Goljek Forest Hermitage – also called Samaṇadīpa – is a small monastic (samaṇa) sanctuary (dīpa) for small number of monks from the contemplative and conservative forest tradition of Theravāda Buddhism. It is the first of the kind in this part of Europe that follows the original teachings of the Buddha, as found in the early texts and has an unbroken linage from around 2600 years ago. The monks follow the high standard of the monastic code (vinaya) and the teaching (dhamma), which can be found in Theravādin countries (Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma, Laos, Cambodia). Samaṇadīpa follows particularly the paths of the teacher Ajahn Chah and the forest hermits. More about the tradition you can read here.
Samaṇadīpa uses three seperated lands. The main Hermitage's cottage (Ārāma) stands on a slope of Goljek Village of half a hectare of land, and more than 3/4 of it is covered in forest. The cottage has the Shrine Room, the kitchen and two bedrooms; in the forest are two kuties, Abhaya Kuṭī and Piya Kuṭī. The second - more secluded and private property for monks - has a enclosure cottage Viveka Vihāra in Kriška Reber with two bedrooms and one kuti (Viveka Kuṭī). The property is located about 20min walk from the central part. And the third part is the Guesthouse Nirodhārāma in Brezje, 10min walking distance from the central part.
Samaṇadīpa welcomes visits from anyone who is interested in the Buddha's Teaching, meditation or seeking the answers to their existential problems. The main purpose of the place is to provide seclusion for monks, however any visitor is welcome to talk to monks and also could stay here overnight for few days (more info).
The Hermitage is located in a serene, natural environment amid forested land, on Goljek Hill, 40mins drive from Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Goljek is a roadside village positioned on a hill near Čatež, north-west of Trebnje. There is an expansive view of the surrounding area from the nearest hill, the 544m high Zaplaz.
Though only a small piece of the forest belongs to the cottage, the forest itself is extensive and stretches out in all directions. Goljek Village is a very small and peaceful place with a population of approximately 65 people.
The Buddha created monastic communities as the optimal lifestyle for those seeking to understand the ultimate truth of nature. The main purpose and responsibility of a Buddhist monk or nun is to put the teachings into practice. Committed to simplicity, renunciation (having no money and few possessions) and devotion to meditation, monastics do not aim to seek pleasure through self-indulgence or worldly distractions. Instead they strive for a more subtle inner happiness, one that blossoms forth when peace and wisdom take root in the heart. As one’s wisdom develops so does one’s capacity to help others.
Monastic life in all of its activities is designed to develop positive qualities that lead to awakening — qualities such as generosity, loving kindness, integrity, humility, determined effort and a continuity of clear awareness. Since the time of the Buddha, monks and nuns have followed his example by living in forests, mountains and caves. Far from the stress and busyness that afflict modern life, a tranquil natural setting provides the perfect environment for developing serenity and insight.
We aim to keep the place simple and basic, since we believe such conditions are supportive to our practice, and the Forest Tradition emphasises the Buddha's guidance that monks should be easy to take care of.
The Hermitage's main purpose is to serve as a residence for a small number of Buddhist monks and laity. Based on a strict standard of discipline of the Forest Tradition, the monks are dedicated to renunciation of sensuality and material possessions.
Samaṇadīpa also supports the lay community in their practice of the Buddhist teachings. By offering almsfood and other requisites to the monastic community, visitors to the Hermitage develop generosity (dāna) in the traditional Buddhist form. Visitors can deepen their theoretical knowledge of the Buddha's teaching, discuss their practice and receive encouragement to apply this knowledge to their own life. Samaṇadīpa serves as a sanctuary of quiet reflection and contemplation, where the peaceful, natural environment and the teachings allow visitors to find peace in their heart.
To support those who wish to train themselves according to the instructions given by the Buddha, Samaṇadīpa offers:
accommodation for a few lay guests to experience monastic life as supporter to the hermitage,
study of the Buddha's Teachings - the hermitage has also a library,
Dhamma conversations with monks,
daily opportunities to offer almsfood, requisites to the resident monks or help with the work.
Ajahn Hiriko Thero
( the Guardian of the Hermitage)
He is the founding Elder of the Hermitage. He was born in Ljubljana, in 1985. He took anagarika (postulat) precepts in Santacittarama Monastero Buddhista in Italy in 2004. In the same year he went to England to take samanera (novice) ordination, and in 2006 he become bhikkhu (fully ordained monk). His preceptor was Venerable Luang Por Sumedho (Phra Chao Khun Sumedhajahn). Ajahn Hiriko was also the chief editor and the administrator at Path Press and the author of The Hermit of Bundala, the biography of an English monk from Sri Lanka, Ñāṇavīra Thera. He is also writer of Slovenian articles (Menihovi misli) and translator of Buddha's talks or Suttas. Previously he was living in the following monasteries: Amaravati Monastery, Chithurst Monastery, Aruna Ratanagiri (in UK), Bodhinyanarama (in New Zealand), Santacittarama (in Italy), Wat Marp Jan (in Thailand), Hillside Hermitage and Bundala Kuti (in Sri Lanka).
He was born in 1977 in Germany. He become bhikkhu (fully ordained monk) in 2016 at Wat Buddhabharami (Hamburg, Germany). He spend of his monastic time also in Thailand and Sri Lanka.