Buddha Bodhivana Monastery
Buddha Bodhivana Monastery is a branch monastery of the late Phra Bodhinyana Thera (Venerable Ajahn Chah b.1918 d.1992), the well-known and respected north-east Thai Meditation Master. Venerable Ajahn Kalyano is the Abbot of the monastery and resident teacher. He entered the community of monks at Venerable Ajahn Chah’s monastery, Wat Nong Pa Pong in 1985 and in March 1991 went to practice under the guidance of Venerable Ajahn Anan, a senior disciple of Venerable Ajahn Chah.
In 1998, Venerable Ajahn Anan and Venerable Ajahn Kalyano were invited to teach meditation in a number of different venues in Australia. During the visit to Melbourne they met a group of Buddhists who subsequently came together with the aim to purchase a forested property suitable for a monastery where monks could live and train. The group formed the Victoria Sangha Association and after considerable time spent in searching for an appropriate site, the members found a forested property of 75 acres situated on the edge of the Yarra Ranges National Park, 80km east of central Melbourne.
The purchase of the new land for the monastery in Melbourne was initiated by Bee Lian Soo and completed by Jeffrey Tan, the President of the Victoria Sangha Association. Both Jeffrey and Bee Lian travelled to Thailand to offer the Certificate of Title for the land to Venerable Ajahn Anan at Wat Marp Jun on 5 December 2000, the occasion of the late Thai King, Bhumiphol Adulyadej’s birthday. Subsequently, Venerable Ajahn Anan, Venerable Ajahn Kalyano and Jeffrey Tan travelled to Ubon and formally offered the title deed of the new land to Venerable Luang Por Liem, the Spiritual Head of Venerable Ajahn Chah’s community of monks on 6 January 2001, the anniversary of Luang Por Chah’s passing away. In April 2001, Venerable Ajahn Kalyano travelled to Melbourne to take up residence on the newly offered land, and the Victorian Sangha Association assumed its current role as the management committee for Buddha Bodhivana Monastery.
Buddha Bodhivana Monastery is primarily a training monastery for Buddhist monks (bhikkhus), novices (samaneras) and postulants (anagarikas), but it also provides a supportive environment in which individuals, families, visitors and residents are given the opportunity to be in contact with the principles of the Buddha’s teachings and to cultivate those same qualities in their own lives. The monastery is a place to study, practice and cultivate the central elements of the Buddha’s Path: generosity, virtue, mental cultivation, wisdom, and compassion.
The monastery is both a dwelling place for a resident community and a sanctuary for those who visit regularly and provides a spiritual presence in the world. The goal is to serve these functions through monastic training and freely share the fruits of this practice.
The Sangha (community of monks and novices) lives according to the Vinaya, the code of monastic discipline established by the Buddha. In accordance with this discipline, the monastics are alms-mendicants, living lives of celibacy and frugality. Above all, this training is a means of living mindfully and reflectively and is a guide to keeping one’s needs to a minimum: a set of robes, an alms bowl, one meal a day, medicine when ill, and a sheltered place for meditation and rest.
The Vinaya (monks discipline) creates a firm bond between the Sangha and the general public. One reason for this is that without the daily offering of alms food and the long-term support of ordinary people, the Sangha cannot survive. By committing to the training the Sangha provides an example that is worthy of support. This relationship creates a framework within which generosity, compassion, and mutual encouragement can grow.
For the monastic Sangha, the dependence upon others encourages a lifestyle that is based on faith and requires constant development of the qualities of contentment and humility. For those who support the Sangha, the opportunity to give and share provides occasions for generosity and a joyful and direct participation in the spiritual life. The Sangha offers spiritual guidance by teaching Dhamma and through their example as dedicated and committed monastics living the holy life.