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Overnight Visits

The monastery has a small amount of accommodation available for men interested in learning about the monks’ life. 

All those wishing to stay in the monastery are required to keep the eight precepts and follow the monastic training rules and daily schedule outlined in the pages below.

Please consider that a stay in a Buddhist monastery is best not undertaken hurriedly. To truly benefit from the experience requires an investment of time and forethought on behalf of both guests and hosts. To that end Buddha Bodhivana Monastery requires that:

  1. All visitors stay for a minimum of 3 nights 
  2. Guests provide at least 7 days notice in advance of their proposed stay.
  3. Guests arrive no later than 6pm on the first day of their stay.

New guests with no experience of staying in monasteries may apply for an initial stay of three nights only. Guests new to Buddha Bodhivana Monastery but with prior experience of staying in monasteries may request longer stays on the condition that the first three nights are probationary with the subsequent nights stay granted depending that the first three unfold to the satisfaction of the community.

Those who wish to continue the training with the possibility of taking ordination as a monk arrange longer stays at the discretion of the community.

Sangha wishing to stay overnight must receive an invitation from the senior monk at least 7 days prior to their intended stay.

Furthermore…

  • The monastery currently only provides training for male monastics. 
  • Children under the age of eighteen are unable to stay overnight in the monastery.

Please now take the time to carefully read the information below before requesting to stay.

General

Buddha Bodhivana Monastery was established by the Victorian Sangha Association as a place for training Buddhist monks in the monastic traditions, regulations and standards of Wat Nong Pah Pong, Thailand. It’s assumed that guests applying to stay at the monastery have an interest in training in a monastic context and are therefore willing to observe these standards in order to experience how a monastic culture deepens spiritual practice. To that end the lifestyle of a lay-guest is modeled, as near as possible, on that of a monastic resident and emphasises respect, simplicity and goodwill – qualities that create a solid basis for tranquility and insight meditation.

That training begins with lay guests undertaking the intention to uphold the Eight Moral Precepts, and is continued  through the sharing of a single main meal that is offered daily to the monastic community (breakfast is available, however, to sustain people in the morning work period). Participation in all morning and evening meditation meetings cultivates concentration, while utilizing the periods designated for personal practice will deepen that commitment to developing meditation and wisdom. 

Guests are asked to develop an attitude of simplicity and mindfulness by not using phones or internet while visiting. If one feels they cannot be separated from their laptop or phone, they may contemplate whether now is the appropriate time to enter retreat.

Out of consideration for residents and visitors, particularly children, and to prevent the risk of bushfire, Buddha Bodhivana requests that you kindly refrain from smoking.

Question and answer sessions can be requested with the abbot or other monks, but such meetings may be infrequent depending on the availability of senior monks. Those interested in learning more about the Buddhist path and meditation practice may inquire about the monastery’s complimentary dhamma books and CDs, and make use of the Lay Guests’ Library.

People from both Buddhist and non-Buddhist backgrounds who have not been exposed to the monastic discipline of the Therevadin Forest traditions or to the way of practice found in Venerable Ajahn Chah’s monastery, may find the discipline and customs unfamiliar. To gain a deeper understanding and sensitivity to the various conventions of monastic life, please ensure you read the Monastery Etiquette section.

Monastery Etiquette

A Guide to Monastic Etiquette at Buddha Bodhivana Monastery

The standards of practice at Buddha Bodhivana Monastery are in keeping with those exemplified in the monasteries of Wat Nong Pah Pong and Wat Marp Jan, Thailand, and follow closely the traditions established by Luang Por Chah. To live with a community dedicated to maintaining these traditions of virtue, meditation and wisdom is a rare opportunity and guests are asked to show their appreciation by carefully observing monastery rules and guidelines.

Understandably, people from non-Buddhist backgrounds may find the discipline and customs unfamiliar. The following is therefore intended as a guide for laypeople staying at Buddha Bodhivana Monastery in the hope that it will provide greater understanding and sensitivity to the various conventions of monastic life.

Monastic Etiquette

Buddhist monasteries have certain social conventions and body language meant to convey a sense of composure, grace, and respect. Observing them helps foster harmony amongst community members, and assists them in their training in mindfulness and circumspection in everyday social interactions.

Please bear in mind that that many monks are originally from non-Buddhist backgrounds and fully understand when newcomers are uncertain about the monastic etiquette and protocol. It’s helpful to recall that courtesy and respect form the basis of monastery etiquette, and that a well-intentioned attitude in keeping with these virtues is ultimately what counts.

 Monastic Code

The Vinaya is the code of monastic discipline established by the Buddha and is closely followed at Buddha Bodhivana Monastery. It facilitates a respectful relationship with laypeople without whose daily support the Saṇgha could not continue. Monks are prohibited from possessing money and from storing food. They are completely dependent on the laity for many simple things, such as the preparation and offering of food, pruning foliage, and digging in the earth.

Respectfulness

In monasteries, an emphasis is placed on establishing harmony through mindfulness and a consideration for others. Guests are invited to share in these observances of beautiful behavior and sensitivity.

Before entering a shrine room or living space, it is necessary to remove one’s shoes. Although visitors are not obliged to, there is the custom of bowing to the shrine or teacher. The triple bow, to the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṇgha, is usually done upon entering or leaving the meditation hall. At the end of a formal meditation period, respect is given to the senior monk with a triple bow. When in the meditation hall, concern should be taken in moving with as little noise as possible. When sitting, one should avoid lolling or lying down, and sitting with one’s back against the wall, especially during a Dhamma talk. Care should be taken not to point the feet at the shrine or at other people generally, as this can be considered impolite.

When offering something to a monk or speaking with them, one should not stand over them but rather approach them at the same level at which they are sitting.

Out of consideration for residents and visitors, particularly children, and to prevent the risk of bushfire, Buddha Bodhivana requests that you kindly refrain from smoking during your stay.

 Offering

Monks are allowed to collect and consume their daily meal in the period between dawn and noon. Anything they intend to eat or drink, except water, must be formally offered into the hands or placed on or into something in direct contact with the hands.

Food and Drink

Visitors share in the meal offered to the monastic community by the laity.  In keeping with Buddhist tradition and ethic of simplicity, monks and lay guests generally eat only one meal a day, though breakfast may be taken before that daily work period. As the monastery receives food as a gift, it is unable to cater to special diets. Lay guests are not allowed to store food and drinks in their rooms or help themselves to food or drink from the kitchen outside the scheduled times.

Relationships

In our tradition, monks lead lives of total celibacy. This includes refraining from suggestive speech or physical contact with lustful intent, both of which are serious offenses against the Vinaya discipline. To avoid this and to prevent gossip or misunderstanding from arising, a monk has to be accompanied by another male whenever he is engaging in a long conversation with a woman.

Guests and visitors are asked to be sensitive to the proper mode of conduct for men and women within a monastic setting. Like the monks male guests, too, are practicing celibacy. Therefore it is not appropriate for them to engage in long or intimate conversations with female visitors either in person or via phone or email.

 Terms of Address

The abbot is usually addressed as “Luang Por” (a Thai word which means “venerable father”). Any monk who has been ordained for at least ten years may be referred to as “Ajahn” (a Thai word derived from the Pāli word Ācariya meaning “teacher”). Other monks can be addressed as “Venerable” or the Thai equivalent, “Tan.” Any monk, senior or junior can be called “Bhante,” a more general term of respect. These polite designations may or may not be followed by the ordained name of the individual (e.g. “Tan Akaliko” or “Bhante Akaliko”)

Añjali and Bowing

“Añjali”’ is a gesture of respect. The hands are held together in prayer-like fashion raised to the slightly lowered forehead. To bow correctly, kneel with the buttocks on the heels and with the hands in añjali. Bring the palms to the floor about four inches apart, then bring the forehead down to touch between the palms, the elbows close to the knees. Bow three times.

The Eight Precepts

Building on the standard Five Precepts, The Buddha developed the Eight Precepts to provide lay practitioners with the conditions conducive to a more direct path towards liberation.

Lay people who stay in the monastery overnight are asked to observe the following precepts:

  1. To undertake the precept to refrain from taking the life of any living creature.
  2. To undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
  3. To undertake the precept to refrain from any kind of sexual activity.
  4. To undertake the precept to refrain from false and harmful speech (which includes harsh, divisive, and frivolous speech).
  5. To undertake the precept to refrain from consuming intoxicating drink and drugs that lead to carelessness.
  6. To undertake the precept to refrain from eating at inappropriate times (i.e. refraining from eating after midday, and from consuming afternoon allowables outside the desiganted times).
  7. To undertake the precept to refrain from entertainment (this includes listening to music, and streaming internet videos), beautification and adornment.
  8. To undertake the precept to refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place.

What to Bring

Guests are encouraged to bring their own bedding (e.g. sheets and pillowcase) or sleeping bag, and towel. However if this is not possible the monastery can arrange bed-linen provided it is washed and dried by the guest before leaving. 

Clothing should be functional and modest, covering both the shoulders and knees, and ideally made of white material or muted tones (e.g. black, brown, grey). Revealing clothing such as shorts or singlets, or items with provocative logos and designs, are not appropriate to wear in a Buddhist monastery.

A second set of clothes for wearing during the work periods is also advisable, however the monastery can loan some items if required, provided they’re washed and dried by the guest before leaving. 

A pair of light slip-on shoes are ideal for walking between buildings and a second pair of sturdy work shoes or boots are necessary.

Warm clothing and wet-weather gear is essential all year round.

You may wish to bring your own meditation cushion or meditation stool, however a small number are available in the monastery.

Guests should bring their own flashlight, batteries, alarm clock, toiletries and other personal effects.

All food and beverages are provided at the monastery. However given that the monastery receives food as a gift, it is unable to cater to special diets.

Daily Schedule

4:30am – 6:00am Morning Chanting
6:00am Breakfast preparation
6:30am Breakfast
7:00am -10:00am Work Period
10:00am – 10:30am Assist with meal preparation
10:30am Alms round and rice offering
10:45am Blessing and meal
11: 15am Assist with kitchen clean-up
11:45am – 12:30pm Dhamma talk/Questions and answers with senior monk
12:30pm – 5:30pm Individual Practice
5:30pm Evening drink preparation
6:00pm Evening drink
7:00pm Evening meditation, chanting, and occasional Dhamma teaching
8:30pm – 10:00pm Individual Practice

Please Note: Schedule is provisional only and varies according to seasons and the discretion of the Abbot.

Requesting to Stay

Please Note: Email is reserved solely for making requests to stay at the monastery. We are unable to respond to other enquiries. Please visit our Contact page for further information.

If you wish to request a three-night stay at the monastery please make sure you’ve read the website thoroughly before emailing the Guest Monk at:

bodhivana.guestmonk@gmail.com

Please provide the proposed dates of your stay along with the following information:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Contact details
  • Where you are traveling from
  • A description of any previous experience with meditation, following precepts, and staying in a monastery
  • Physical restrictions of any kind
  • Information about any medication you take for physical or mental well-being.

Please allow several days for a reply containing our Guest Information and the Important Information forms. Take the time to read these forms carefully to ensure you understand the requirements of staying in a monastery. Return the completed forms to the above address or via postal mail.

Once the forms have been checked and approved, the monastery will reply confirming your stay at the monastery.

Please do not make reservations more than two months in advance of the date you wish to arrive.

Finally, we ask that you please do not request a stay unless you have a sincere commitment to follow through. If you have to cancel for any reason please inform us immediately.