Mahapajapati Monastery (pronounced muh-HA-puh-JAH-puh-tee) is a meditation monastery for women dedicated to living the Buddha's teachings. We are a monastic and contemplative community in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, and as such, we value both solitude and social harmony. We invite you to share in our simple, quiet life of practice and study.
The monastery is in Pioneertown, California, on eighty acres of high desert in the southern part of the state. Founded in 2007 by Therese Duchesne, Mahapajapati Monastery has been under the guidance of Ayya Gunasari as abbess and spiritual director since that time.
The monastery's primary purpose is to give women the opportunity to ordain as bhikkhunis—fully ordained Buddhist nuns—and to practice in accordance with the Dhamma and the rules of monastic discipline taught by the Buddha over 2,500 years ago. We believe that by living and practicing in this way, we can be of the greatest benefit to ourselves and to society as a whole by improving our own hearts and minds and helping others to do the same. Currently there are one bhikkhuni, one samaneri (novice nun), and an anagarika (postulant) in residence.
Both men and women are welcomed as guests at the monastery for events and day visits, and women may come for overnight stays to study and practice with the resident community.