Can I really visit a temple?

Yes, yes. A thousand times yes. Most places don’t even have the concept of member, let alone require you to be one to participate.

For the most part, people living in western countries who are from Buddhist cultures are really excited to meet converts. Monks and nuns especially love to see people who have made a conscious choice to become Buddhists, just as they have made a conscious choice to become monastics.

Every temple or monastery will have a certain “culture” that you will need to adapt to, even if most people there are themselves converts. Learning to fit in is part of being a good guest and will ensure you get as much benefit as possible. Do your homework and people will surely forgive any initial faux-pas.

Your turn… Did you have apprehensions about visiting a temple or monastery for the first time? How did it work out?