom, click on the words “Contact Us” and fill in the form with your question or input. Your message will be acknowledged and will also be forwarded to the appropriate staff member or to the Leadership Sangha (board of directors). Or, you can email us directly at admin@eastbaymeditation.org.