Women upholding the Dhamma
Here aspirants can explore monastic life, learn, train & ordain. Here lay friends of the Sangha can visit or stay for periods of immersion, sanctuary & service. Our monastery is located in Penngrove, Sonoma County, CA a small community near Sonoma State University. It is easily accessible by car and public transportation.
Thanks to the Dhammadharini Support Foundation our Bhikkhuni Sangha can put down deep roots in this land. The monastery will function as a space of refuge, sanctuary & practice for those inspired to fully live the monastic path. As sufficient funds are raised, our goal is to transform the property into a true monastery including lodgings, meditation garden area and spaces for gathering.
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We are not very rigid about the pattern of the day, but gradually aiming to become more and more consistent with it.
Even during the busy periods, we aim for a calm and quiet atmosphere.
Aranya Bodhi Hermitage
Dhammadharini Support Foundation has leased this land from a generous supporter with the aspiration to make a forest meditation hermitage for Theravada bhikkhunis (fully ordained female monastics), like-minded women and friends. It is located among the forest redwoods and high meadows of Northern California's Sonoma coast, near the town of Jenner. The Pali name of our hermitage is Aranya Bodhi, which means Awakening Forest. We aim to offer time for deeply-needed inner development through the recluse practice of the Buddha's teachings at our forest hermitage.
Aranya Bodhi Hermitage is more secluded with less frequent trips outside, and with flexible puja and meditation schedules to allow for individual practice. There generally is a morning meeting for both Dhamma and logistical sharing. After work period ending in early or mid-afternoon, residents are usually free to return to their kutis, find a suitable location for meditation, or walk in the forest. Occasional trips out for groceries and errands require driving a four-wheel-drive truck over rough back roads. Work at Aranya Bodhi is more physically challenging and meditators need to have a self-sustaining practice to benefit from the solitude.
How We Live
Our simple daily program is intended to provide some structure, along with time and space for individual practice. Exact hours vary according to the seasons, with communal practice in our Dhammasala 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.
In complement to our hermit practice in the Awakening Forest, there is an option to join monthly new moon day-long retreats at our monastery in Penngrove, alms round in Sebastopol twice a month and weekly in Petaluma, and lunar quarter visits to our local bhikkhu monastery.
Lay visitors and those in the early stages of monastic training are 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 resident bhikkhunis and monastic trainees, as well as aspirants and stewards who have offered a substantial period of service, as well as to respected visiting bhikkhunis who have given much service in their home communities.
It is also possible to welcome a visitor whose primary dedication is cultivating the path of service if s/he is considerate, well-established in practice, and able to live peacefully and harmoniously together.