Visiting the Hermitage

Information for Visitors & Volunteers

Aranya Bodhi is a hermitage for monastic women practicing in the Theravada forest tradition. It is a secluded natural setting, perfect for the reclusive life and meditation. 

In 2017 we welcome residential visits of a month or longer, to include periods of service and times for meditation and Dhamma study.  This is ideal for one who wishes to experience the Theravada bhikkhuni form of practice ... who has experienced the transformative power of Vipassana meditation ... who loves the forest and practicing in nature ... and who is a monastic woman, a monastic life aspirant or an ally of the re-born women's monastic sangha. 

To protect the meditative space, we ask our friends to contact us before visiting. There is an application process, and when possible we ask new people to first come for a day visit or a few days. 

The rustic facilities and reality of the rugged and wild forest environment are challenging for some. However, visitors over the past year have noted the large and small improvements to our physical setting.  Gone now are the old trailers that were so difficult to keep clean, dry and safe.  They have been replaced by new buildings of standard construction that have taken us safely through a rainy winter season.  The challenges of mold, mildew, rain and rodents that marked our first few years are well resolved with these new and easy to maintain structures.

There is pure potable water on-tap, expanded solar electric capacity, and kitchen and shower facilities that look and feel like an ordinary home in town ... except that one can step out the door and be in the deep silence of a magnificent forest.

All this progress with the physical set-up has allowed us to pause on construction projects, leaving our daily life more balanced and quiet.  The time available for supported personal retreat is gradually increasing. Besides our daily formal practice at the hermitage, there are monthly full moon and new moon day-long retreats at our monastery, which is not far away at the western foot of Sonoma Mountain in Penngrove. We also join with the Dhammadharini community from the monastery for alms rounds 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 Monastery in Penngrove, and many women find it fruitful to alternate periods at  Aranya Bodhi with periods at the monastery.  More information about visiting the monastery is available via the monastery tab at the top of every page here on this site.

At both our hermitage and monastery, visitors, volunteers and our residents, are requested to engage in a mix of mindful service and meditation practice.

The links on the right have important information for our guests.  Please read them carefully. 

If you have visited before, much of this may be familiar, but please read again as we have revised this information.