Why do we need Western Monastics?

Many of us are inspired by Tibetan Lamas and even see that many of these Lamas or Lay teachers are not ordained. We may wonder why monastics are still relevant in the modern world.

The Lamas that teach and are revered underwent years of rigorous training and retreat. In many Tibetan monasteries a teacher is not considered qualified to teach unless they have done a three year retreat and 10-20 years of full time study! A lot has been lost in teaching Dharma to busy lay practitioners in the West. Although there is no doubt of everyone’s equal potential to become enlightened, if we are to preserve the vast and profound teachings of Buddhism that have been so carefully handed down by our kind Asian and Indian Spiritual ancestors we need places where people can study, reflect and meditate full time. We also need to establish a tradition of well trained Western Buddhist Teachers, especially empowering women as well as rich lay Buddhist culture.

In our increasingly troubled world with over population, war, violence, narcissism and environmental degradation it is very important to have places of peace and clarity that can be a refuge and help lift us above a mindless consumer driven life and the social isolation and despair that leaves us with an epidemic of stress, depression and destructiveness.

Monasteries are oasis of clarity and peace in a world that is on fire. Monasteries are like a hot house for the growth of the amazing flowers of realisation. Monastics try to cultivate boundless love for all beings and therefore avoid the bond of being attached or committed to only one person.

Social Engagement

Our Monastics will engage in long term retreat, study and meditation, but they will also engage with the community and lead retreats/offer social work outside in schools, prisons and so forth.

Staying at our Monastery

Our monastery is just in a gestational stage..We have very few regular supporters, are just building tiny homes on the rugged land, so the amount of candidates for ordination we can accept is limited at this time. Ordination candidates need to be free of debt, contagious diseases, provide a police statement of being safe to work with children  and below 55. Australian and NZ citizens/permanent residents will be given first priority and one must speak English fluently. Women are also given priority because there are fewer place for them to ordain. Our land is a cold place and living conditions are very basic, almost like camping. We welcome lay and monastic guests as volunteers. We especially need people with building and gardening skills.

People considering staying at a monastery should know that there are communal work times.

Rough monastery schedule:

8am Breakfast

9am-12pm communal work

12pm Lunch

2pm-5pm personal meditation and study time

5pm Tea time (a chance to informally discuss Dharma with resident monastics)

6pm-7pm communal practice or study.

There may be periods of intense work or retreat. We enter the rains retreat 3 months a year.

Everyone needs to follow these 8 precepts and respect the quiet and meditative atmosphere of the monastery : 

  • I undertake [to observe] the rule of abstinence from taking life (no killing)
  • I undertake [to observe] the rule of abstinence from taking what is not given (no stealing)
  • I undertake [to observe] the rule of abstinence from unchastity (nonsexual activity of any kind)
  • I undertake [to observe] the rule of abstinence from false speech (no lying)
  • I undertake [to observe] the rule of abstinence from intoxicants which cause a careless frame of mind (no alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, drugs (prescription medicine is fine)
  • I undertake [to observe] the rule of abstinence from taking food at the wrong time (no eating after 1pm, this can be adjusted in certain circumstances)
  • I undertake [to observe] the rule of abstinence from dancing, music, visiting shows, flowers, make-up, the wearing of ornaments and decorations
  • I undertake [to observe] the rule of abstinence from a tall, high sleeping place. (More of a remnant of Indian culture)

Although we welcome seekers to our monastery, please be aware that monastics are not equipped as psychotherapists. If you have a mental health condition or history of addiction and wish to stay long term, we ask that you inform us so that we can be supportive and prepared. What you tell us is confidential.