COVID SAFETY FOR DHAMMADHARINI RESIDENTS & VISITORS
Dhammadharini is currently welcoming day visitors for outdoor offerings, Dhamma teachings, volunteering, and meetings with our Bhikkhuni residents.
We are also welcoming overnight visitors who are interested to stay for two weeks or more, including an initial, brief self-retreat partly secluded from the community for safety quarantine. We have safeguards in place for the health and safety of elderly and vulnerable members of our monastic community, including our teachers, preceptors and senior bhikkhunis, as well as our visitors.
We are welcoming outdoor day visits at both Dhammadharini Monastery and Aranya Bodhi Hermitage. All day visitors are asked to maintain social distance, and remain outside the buildings at both facilities. At the monastery, we welcome you to spend time in our beautiful new outdoor dana sala pavilion.
Welcome to come offer a meal or other requisites (though please be aware that you won’t be able to use the kitchen here, so any meal should be ready to eat without further cooking or heating). Or let us know if you’d like to arrange some outdoor conversation with our community members. For now, most of our Dhamma teaching programs are offered online only, with occasional in-person teachings in the outdoor sala when the weather allows. See more details here on how to join us online and in-person.
Spending time living in the monastic environment, for a short or long visit, can provide enormous benefits. Many visitors find this to be a beautiful and deeply nourishing opportunity for service and focus on spiritual practice, surrounded by a like-minded community.
Monastic life immersion and stewardship opportunities include service, meditation, traditional Buddhist chanting, communal and personal study of the Early Buddhist Teachings, and undertaking traditional precepts--all while living immersed in the monastic community. This opportunity is suitable for those of all genders who are friends, allies and supporters of the Theravāda Bhikkhunī Sangha.
Although there are no fees to visit, our community operates purely on a freewill dana basis, and during your visit, you will be an essential part of it. Lodgings and food are freely offered to our resident visitors, and the voluntary goodwill service offerings of all residents and visitors take part in supporting the whole, especially in terms of those things that the bhikkhunis are not able to do for themselves due to their precepts, such as cooking, driving, and handling money. There will be opportunities to make a financial or material donation if you wish, but this is never expected or required - your presence, your service, and your practice are the most fundamental shared gift. Your lodgings and meals are the Dana of faithful donors to support you having this opportunity for exploration, learning and growth in the Buddha's Way; you are responsible only for your own travel and medical expenses, and for any personal needs beyond what is normally offered to visitors, such as personal medicine.
Dhammadharini is a small community that relies on the voluntary gifts of service offered by our visitors, in integration with our residents, which supports many aspects of our daily lives together. Last-minute visitor cancellations and changes of schedule have a significant impact on our lives, as well as impacting others’ opportunities to visit. We ask for your kindness and understanding. Please plan to stay through the whole length of your scheduled visit, and if possible give us two weeks advance notice of any cancellation or change of plans.
The Eight Precepts
All residents and visitors with the monastic community must keep, at a minimum, the eight precepts:
What are the Eight Precepts? The eight precepts include the five precepts recommended by the Buddha for all lay Buddhists, plus three (and one more transformed) renunciate precepts:
The Buddhist Five Precepts:
1. Abstaining from taking the life of any living creature
2. Abstaining from taking that which is not given
3. Abstaining from sexual misconduct
4. Abstaining from false and harmful speech
5. Abstaining from drink and drugs which lead to carelessness
The Eight Renunciate Precepts:
--> #3, The “abstaining from sexual misconduct” precept of the five precepts, changes to “abstaining from all sexual activity,” the renunciate precept of celibacy
6. Abstaining from eating “outside the proper time” = not taking food after solar noon other than allowable tonics and medicine
7. Abstaining from entertainment, beautification and adornment
8. Abstaining from the use of high and luxurious sleeping places
COVID Safety Precautions
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all incoming overnight visitors at both Dhammadharini Monastery and Aranya Bodhi Hermitage must be fully vaccinated and must be tested for COVID and quarantine prior to joining the daily life of our community. Because our capacity to support people on quarantine is limited, right now we are only accepting visitors who are either able to quarantine locally outside our community before traveling to us, or who may be able to stay two weeks or more total (including 5 days for their on-site quarantine with us). Please inquire for more details.
Duration of Your Stay
During the pandemic, the minimum stay is two weeks (including a 5 day quarantine on arrival). For first-time visitors, maximum initial stay is one month, with potential for extension at the end of that time if it’s seeming like a good fit for everyone.
If you are interested in an overnight visit of less than two weeks, welcome to click the button below, and we will notify you when we are ready to reopen to shorter term visits.
2023 Vassa-period Exploring Monastic Life, Monastic Life Immersion and Stewardship Program August Full Moon to October Full Moon
Dhammadharini regularly offers stewardship and monastic life immersion opportunities for the Vassa & Kathina season, July - November, with Dhammadharini bhikkhunī sangha at Dhammadharini Monastery in Penngrove and Aranya Bodhi forest hermitage on the Sonoma Coast, Northern California. Stewards undertake eight precepts. A period of stewardship is a great opportunity to make a big difference in offering support, care and nurturance to the bhikkhuni sangha.
During this time, in addition to stewardship opportunities, Dhammadharini offers the opportunity to undertake temporary Anagarika or Nekkhamma precepts for the Vassa. Preference is given to those who may join for the entire Vassa, with a minimum stay of one month.
Anagarika means "one who has left home" for the monastery or monastic life. In this program, Anagarikas undertake and train with the eight renunciate precepts, with shaven head, wearing full white robes. White robes represent brahmacariya, living the "holy life" as a celibate renunciate.
Nekkhamma means "a renunciate", whether living at home or in the monastery. Nekkhammas undertake the same eight precepts as the Anagarika, but with hair pulled back or cut short without shaving their heads; they wear simple, modest white clothing (or white on top and black on the bottom), without the long, full white upper robe.
Winter Retreat "Sit and Serve"
Annually from January through March
Dhammadharini also regularly offers "Sit and Serve" opportunities for the Winter Retreat, January through March, with Dhammadharini bhikkhunī sangha at Dhammadharini Monastery in Penngrove and Aranya Bodhi forest hermitage, Northern California.
"Sit and Serve" monastic life immersion and stewardship includes opportunities for service, meditation, traditional chanting, Dhamma study and undertaking precepts while immersed in monastic community.
Winter Retreat is a time of greater quiet, as all external community activities are set aside and we turn our focus inwards through deeper formal practice. There is a shared theme of practice and teachings for the community during this time, in addition to a rotation of secluded individual retreat times for all community members, including those in our "sit and serve" monastic life immersion program who are able to offer service for the full three months.
First priority will be given to applicants known to our Theravāda Buddhist monastic community who are able to join for the full three months of the retreat.
The minimum commitment for this "sit and serve" winter retreat monastic life immersion program is one month.
For those applicants not yet well known to our Dhammadharini monastic community or to a closely related monastic community internationally, we request that you schedule a resident visit of 2-4 weeks to our monastery and/or hermitage, prior to Winter Retreat, to get to know our community and determine if this opportunity is right for you.
Aranya Bodhi Hermitage has one position open for a full-time resident forester/forest steward. Minimum of one month, extendable.
Tasks include brush & tree clearing for fire safety, trail maintenance, firewood, potential wildcrafting.
Request that applicants have experience in these tasks, including chainsaw usage, and a strong commitment to safety.
Room & board provided (simple private hut in forest); no financial compensation.
Seeking someone who loves solitude and quiet, and has values & practices compatible with our Buddhist spiritual community.
Forestry service volunteer days visits are also available with arrangement. Please contact us for details.