Male Guest Guidelines
Guests observe the 8 Precepts throughout their stay without exception:
Not to intentionally kill any living beings
(including ants, mozzies and so on)
Not to steal
Complete celibacy -
Abstinence from any sexual activity in action or words
Not to lie
Not to consume alcohol or any drugs causing intoxication
Not to take any solid food from noon till dawn.
Eating is restricted to a light breakfast at 6.00 am (later in winte)
and meal at 10.30 am. Juice with no pulp, tea/coffee without milk, honey /sugar,
some dark chocolate can be consumed in the afternoon, if available
No dancing, singing, music, entertainment, garlands, perfumes, cosmetics, makeup, jewellery, ornaments.
No smart phone/internet use (occasional access if required for important communication is possible).
Not to use high or luxurious beds/furniture. Sleeping on 'ThermoRest' inflatable camping mattress on the floor
Dhammagiri Forest Hermitage is 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 for 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 visiting someone at their house and staying at their private home as a guest - except that the 'home' extends over 85 acres, and one does not live in rooms, but in solitary, simple huts ('Kuti'). 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 of sensuality.
Facilities are generally simple and plain. Accommodation is in simple 'kutis' (demountable huts) with no ensuite (toilet/bathroom available only in central location). We depend on the daily food offerings of the laity, and train to be content with whatever food is offered. No special food requirements /diets can be accommodated.
Wake up (voluntary - one may get up earlier)
Private Morning Chanting / Meditation in Kuti
Sweeping & preparing breakfast ( later in winter)
Offering breakfast to the monks followed by eating breakfast (later in winter)
Questions to senior monk, if required. Some work / chores in the morning, if and as required
Help set up Dhammahall for daily meal offering
Join offering of rice at almsoffering. Then take almsfood from buffet right after the monks.Take all food in to one bowl/plate, and eat quietly in noble silence away from other lay visitors. No need to interact/talk with lay visitors, except to help them carrying/arranging almsfoood in case they are elderly/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 accommodated
Help with Bowl washing / CleanUp
If you wish, you can join the Dhamma discussion with supporters, unless they have some private issue to discuss. Sometimes chaperoning is required if no male visitor is present
Solitary meditation / study / chanting in Kuti The Dhammahall can be used if no female meditators are staying. Otherwise please respect the privacy of the female retreatants by not entering the Dhammahall area un-necessarily
07.30 - 08.30 am Saturdays:
Join small group taking Triple Refuge & 8 Precepts
03.00 - 05.00 pm Sundays:
Join Meditation Session & Dhamma discussion. There can be additional programs / working bees for major Buddhist occasions like Vesak or Western holidays like Christmas & New Year, or for visiting senior monks.
We live in the Australian bush, which means:
One can potentially 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, and always use a torch / flashlight at night, and keep screen doors closed. It is hot and humid in summer (December to March), with strong sunlight / UV. Use sun protection as required. Winter (June to August) can be a bit 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 any time if there is drought. However, we have a very safe, state-of-the-art fire bunker for worst case scenarios (which are unlikely anyhow).
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 tradition (lineage of Ajahn Chah) or similar tradition (Theravada Forest Tradition). Due to the mostly solitary practice at Dhammagiri, an established regular meditation practice is strongly recommended in order to benefit from the stay as guest.
Good mental and decent physical health are required. There is a steep hill to climb every day.
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 the case of previous treatments in the past, or any doubts regarding mental health, it is recommended to 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 or additions / exceptions by the senior monk at his discretion.
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!