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 very few lay guests to experience monastic life temporarily on retreats or as supporter to the hermitage,
study of the Buddha's Teachings,
Dhamma conversations with monks,
daily opportunities to offer almsfood, requisites to the resident monks or help with the work.