Guidelines to Joining us in Community Life
Visiting a monastery is different from attending a Dharma center. We are a resident community of Buddhist nuns, monks, and lay trainees — there is no paid staff. As a guest you immediately join into our communal living, so please read the guidelines on this page carefully. These are set up to help ease your transition to our monastic way of life.
What We Ask of Guests
We ask that all guests attend all meditation sessions, Dharma talks, and chanting sessions along with study and offering service sessions. Please plan to participate fully in the monastery’s daily schedule.
We’ll invite you to please join us in offering service to the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha and sentient beings. Service varies by day but can include helping with meal prep, cleaning, forest work, and Abbey projects according to your ability.
Please plan ahead for being offline during your stay. Monastic life gives you a chance to unhook from your phone, take your attention offline, and enjoy the Dharma and our beautiful landscape. There’s more in the Unplug section below.
We also require that you do not bring scented products. Due to severe allergic reactions with some of our residents, we must maintain a scent free environment. This means we refrain from using perfumed products (including natural and essential oils). We also recommend you wash out any lingerings scents in your clothes from fabric softeners and air fresheners prior to your visit. For more on this please see our FAQ on scented products.
Please familiarize yourself with the rest of the community guidelines spelled out on this page. These are explained in detail to help you easily adjust to our monastic way of living.
Living Within the Five Precepts
While staying at the Abbey, all guests must agree to observe the Buddha’s five ethical guidelines for laypeople. They help us to calm our minds and live in harmony with all beings:
- Respect life. Do not physically harm any living being, including insects. Weapons are not allowed on the property.
- Respect others’ property. Do not take anything that hasn’t been freely given or is not meant for your use.
- Do not engage in sexual behavior at the Abbey. In general this precept concerns sexual misconduct. As a community of celibates, we ask respect for our lifestyle. Please refrain from sexual activity of any kind, including physical expressions of affection and flirting, while you are here.
- Speak truthfully. Right speech also includes speaking wisely, kindly, and at appropriate times.
- Do not use intoxicants—alcohol, recreational drugs, tobacco or vapor. Anyone using or possessing these substances will be asked to leave.
Cultivating a Monastic Mind
The Abbey gives you a chance to slow down, quiet down, and cultivate a Monastic Mind.
Nuns and monks live simply. We follow the Buddha’s guidance on how to tame our bodies, speech, and minds. While you’re with us, we ask you to do the same:
Quiet the Mind
We do not play or listen to music, dance, or sing (except for religious chanting). We keep silence after evening meditation practice until mid-breakfast the next day (8:15 pm to 7:45 am). During retreats and teachings, we keep silence at all times unless otherwise noted.
Speak and act quietly, aware of the effect of your actions on others. There are rooms designated for stretching and yoga; we don’t do it in common areas. We also sit down when we eat or drink to become aware of what and how we are eating.
Focus on Inner Beauty
Wear simple, modest, loose-fitting, solid-colored clothing. Leave off jewelry, make-up, perfume, and scented toiletries. Allow time to focus on the beauty and joy that comes from quieting the mind.
We require that all guests leave your cell phone in our office. There is no Internet access for short-term guests. You may use personal electronic devices to take notes during teachings and access Dharma texts offline.
Respect Our Environment
We conserve electricity and water, taking short showers and flushing only when necessary. We don’t take unnecessary trips in the car. Once you have arrived, please do not leave the Abbey except for approved errands or emergencies.
Practice Joyous Effort
We do our best to work happily, kindly, and efficiently at whatever task or job is assigned to us — with the motivation to benefit the Buddhas, Dharma, Sangha, and for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Economy of Generosity
We do not charge fees to visit or to stay here. We depend entirely on the generosity of guests and supporters to carry out our programs and maintain and build facilities. Please make your generosity to the Abbey part of your practice of developing delight in giving.
Retreats and Courses
For retreats and courses, please make an initial dana offering to reserve your space. For details on retreats and courses, see the specific event info in our Events pages.
Other Visiting Resources
Helpful answers to questions everyone asks
Helpful instructions to plan your travel
Learn from books by Ven. Thubten Chodron.