Aranya Bodhi Hermitage

Aranya Bodhi Hermitage on the Sonoma Coast  ...   Aranya Bodhi means Awakening Forest

Among the forest redwoods and high meadows of the California Sonoma Coast, a vibrant new community of Buddhist monastic women has taken root. It is a hermitage given the Pali name Aranya Bodhi, which means Awakening Forest.  A generous donor offered the use of this land to Ayya Tathaaloka Theri several years ago, with the aspiration to make a forest meditation hermitage for Theravada bhikkhunis (fully ordained female monastics) and like-minded women.

This aspiration has become a reality through inspired leadership, the friendship of the Bhikkhu Sangha, the commitment of monastic women, and the help of many donors.

We invite your participation in developing this new community. The Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha is still in its tender stage. Only a few of the Bhikkhunis have acquired the spiritual power that comes from decades of monastic training, and there are not enough practice communities for women seeking to enter monastic life.

Your nurturing help will make a great impact for the welfare of women, and the preservation of Buddhism in the modern world.

How We Live

Our simple daily program is intended to provide just enough structure, along with time and space for individual practice.  Exact hours vary according to the seasons, with communal practice in our yurt when it's cool or rainy, and outside when fair. Occasional busy days for outside errands or projects are followed by light, silent days. 

Besides our daily formal practice, there are monthly new moon day-long retreats; alms round in Sebastopol twice a month.  For fun and inspiration, a few of us are creating a Dhammapada study guide, translating, analyzing and reflecting on one verse per day.  There is regular intervisitation with the Dhammadharini Vihara in Santa Rosa.

 Wake up until 6:00 am Personal Meditation
 6.00 - 6:30 amDevotional Chanting
 7.00 - 7.30 amBreakfast
 7.45 - 8.30 am Morning Meeting, & Studying Inspiring Pali Verses (presently Dhammapada)
 8.30 - 11.00 amMindful Work Period
 11.00 am - 1.00 pmMain Meal Followed by Mindful Clean-up
 1.00 - 5.30 pm
*1.30 or 2-3pm
Personal Maintenance, Meditation, or Study
*Dhamma reflection + Q&A offered by Ven. (Ayya) Tathaloka Theri (when she is in residence)
 5.30 - 6.30 pmEvening Tea and Dhamma Discussion or Practice Interview
 6.30 - 8.00 pmChanting & Communal Evening Meditation
 8.00 pm until sleep Personal Meditation

Lay visitors and those in monastic training are generally expected to attend all communal activities, with more flexibility for those bhikkhunis who have completed their initial training.  

To the extent we are able, periods of fully supported individual retreat are offered to those Dhammadharini residents who have given a period of service, as well as to respected visiting bhikkhunis who have given much service in their home communities. 

It is also possible for a visitor to primarily focus on practical work if she is considerate, well established in practice, and able to keep a peaceful heart.


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Aranya Bodhi Hermitage is lovingly cared for by Dhammadharini, 
a religious non-profit organization with 501(c)3 Federal and State of California tax-exempt status.