Buddhist monastery and time to reflect.

Most of you know that I have been an avid student of Buddhist teaching lately. I have been reading from all different traditions.

Theravāda ( linked to the“Hīnayāna”/ “Southern” school)

 Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia

Texts in Pal

East Asian tradition (Mahāyāna) (“Eastern”)

China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam

 Texts in Chines

Tibetan tradition (Vajrayāna) (“Northern”)

Tibet, Mongolia, Nepal

Texts in Tibetan (and Mongolian)

  • 1 The term “Buddhism” refers to a vast and complex religious and philosophical tradition with a history that stretches over some 2,500 years. Geographically it takes in the greater part of Asia.
  • Living Buddhism divides into three broad traditions. All three traditions look back to ancient Buddhism in the land of India. India was the homeland of Buddhism but it died out there over 500 years ago. (DEFINE C.E. and BCE).

It is one thing to study traditions academically but totally different to experience them. I have been looking around for some time now. My search has been for a Buddhist community I could meet and get involved in. I have looked at the meditation centres, even interstate ones. I have visited a couple temples here in Victoria and truthfully, nothing has really resonated with me in terms of wanting to participate or get to know them more.

Recently I found a Buddhist forest monastery here in Victoria. Its only one and a half hours from my place. I contacted them and it has the minimum of two-week visits and mostly for monastics i.e monks and nuns. They do allow some lay people like myself and I am fortunate enough to be able to stay for two weeks in August. I am excited about my submersion into there Monastics lives. It was fascinating how I found this place and even more interesting how I got permission and acceptance to stay there.

I contacted them and they have a strict screening process. I sent off all my profession files and i.d, as usual, using a link to my files on Google Drive. They accepted me and I was thrilled until I disclosed I was Vegan and they told me they do not do dietary requirements because they live on donations from the community. It said, “vegetarian” on their website and I thought Vegan would not be much more of a hassle. However, vegan is no animal products at all of course. So, I emailed the accommodation officer and said, “I will have to cancel because I have been vegan for many years now and am not willing to compromise. “

To my surprise about a week late they got back to me and said, “can I bring my own food that does not need cooking.” I said, “I can have a prepared meal in the disposable 300mil container to reheat. ( This suited them.) I have done this many times when I go away to stay and work. I just cook simple bean, lentils and curry dishes and freeze them. I will use their rice and other Vegan option of course. They only eat breakfast and lunch anyway, Breakfast is oats cereal and toast fruit etc. I was surprised and excited about the compromise. They also supply soy milk. This is my day when I am staying at the monastery below.

04:30am

Wake and rise unless ill. One can always get up earlier.

05.00am

Chanting followed by Group Meditation.

06:30am

Personal time (unless on breakfast preparation).

06.45am

Breakfast and Clean–up.

07.30am

Work meeting and work.

10:15am

Stop work & clean–up.

10.45am

Main meal & clean–up. One monastic will remain to speak to laity after dana unless gender requirements for chaperone are not met (ie. One monk with one laywoman or one nun with one layman).

12:15pm or 12:30pm

Dhamma talk or Q&A with a monastic (monk or nun).

01.00pm

Personal time.

06.00pm

Evening drinks & allowable

07.00pm

Group meditation.

Wednesdays: recorded talk

Saturdays: Sutta discussion

08:30pm

Personal time.

There is no charge to stay and no suggested donation. They rely on donations to keep the doors open and I will work out a figure when I come home. I will have my own room with a bathroom to my surprise. I will blog my whole experience when returned. I will have no technology when I am there, I am leaving it all home. They have strict rules anyway about this and I decided to just go without it. They lead a disciplined life and the rules are specific. I will not get into all this now. However, I will fill you in on the details without disclosing the location or monastery publically.

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