If you are considering booking an overnight stay at our monastery, we ask that you please contact us in April to see how the pandemic is evolving and whether we will be in a situation to take guests. There are currently too many variables to reliably predict the situation.
Also see our NEWS page for the current response to the pandemic.
Thank you for your understanding and for helping us keep Harnham safe for residents and visitors alike.
Visitors are welcome at Aruna Ratanagiri, for the day or for longer. There is no need to contact us in advance if you are visiting just for the day.
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:
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.
Potential guests are generally offered an initial three night visit. Afterwards a longer stay may then be arranged. A longer initial visit might be possible, particularly if you are visiting from outside UK or are considering taking up monastic training. Accommodation is often 'shared dormitory style' although at times there are single rooms available.
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.
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.
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. The Guestmaster will check the availability of accommodation and answer any questions you might have about staying at the monastery.
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.
These times vary somewhat according to the season and what work needs doing around the monastery. Tuesdays 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.
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.
When booking a visit, please note that we try to avoid having guests arrive on Tuesdays, 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. (Note on directions: If you are standing outside, on the top of Harnham Hill, facing the grey slate 'Harnham Buddhist Monastery' sign, you will arrive at Kusala House by turning right, walking down the road for one or two minutes and then turning left into the large asphalt entrance to the Kusala House car park.)
If you are arriving at the expected time there will usually be someone around to meet you. If not, slow down, be comfortable and brew yourself a cup of tea and someone should be there shortly. 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).
If you have an infectious disease, including a cold or flu, or have been in close contact with anyone who has one, we ask that you postpone your stay until later. Please contact our Guestmaster to rearrange your booking.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.