From the evening of the 3rd of January, until the 31st of March, the community at Amaravati will be on winter retreat, the 39th at Amaravati this year. Restraint and noble silence are encouraged during this three-month period, and most external activities, such as the morning work period, are put on hold for the male and female monastic communities. A team of lay supporters form the ‘winter retreat support team’, which runs most of the monastery’s practical aspects during these three months.
Visitors are still very welcome to visit during the day and our opening times remain unchanged, 6.30am to 9.30pm. The daily meal blessing also takes place at the usual time, 10:45am (10:30am on Sundays.)
We kindly request that day visitors be aware of this quieter period, and be particularly mindful when entering or leaving the Temple. Please avoid engaging monastics in casual conversation.
- Visitors are welcome to join with the community’s schedule which consists of formal sittings interspersed with walking meditation.
- Dhamma reflections and guidance are offered by Ajahn Amaro (sometimes Luang Por Sumedho) at the 8:30am sitting between January 4-17 and March 16-31 (please see the official schedule.)
- The weekly meditation workshops continue during the winter, as usual each Saturday at 2pm. However, they will take place in the sala, rather than in the Temple.
- For most of the winter retreat, Ajahn Amaro will give a Dhamma reading followed by a Q&A session. These take place 5 days a week at 6pm in the sala (the two days per week on which readings do not take place are the moon day and the day after that. Again refer to the retreat’s schedule.) These readings are put on hold when Ajahn Amaro goes on solitary retreat, from the 7th to the 28th of February.
- Our weekly evening pujas on moon days continue with a Dhamma talk offered by a senior nun or monk. The Eight Precepts are also given and visitors are welcome to take them for the evening if they wish.
- The monastery’s library remains open as usual, available to the sangha, lay support team and visitors.
Staying Overnight and Guest Bookings
There is no overnight accommodation available during the winter retreat and the guestmonk and guestnun will not be answering enquiries before the 1st of April 2023. The winter retreat support team is usually formed a few months prior to the beginning of the retreat, so if you have an interest in being a part of this team in a future year, please contact the guestmonk/guestnun well ahead of time.
In terms of formal retreats, none are held during this time, but you can still use the retreat centre’s booking website if you wish to participate in one of our in-person or online retreats in 2023.
General Monastery Enquiries and Office Hours
One or several members of the winter retreat support team will cover the office duty during these three months. The main office will be open between 8:30am and 10:45am from Monday to Fridays, times during which the phone is also switched on (01 442 842 455). At other times, our answering machine will take over and record messages.
If you email the monastery’s secretary during the retreat, it is highly likely that you will only receive a reply in April. For urgent business, please call the main office at 01 442 842 455.
Generally speaking, please allow for more delay in receiving a reply to your enquiry, as most of them will be filed and dealt with in the spring. Amaravati is generally an active monastery during the year, but it does slow down significantly during the winter.
The website is not updated with new Dhamma Talks over the winter. Any talk recorded during that period will be published afterwards. Those living nearby are welcome to join our evening pujas on moon days.
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An update from the EST
The legal body that looks after the monastery and its finances, the English Sangha Trust, has released its leaflet for 2021/2022. Those interested in that aspect of the monastery can find it here.
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We hope that the winter months will be fruitful in your Dhamma practice, and that some of you will be able to make use of the monastery during these quieter times.
May all beings be at ease,
The resident community at Amaravati