Female Guest Guidelines
Guests observe the 8 Precepts throughout their stay without exception
1. Not to intentionally kill any living beings (including ants and mosquitoes)
2. Not to steal
3. Complete celibacy (abstinence from any sexual activity in actions or words)
4. Not to lie
5. Not to consume alcohol or any drugs causing intoxication
6. Not to take any food from noon until next dawn Eating is restricted to a light breakfast at 6.00am & meal at 10.30am. Juice (no pulp),
tea or coffee (no milk), honey/sugar, some dark chocolate, can be consumed
in the afternoon if available.
7. No dancing, singing, music, entertainment, garlands, perfumes, cosmetics,
makeup, jewellery, ornaments. No smartphone/internet use except in real
8. Not to use high or luxurious beds/furniture (to refrain from over-indulgence in sleep)
Sleeping on 'Therm-a-Rest' inflatable camping mattress on plain, flat beds
Dhammagiri Forest Hermitage is primarily a residence for Bhikkhus (Buddhist monks)
in the lineage of Ajahn Chah and comparable lineages in the wider Theravada Forest
Tradition. We are not a business or an institution commercially catering to customers,
like a hotel or hostel or a 'Retreat Center'. The monks, supported by the lay community,
make the opportunity available for retreatants to stay as their guests in the monastery.
Thus a retreat could be compared to staying at someone's private home as a guest,
except that the 'home' extends over 85 acres, and residents live in separate buildings.
No payment is required (voluntary donations are, of course, always possible), and guests
accept facilities as available.
Dhammagiri is part of the 'Forest Tradition', with emphasis on simplicity and renunciation
Facilities are generally simple and plain. We can not accommodate minors under 18 years.
Only two female retreatants can be accommodated in the two female retreat rooms inside
the Dhammahall. Minimum length for one booking is three days, maximum is two weeks.
Under present conditions, it would not be suitable for one woman to stay alone in the
Dhammahall. Thus, all bookings require two women to stay together for the whole retreat.
If you do not have a co-retreatant, our female retreat coordinator may be able to help you
find one. Please also contact her for any other questions regarding your retreat at:
04.30am: Wakeup (voluntary, one may get up earlier)
04.45am: Private Morning Chanting/Meditation
06.00am: Breakfast. For simplicity, breakfast is limited to cereals with milk or soy milk, to
be eaten out of a single bowl. No special diets can be accommodated.
If no male retreatants are staying, offer breakfast items to monks at the top of
the hill at 06.00 am (6:20 am in winter) before taking breakfast yourself.
06.45am: Work period: Shrine to be cleaned daily (dusting; change/remove old flowers).
Any other cleaning according to need. Please remember other people will be
using some facilities during Dana time.
09.00am: Personal Time
10.00am: Silent meditation in own room, or interview with senior monk. If you require an
interview, please let the senior monk know the day before.
10.30am: Join offering of rice at Almsoffering. Then take almsfood from buffet right after
the monks and male retreatants. Take all food in one bowl or plate, and eat
quietly in own room in noble silence. No need to interact/talk with lay visitors,
except to help them to carry or arrange almsfood if they are elderly or weak.
Do not cook/prepare food for the main meal. Part of the monastic experience
is to depend only on the daily food offerings of the laity, and to be content with
whatever food is offered. No special food requirements or diets can be
11.45am: If you wish, you can join the Dhamma discussion with supporters.
01.00pm: Suggested rest period
02.30pm: Meditation practice, alternating sitting and walking periods. The verandahs
offer excellent opportunities for walking meditation.
06.00pm: Evening drink (voluntary): Fruit juice/tea/coffee (no milk) / herbal infusions. For
those who feel weak, honey /dark chocolate /candies/ jelly beans can be taken.
07.00pm: Buddha Puja in shrine room (voluntary), or else continue individual meditation, or
study of suttas/Dhamma books, or listen to audio Dhammatalks
09.30pm: Retire to own room
Except for breakfast, chores & main meal, this schedule is flexible and can be adopted by
experienced meditators to suit their individual needs. If in doubt, discuss with the senior monk.
Saturdays 07.30-08.30am: Join small group taking Triple Refuge & 8 or 5 Precepts
Sundays 03.00-05.00pm: Join Meditation Session & Dhamma discussion.
There can be additional programs/working bees for major Buddhist occasions like Vesak, or
Western holidays like Xmas & New Year, or for visiting senior monks.
Be mindful that you are living in the Dhammahall with main Buddha statue & relics. Please
practise restraint regarding speech, and always maintain a quiet, meditative atmosphere.
If you need to discuss any practical issues with your co-retreatant (e.g. how to share cleaning
chores), do so right after breakfast. Dhamma discussion can be done after evening drinks,
if your co-retreatant agrees, but do not discuss worldly subjects. Please observe noble silence
at all other times It is not possible to receive visitors during the retreat.
You can practise together in the Shrine Room (except while the monks are there from
10.00am to 12.45pm), or individually in your own rooms, or on the verandahs for walking
Food is consumed mindfully in noble silence. Weather permitting, please eat in your own
rooms or verandah at breakfast and lunch. For simplicity & restraint, we eat from one single
plate or bowl), without second helpings.
The monks use the Dhammahall only during mealtime, and for regular sessions on Saturdays
Check in time is at meal time from 10am - 12pm. At check-in, please pay respects to the senior
monk in the Dhammahall and receive the keys.
The monks and several members of the lay community have keys to the Dhammahall. However,
if you bolt the door to your room and the glass sliding door nobody can enter
Please inform the senior monk before leaving the monastery for any reason. Before departure,
make sure your room is clean and monastery linen has been thoroughly cleaned and dried,
and all monastery property is returned to where you found it.
Mobile phones must be switched off at all times, except to make a call in a genuine emergency
(e.g. fire, burglar, medical emergency). There is only Telstra mobile reception in and around the Dhammahall. Other providers may be available further up the hill. Please do not send or receive messages or email, or access the internet, except with special permission of the senior monk.
We live in the Australian bush, which means:
One can encounter Australian creepy-crawlies like poisonous snakes & spiders, stinging
plants, or our cute (but rather big) Carpet-Pythons. Keep eyes open and be always mindful
where you step or what you touch outside, and always use a torch/flashlight at night outside,
and keep screen doors closed. It is hot and in summer (December to March), with strong
sunlight/UV. However, even in hot weather guests are required to dress modestly: No shorts,
singlets, open midriff or revealing clothes. Outside, use sun protection as required.
Winter (June to August) can be cold, with temperatures dropping to light frost at the bottom
of the hill on the coldest days. However, even in winter most days reach around 20°C in the
afternoon. There can be fire danger, especially in spring or anytime if there is drought.
However, we have a very safe, state-of-the-art fire bunker for unlikely worst case scenarios.
Before booking a retreat, prior attendance at our Sunday afternoon meditation sessions,
and participation in the 'Full Moon Practice Day' on Sundays closest to the full
moon is usually required.
Exceptions are possible for those from overseas or interstate, or those who have experience
in monasteries in the same traditional lineage of Ajahn Chah or similar Theravada Forest
Tradition. Due to the mostly solitary practice at Dhammagiri, an established regular meditation practice is strongly recommended, in order to benefit from your stay.
Good mental and decent physical health are required for retreats at Dhammagiri.
Due to the solitary nature of our retreats, and intensive personal meditation practice, our
retreats are not usually suitable for those presently undergoing treatment for any mental
disorder. In case of previous treatments in the past, or any doubts regarding mental health, it
is recommended you consult a mental health specialist prior to considering a retreat, and
follow his or her recommendations.
This list is not to be understood as exhaustive or definitive in all details (except for 8 Precepts),
but may receive adjustments, additions, or exceptions by the senior monk at his discretion.
The schedule, training and routines at the monastery are laid down by the abbot, and guests
follow his instructions in this regard.
By booking, you declare that you are aware of the above, and any other risks associated with
living in the Australian bush, and that you're happy to stay at Dhammagiri at your own risk, and
to abide by all guidelines.
Wishing you a peaceful, blissful, and insightful retreat.
May all beings be happy and at ease!