Buddhist Meditation Retreats at Dhammagiri
Dhammagiri provides the opportunity for guests to stay at the monastery, and to experience the monastic livestyle.
As a hermitage, Dhammagiri has an emphasis on solitary meditation practice.
Better than to live a hundred years without wisdom, uncontrolled, is life for a single day wise and meditative.
Dhammapada Verse #111
But there's also group meditation and Dhamma discussions on Sunday afternoon & Saturday mornings, and opportunites to ask questions and discuss your meditation with the resident monks. If you like, you can also join the regular Dhamma discussions after the meal.
There are also some daily chores with sweeping, offering breakfast to the monks, preparing the Dhammahall for the almsoffering, and keeping things tidy. All that is usually restricted to the morning, and the time after the main meal until next morning for breakfast is free for enjoying seclusion.
However, if you're finding it difficult to keep the mind focussed internally for many hours every day, and like to contribute more actively, then there are also opportunities to help out with some small or larger projects.
Experience in meditation is required, as we're not offering structured group retreats. It wouldn't really work as an introduction to meditation, as you will be alone in your 'Kuṭi' (meditation cabin) or room, and need to have some idea how to train your mind in solitude on your own. However, that doesn't mean that we're expecting our guests to spend all the time in formal meditation
Instead, we recommend a balanced approach combining:
Sitting meditation 🧘♂️
Walking meditation 🚶♀️
Listening to Dhamma Talks or Chanting 👂 🎧
Studying the original Teaching of the Buddha in the Pali Canon (there's excellent English translations available) 📖
Reading Dhamma Books 📚
Going for Walks in the adjacent National Park 🌄
Or just watching the sunset 🌇 or the beautiful night sky 🌃
Or relaxing mindfully with a cup of nice green tea 🍵
After more than a quarter century in robes, Forest Tradition lifestyle has become just natural for me; but I realize that the first time going to stay in a Forest Monastery can perhaps be a bit scary
Please don't worry too much!
If you're interested, but have some doubts if it would work for you, I'd suggest to just give it a try 🙂.
What's to lose by staying a couple of days in beautiful nature?
Over the last 15 years, we've had lay guests from various national backgrounds, many travelling a long way from interstate and overseas, even repeatedly, just to stay at Dhammagiri:
Queensland, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Canada, Thailand, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Austria, Japan, China, USA, India, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, UK, Germany...
"These roots of trees are lovely and inspiring, quiet and undisturbed by voices, with an atmosphere of seclusion, remote from people, favourable for retreat."
The Buddha, Majjhima Nikaya/Middle Length Discourses #89
Or else, just drop in to one of our regular sessions, to get a feel for Dhammagiri. Once you have a look around, and meet the monks and members of our friendly lay community, staying as a guest will be quite an easy and natural progression:
Here's the testimony of UQ student Eng Boon, one of our recent guests, perhaps you'll find it encouraging:
"I highly recommend a retreat at Dhammagiri Forest Hermitage. It is such a peaceful and tranquil environment conducive for practice. Being in an environment with practising monks and laypeople really keeps the mind anchored on the Dhamma.
On top of that, weekly events such as the Saturday group meditation and Sunday Dhamma Talks with others in the Buddhist community allowed me to be in the company of like-minded friends who support and encourage each other, thus deepening my understanding and motivation to practice
Being situated in the middle of nature really helped lighten my mind from the daily hustle and bustle of life outside of retreat, especially the amazing sunrise and sunsets from the kuti. This made it easier for me to be able to quieten the mind down and practise meditation more readily than in my day-to-day life.
Furthermore, the library offers an amazing spread of Dhamma resources from which I could learn, explore and clarify my understanding with the resident monks should any arise while reading. The monks were also really helpful in advice with regards to meditation practice.
Overall, it was an amazing and enjoyable experience for me, during my 5-day and 6-day stays here on two separate occasions.
If you're interested in long term stays, there's opportunities for that as well - we've had guests staying for a whole year at Dhammagiri.
If you like to come, just fill in one of our application forms, which you can find here:
Looking forward to seeing you soon at Dhammagiri
With Mettā & Muditā
"Live enjoying seclusion...live delighting in seclusion, engage in practicing inner mental tranquility, not neglecting meditation, possessing insight, and frequenting empty dwellings."
The Buddha, Itivuttaka #45