sharing the dharma, building sangha

Buddha statue in snow and rosemaryAbout Winston-Salem Dharma Community

Winston-Salem Dharma Community (WSDC) has been meeting since 2014. We are a community that comes together to support each other in our meditative practice and in learning the Dharma. We are a gathering of open-minded seekers practicing a variety of Buddhist traditions and mindfulness meditation. All are welcome regardless of experience level or religious affiliation. We gather on Tuesdays from 6:30pm to 8pm. Our meeting space is graciously hosted by The Shepherd's Center of Greater Winston-Salem.

Visiting WSDC

Buddhist dana, sign in, entranceUpon arrival at The Shepherd's Center you may notice upper and lower level parking lots. The upper parking lot is the entrance to directly access where WSDC meets. Entering through the double glass doors, shoes are commonly left at the hallway before entering the meditation area. You will notice a sign-in sheet that is used for keeping attendance along with a Dana tray. Dana is the Buddhist word for giving and cultivates the practice of generosity. The ShepherdÂ’s Center does not charge us for use of the space. Rather we each give an amount that we choose that supports our use of the space and activities generated by WSDC. Donating is not expected or required. The attendance sheet is kept in order to provide numbers for The ShepherdÂ’s Center, which is a requirement for their funding. In the meditation area you will find chairs stacked along the wall for your use, or you may bring your own preferred seating, including a meditation cushion.

Members of our community come from a variety of practice traditions, or none at all, so there is no standard form of meditation practiced by everyone in the group. We generally sit in a circle and ask that you sit quietly and remain as still as possible during the silent meditations so as not to disrupt the practice of others. We start at 6:30pm with announcements and information pertinent to our community. This is followed by a sharing of our names in order to acknowledge each person in attendance with gratitude. At the sound of the bell we begin our 30 minute silent sitting practice. The bell then marks the end of the silent 30 minute sit and after a few moments of stretching out any stiffness there is a progression to a 10 minute walking meditation. The walk is performed slowly in a clockwise rotation behind the circle of seating. After the walking meditation ending bell everyone walks in the circle at a regular pace back to their original seat to begin the evening's scheduled Dharma program. The evening concludes at 8pm.

The Winston-Salem Dharma Community is an open and welcoming community which supports all living beings on their Path.

meditation seating circle

First time meditators and visitors

For those with little or no meditation experience, here are a few suggestions. If you are using a cushion, sit on the front edge with legs crossed and hands in a comfortable position. If you sit on a chair, it is best to sit on the front edge without resting against the back with both feet flat on the floor. Sit upright with the spine erect - relaxed, not stiff - and imagine a string being pulled from the top of your head to the ceiling. You may close your eyes or leave them slightly open. Breathe naturally and use your awareness of the breath as an anchor to the present moment. You may focus on the rising and falling of the abdomen or the breath entering and exiting at the tip of your nose. Either way, just bring your full attention to the in-breath and out-breath. One standard practice for beginners is to silently count each out breath up to "ten" and then start over. If you lose count, simply start over with "one". When your attention wanders, simply note this and gently bring your attention back to the breath.

Walking meditation is mindfullness in motion. The pace is very deliberate. Think of taking one small step with each breath. You may choose to focus on the sensations in the soles of your feet, your bodily sensations, or your breath. When your mind wanders, bring your attention gently back to your chosen object of attention.