Amaravati Buddhist Monastery is a community of monks and nuns practising in the Theravada tradition. Lay people, Buddhist and others, are also welcome to visit or stay here as guests, and live with the monastic community.
The place is open from the early morning, when the community gathers for the morning meditation, until after the evening meditation. The gates are open from 6.30 am until 9.30 pm, or sometimes later if there is a meditation vigil. If you are new to the tradition, or it is your first visit, you may like to come around late morning. This is when we gather to receive the meal and there are usually other visitors or monastics available for asking questions. Or, you could join in one of the meditation workshops held every Saturday afternoon.
Visitors come from all over the world. Some come for a few hours or for the day; others stay for a weekend, a few days, or longer. Perhaps they bring an offering, or want to learn meditation, or to have a time of refuge from the stresses of the world. Amaravati provides the opportunity to deepen their understanding of Buddhism and of themselves, in an environment that encourages peaceful reflection.
There is also a separate retreat facility at Amaravati, with a programme of short and long retreats. These are group retreats held mostly in silence, with a routine which emphasises formal meditation instruction and practice. For information visit the Retreat Centre section.
The day begins and ends with silent contemplation together; there are also periods of working meditation and some time for individual practice and for attending to personal needs. Following such a routine can be an excellent support for bringing awareness into our hearts and applying it in our daily life.
Morning meeting – silent meditation and chanting.
Daily clean-up – chores in the main area of the monastery.
Breakfast – usually tea and porridge or cereal.
Work period – chores and general maintenance of the monastery, helping in the kitchen, etc.
Meal Offering – from Nov–March: 10.45 am Monday to Saturday & 10.30 am on Sunday
from April–Oct: 11:30 am Monday to Saturday & 11.15 am on Sunday
Washing up and tidying in the kitchen, followed by personal practice – individual meditation and study time.
7:30 – 8:40 pm
Evening meeting – chanting and silent meditation.
(There are no evening meetings on the days before and after the lunar observance day).
Schedule during the lunar observance days
The lunar observance days correspond to the phases of the moon (full moon, etc.). There is no morning group meditation on lunar observance days; most work projects are suspended and the day is devoted to quiet reflection. The evening meeting schedule is as follows:
Chanting and silent meditation.
8:30 pm until midnight.
Taking the Three Refuges and Eight Precepts by laypeople.
Dhamma talk (reflections on the teachings) for about one hour.
Meditation vigil until midnight.
This event is open to everyone; you are free to join in for as much of the evening as you wish. The lunar observance days are listed on our calendar; a calendar for a full year can be downloaded from the Forest Sangha website.
Weekly meditation workshop – Saturdays, 2–4 pm
Every Saturday there is a meditation workshop between 2 and 4pm. This is usually held in the Temple, but sometimes in the main Sala. The workshops, led by a sangha member, offer instruction in sitting and walking meditation and the opportunity to ask questions on practice. There is no charge for attending and no booking is necessary. These events are listed on our calendar.
Annual winter retreat – January through March
Every year the monastic community observes a retreat from the beginning of January until the end of March. During this time overnight accommodation is not available for guests, but it is possible to join the winter retreat lay support team for a month or longer. For more information, please contact the guest monk or nun (applications start in September). During the winter retreat visitors can still come to the monastery during the day to meditate or help with mealtime offerings. A Dhamma talk is usually given on lunar observance nights (see our calendar). The Saturday afternoon meditation workshops continue, held in the Sala and led by an experienced lay teacher. Telephone messages are processed regularly throughout the retreat, but in general written inquiries are not attended to until the beginning of April.