visiting and staying


Please read this for current conditions regarding overnight stays.

N.B. Given the rate of change, further to what is explained below, extra and some different protocols might currently being observed regarding arriving and staying at the monastery. These would be explained more in details during our correspondence with you or when you arrive at the monastery.

Getting Here

For information on how to get to the monastery please see the contact page.

All visitors to the monastery, including those who visit only for the day (with the exception of children), are expected to observe the eight precepts. These principles are a standard for personal training and give rise to determination in the mind as well as laying the foundation for a sense of community:

Precepts

  1. Harmlessness: to refrain from intentionally taking the life of any living creature.
  2. Trustworthiness: to refrain from taking anything which is not given.
  3. Chastity: to refrain from all intentional erotic behaviour.
  4. Right Speech: to refrain from false, malicious or abusive speech.
  5. Sobriety: to refrain from taking intoxicating drink or drugs.
  6. Restraintto refrain from eating after midday until the following morning.
  7. Modesty: to refrain from attending shows, playing games and self adornment.
  8. Moderation: to refrain from overindulgence in sleep.

We ask that you wear clothing that reflects a respect for modesty. Trousers, skirts, and dresses should cover the knees; loose fitting clothes are suitable. We encourage visitors and guests to make the most of this opportunity to live simply. In support of this principle we strongly discourage all use of social media.

Staying as a Guest

As well as maintaining the eight precepts, guests are expected to follow the monastic schedule, which regularly includes a three-hour work period in the morning, attending the communal formal meditation periods and joining in with the daily meal. Note that we do not currently offer facilities for purely personal retreats i.e. guests are expected to join in with the monastery activity. Accommodation is often 'shared dormitory style' although at times there are single rooms available.

Internet use is not usually provided; part of the experience of staying at the monastery is taking a break from the modern, wired lifestyle. Under certain circumstances exceptions can be made, for example, visitors from overseas who have unavoidable travel requirements. Otherwise, guests are encouraged to make the most of the quietude during their visit. Mobile phone reception at Kusala House is unreliable.

Booking

If you would like to come for an overnight stay, please visit our website and familiarize yourself with how our monastery operates. It is a good idea to check our calendar to see which dates are likely to work e.g. when we are not on monastic retreat. Then contact the monastery via email or snail-mail with proposed dates for your stay. One of the monks on the Guestmaster team will check the availability of accommodation and answer any questions you might have about staying at the monastery. Please note that your correspondence might be read by anyone on the team and that the team changes.

If you are requesting to come for more than a day visit, please present us with an overview of your previous experience with Buddhism, monasticism and retreats. In addition, please include your age, gender, where you are travelling from, any physical restrictions and any relevant medications you are taking. You are also welcome to include any other information which you think might be useful such as if you have a phone number at which you can be easily reached.

Visas: responsibility for obtaining the appropriate visa rests entirely with the visitor(s). For visitors outside of the UK & EU: a photocopy of your passport will be taken upon your arrival. It will be stored safely during your stay and destroyed at the end of it.

Monastic Schedule

  • 5am - Rising bell. The Dhamma Hall is open for personal practice
  • 5.30 - Morning Puja in the Dhamma Hall
  • 6.30 - Household chores
  • 7.00 - Breakfast
  • 8.00 - Work period
  • 10.45 - Bell for the midday meal
  • 11.00 - Meal offering
  • 5pm - Teatime
  • 7.00  - Evening Puja in the Dhamma Hall
  • 9pm - 6.30am - Noble Silence at Kusala House

Noble Silence

These times vary somewhat according to the season and what work needs doing around the monastery. Mondays and Observance Days (moon-days) are considered 'Quiet Days' and are generally available for personal, private practice. During periods of formal retreat, strict observance of silence is usually expected. Also from 9pm until 6.30am guests are asked to observe noble silence.

Interviews

It is sometimes possible for guests to request an interview with one of the Ajahns. You are welcome to ask the Guestmaster for an appointment before arriving, however it should not be assumed that an Ajahn will necessarily be available. Please consult the contact page for more information. 

Arriving

When booking a visit, please note that we try to avoid having guests arrive on Mondays, since they are designated as our weekly quiet days. The best times to arrive are either in the morning before 10.45am, or in the afternoon around teatime, 5pm. Generally the monastic community is not available between noon and 5pm. If you are unable to arrive at the recommended times, kindly contact the Guestmaster in advance to make alternative arrangements. Please do not arrive at the monastery after 9pm.

On arrival, proceed to Kusala House which is just down the hill towards the east from the main monastery (this PDF with photos might help to find your way there.)

As of September 2021, our COVID policy for all new incoming guests is as follows:

  • those fully vaccinated are still tested upon arrival, generally under the supervision of a community member. Trusted guests might be offered the option to take a test at home and drive to the monastery without stopping (or stopping only in countryside/unpopulated areas), or to take their own test, unsupervised, on the parking lot of Kusala House
  • those not fully vaccinated must undergo a quarantine period with testing on the first and last day, supervised by a community member

Please note however that your visit with us is still at your own risk and that we cannot guarantee a fail proof, completely isolated environment.

In case of missed connections or misunderstandings, guests are welcome to telephone the monastery landline, 01661 881 612 - be prepared to get the answerphone and feel free to leave a message - or, the Kusala House manager, at 07 725 099 041

Medical

If you exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, or have another infectious disease (including a cold or flu) or have been in close contact with anyone who has, we ask that you postpone your stay until later. Please contact our Guest-Booking team to rearrange your booking. 

Limitations

All visitors (male or female) are welcome to visit the monastery. We do not accept overnight guests under the age of 18.

We would ask you to carefully consider your intention to visit if you are uncertain of your commitment or ability to arrive on the requested dates. 

Further, if you are claiming state benefits you must have permission from the relevant authority before arranging to stay here.

Please be aware that the monastery does not offer to provide for special dietary needs. Bringing food for your own personal consumption is not an option. It is expected that guests with particular food allergies or sensitivities will take full responsibility for themselves.

Guests are requested to turn mobile phones off as much as possible whilst staying. Certainly guests should refrain from using social media during their time in the monastery.

Winter Retreat

The monastic community observes a retreat period during the months of January, February and March. You are welcome to come for a quiet day visit during this time. However, overnight accommodation is generally not available. Furthermore, talks at Evening Pujas are less frequent and other events such as Practice and Study Days, Lake Work Days and Tea with a Bhikkhu are suspended during these three months.

Donations

Support for Aruna Ratanagiri monastery is entirely obtained by alms-offerings in the form of food, money or personal skills. There is no obligatory charge for staying here. Guests can consider how best they may respond to the needs of maintaining the monastery.

To Bring

If you are driving to the monastery, where possible please bring the items below. If you are coming by public transport we appreciate you will wish to limit your luggage so the list does not apply.

  • Warm working clothes
  • A towel and toiletries
  • An alarm clock
  • Waterproof clothing and walking boots
  • Bed linen: we have plenty of duvets, but if possible do bring duvet cover, sheet and pillow case as this keeps our laundry costs down. (If you wish to bring your own sleeping bag then please be certain it is free from bedbugs, especially if you have been travelling).
  • Easily removable shoes (as shoes are not worn inside the monastery buildings)

In accordance with monastic training, guests are asked to take responsibility for their living space, cleaning it before leaving and preparing it for the next guests.

Electrical Appliances

For safety reasons visitors are requested not to bring their own heat producing electrical equipment like hair dryers, electrical blankets or kettles, or other electrical equipment that could be a fire hazard if malfunctioning. A hair dryer is made available for guests by the monastery.

Getting Here

Information on how to get to the monastery: contact.

We hope you will have a rewarding visit. However, please take note that if for any reason your stay is not working out, we reserve the right to ask you to leave, without explanation. 

May understanding and kindness deepen.