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 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 can 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. A further 11 villages, with just over 500 inhabitants, are scattered across the surrounding hills. There is an expansive view of the surrounding area from the nearest hill, the 544m high Zaplaz. The Christian pilgrimage path to the Church atop Zaplaz is the most important destination for pilgrims in the South-East of Slovenia. Slovenians would be familiar with the area because of well-known organised group-walks from Litija to Čatež.
The Hermitage's cottage stands on a slope of half a hectare (1.4 acres) of land, and more than 3/4 of it is covered in forest. Though only a small piece of the forest belongs to the cottage, the forest itself is extensive and stretches out in all directions, very common in Slovenia, over half of which is covered in forest. Goljek Village is a very small and peaceful place with a population of approximately 65 people.
The peaceful surroundings, the forestry land, the familiarity with the place and its culture, and the simplicity of the place attracted our attention, and make it an ideal place for monks from the Forest Tradition.
Venerable Hiriko Thera – the Guardian of the Hermitage
Is currently only Slovenian Buddhist monk of the Theravada tradition. He was born in Ljubljana, in 1985. He took anagarika (postulat) precepts in Santacittarama Monastero Buddhista in Italy in august 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 administator 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 zapisi) 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), Sri Sumedha and Bundala Kuti (in Sri Lanka).