We welcome women who wish to practice with us as overnight guests. You must fill out the application here in order to arrange a visit. First-time visitors may generally request to stay for a period of up to two weeks.
There are no scheduled retreats at Mahapajapati Monastery. Instead, at the monastery we are always in retreat from ordinary worldly occupations and concerns, and visitors join us in this routine when they come to visit.
All visitors observe the Eight Precepts and participate fully in the daily schedule.
The Eight Precepts are:
1. To refrain from taking the life of any living creature. This includes animals and insects.
2. To refrain from taking what is not given.
3. To refrain from false and harmful speech.
4. To refrain from any kind of sexual activity.
5. To refrain from consuming intoxicating drink and drugs that lead to carelessness. This does not include medications that have been prescribed for you by your physician when taken in the recommended doses. Please continue to take your prescription medications while you are here.
6. To refrain from eating after the 11:00 a.m. meal. Although we do not eat another meal after lunch, there are some foods that are allowable at teatime if you have a need, such as honey, ghee, oil, sugar, cheese, plain dark chocolate, and miso paste. If you have a medical reason for requiring other food in the evening, please speak to us about this before you come, and you may be permitted to bring what you need.
7. To refrain from entertainment, beautification, and adornment. This means that we do not read novels or use the internet for entertainment, and we do not wear makeup or jewelry.
8.To refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place.
As this is a meditation monastery, our daily schedule is intended to provide the maximum time for individual study and practice.
From waking until breakfast: Chanting and meditation on your own.
6:00-8:00 a.m.: Prepare and eat breakfast on your own.
9:00-11:00 a.m.: Work practice---offering service to the community
11:00 a.m.: Silent, mindful meal
After the meal: Everyone helps to clean up.
After the clean-up: Your afternoon is free unless you have been asked to help with a special project. As a general matter, we discourage work during this period, in order to provide the time for practice and study.
5:00 p.m.: Optional informal tea
6:00 p.m.: Chanting in the shrine room followed by meditation. The meditation period is open-ended, and you may leave at any time. The rest of the evening is free for practice and study.
What to bring:
There is no charge for your visit. Your stay is made possible by the kindness of those who have been inspired by our women's monastic community and have donated in the past. Just as those donors have benefited you by their support, you have the opportunity to benefit others with yours. You are welcome to make a financial offering on our website or in person when you are here, in accordance with your means and your inspiration. In addition, because monastics are supposed to rely on laypeople for their food, you might consider bringing an offering of groceries.