Beginnings to Now
Dhammasara Nuns' Monastery was established by the Buddhist Society of Western Australia in 1998. We are primarily a training monastery for nuns in the Forest Tradition of Theravada Buddhism. The nuns are fully ordained Bhikkhunis (equal in every respect to Bhikkhu /Monks) in the Theravada tradition. The monastery in 583 acres of natural bushland in the hills outside Perth, is just a 45 minute drive from the city centre.
Initially the accommodation was temporary, including a modest caravan and a Dhamma shed. The first permanent facility, the Nun's Cottage was completed in January 2001. This building provides accommodation, bathroom, kitchen and laundry facilities for residents. It is also the meeting place where supporters come to offer Dana (food and other requisites) and receive Dhamma teachings. Eight brick meditation huts and a separate amenities block for use by the monastics have since been built in the forest.
Although Dhammasara is not a meditation centre there are facilities for a limited number of female guests to stay at the monastery and practise with the resident monastic community. All the residents or temporary lay visitors need to have some basic in meditation practice and familiarity with the Buddhist principles in order to live in the monastery. We would like our guests to follow the daily routines of the nuns as much as possible and join in with all communal meetings and work activities.
The monastic life encourages development of simplicity, renunciation and quietude. It is a deliberate commitment to this way of life that create a community environment where people of diverse backgrounds, personalities and temperaments can co-operate in the effort to practice and realise the Buddha's path to liberation (Nibbana).
Anyone who stays at Dhammasara takes the 8 precepts and follows the routine of the monastery. This varies throughout the year, but basically includes participating in the daily food offering, when supporters come to bring Dana and receive teaching, at least 4 formal group meditations some with teaching per week, and the daily work period before Dana. For visitors this usually means helping in the kitchen or any outside work around and in the forest. Some afternoon there is a group work period. There is still ample time for solitary meditation.
All overseas visitors must arrange and pay for their own visas and travel to and from Australia. The monastery also requires that you have Travel Medical Insurance that covers you during the time you are staying at Dhammasara.
The Sangha and the Lay Community
It is fundamental to the principles of Theravada Buddhism that monastics, as alm mendicants, are completely dependant on lay supporters for their material needs. The Buddhist community thereby becomes mutually dependant. The lay community offers material support, whilst the monastic community provides spiritual support in the form of Dhamma talks, meditation guidance, personal counsel and exemplary behaviour. Dhammasara in particular offers a daily Dhamma Reflection or Short Meditation at the time of meal offering. This two-way sharing of merits fosters an ever-deepening sense of community responsibility and compassion.