Forest Dhamma Monastery extends across two-hundred and seventeen wooded acres at the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains in southwestern Virginia. Forest Dhamma is a monastic community devoted to the training of monks and laity in the practices of the Thai Forest Tradition of Theravāda Buddhism. Those who would like to share in the experience of monastery life for a short time are welcome to visit, either for the day or for an overnight stay. Although we do not offer retreats in the monastery, people are welcome to request overnight accommodation as a guest for a few days or for up to two weeks, sharing in the lifestyle of the monastic community. In this way, interested laypeople can practice and learn alongside the monks for a time, as long as they are willing to follow the established monastic routines.
Our policy at Forest Dhamma Monastery is that first time guests may stay for up to two weeks. If your first stay goes well, you may request to stay for a longer period of time when returning for a second visit. All guests staying at the monastery are expected to abide by the Eight Precepts, including not eating food again after the main meal, which is served at 8 a.m. (Tea and juice and other refreshments are available in the evening). Guests are also expected to participate in all aspects of the monastery’s daily schedule. The daily routine includes helping in the kitchen with food preparation and cleanup, group chanting and meditation sessions, and occasional chore and work periods.
Please be advised that the food served at the monastery is not vegetarian. The monks respect the generosity of all lay donors and do not refuse any food offerings. Lay visitors eat the same food that is offered to the monks. Because of that, the monastery is unable to accommodate strict vegetarian diets.
If you would like to come for an overnight visit, we require that you make a reservation for this visit in advance. Generally, if you are coming for a day visit, there is no need to let us know in advance.
In keeping with our tradition, there is no charge for anything at Forest Dhamma Monastery. We are supported entirely by public donations in the form of food and other material requisites, money, and work.
Those interested in visiting may contact the Guest Monk at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Monastery’s address is:
Forest Dhamma Monastery
255 Snakefoot Lane
Lexington, VA 24450