As is the norm in Theravada Buddhism, the monks here live on alms, in accordance with the stipulations of the Vinaya, the monastic rules which go back to the time of the Buddha himself. It is against their rules to earn a living, own and use money, and to produce and cook their own food. They are also prohibited from themselves storing food received on one day and consuming it on another day. All material needs ― food, clothes, accommodation, etc. ― are provided for through voluntary donations made by laymen and laywomen. Ajahn Chah used to say that laypeople give the monks food for the body, while the monks give the laypeople food for the heart; the latter for example by offering spiritual guidance and by teaching Dhamma. This relationship of mutual dependence creates a fellowship between the monks and the lay community in which both form an integral part of the so-called Buddha-parisa ― the extended Buddhist community.
Activities and visits to the monastery
Anyone wishing to do so may contribute to the food offerings for the main meal, which is also the last meal of the day. It is offered to the monks at 11:00 am. Please arrive early. After the monks have helped themselves, all the laypeople present are invited to partake of the food.
Teachings on mindfulness and meditation are given every Sunday at 1:00 pm at the monastery, and once or twice a month on Wednesdays in Oslo (for details, see www.skogskloster.no). The teachings will primarily be given in English with possibilities for translations to Norwegian and/or Thai.
There are morning and evening services with chanting and meditation at the monastery at 5:00 am and 7:00 pm, respectively, on all days except Mondays. The monastery is open to visitors every day up until the end of the evening service. The monks are usually available for conversation and questions relating to Buddhism and meditation before and after the meal.
It is possible to stay overnight for men and women who wish to follow the monastic lifestyle for shorter periods of time. First time visitors may stay for a maximum of three nights. For more information, see "Visiting".
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Click here for more information about the Western monasteries in the Ajahn Chah lineage.