A New Monastery – Anukampa Buddhist Vihara
We are delighted to share the news that after a long search, Venerable Candā and the Anukampa community have secured our first property, near the River Thames in the beautiful University city of Oxford. This is an enormous accomplishment, as it is the first monastery dedicated to developing a Bhikkhuni Sangha (a community of fully ordained Buddhist nuns) in Britain - a place where full ordination has not been possible for women - until now. Here, it will be possible for aspiring Bhikkhunis to train, and monastics and lay folks from around the world to visit - what a blessing!
This is an exciting and significant step both for the Bhikkhuni Sangha worldwide, as well as for the Anukampa community. It is a culmination of all the support from well-wishers around the globe, and puts us in an excellent position, aligned with our future vision of a Forest Monastery. We are very inspired and grateful. "Anumodana!" - we rejoice in your goodness and generosity 🙂
Four Ways to be Involved in the Monastery
More than 2,500 years ago, the Buddha established a radical relationship between the monastics and the lay community which continues today in Theravada Buddhism. The monastic code (Vinaya) requires the ordained Sangha to live in dependence upon the laity for all their physical needs. Monastics cannot grow or prepare their own food, and they can only accept food that is freely offered by laypeople. Lay practitioners support monastics with material requisites so they may dedicate their life to Awakening, whilst monastics share the Dhamma and provide spiritual sanctuaries (i.e., monasteries!) to help and inspire their supporters to deepen their Buddhist practice.
1. Residential Stays
We offer you the opportunity to come and stay at the Vihara, in a quiet village on the edge of Oxford, to deepen your practice by meditating and serving the Sangha as part of a small group of visitors and Dhamma practitioners. You are welcome to stay for a week on your first visit and subsequently apply for a longer stay if it would be of benefit to all concerned. We have up to two guest rooms and a sofa bed in the Shrine room to accommodate male, transgender or non-binary visitors.
A residential stay entails practicing and applying the whole Eightfold Noble Path in a quiet environment, supported by spiritual friends. It includes some light work such as cooking, cleaning and tidying the courtyard in the morning, and time for solitary meditation practice in our lovely meditation room in the afternoon. There are two group meditation sessions a day and opportunities to join our online and in-person teachings as well as speak personally about your practice with the nuns. Many people are deeply inspired by their stay and feel a renewed aspiration to commit to living a life of harmlessness and to continue deepening their meditation practice as a result - some visitors are even inspired to lose all their hair! For those wishing to explore an aspiration to ordain, please come and stay with us for a visit first of all.
To apply for a stay and for detailed information about our daily schedule, please email email@example.com
2. Visiting for Lunch and Giving Other Requisites
If you cannot come to stay, there are many other ways to offer your support the community from afar and benefit your practice.
Generosity lies at the heart of the Buddhist Path and is the foundation for inner cultivation. The type of giving that yields most benefit are gifts offered with a serene, joyful heart for the purpose of "beautifying" and "equipping" the mind (with stillness and wisdom) AN:8:31. We would very much like to give our supporters the wonderful opportunity to practice generosity (dana) by offering meals and/or other requisites and household items to the Sangha.
Below we offer six ideas for how you can participate in giving, whether you live locally, or far away. To schedule any of these or find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Come for a shared lunch! Bring a prepared hot meal to offer for the main meal, which is at 11:00 each day. Prepared food can also be brought the evening before for the following day’s meal). You can check the Lunch Dana Calendar to look for available dates, and to find out how to schedule an offering or get more information.
2. Invite the monastic Sangha for a meal at your home, traditionally called a "house dana," or invite them to a restaurant.
3. Order shopping deliveries or vegetable boxes. You can send groceries on a one-time or recurring basis, which lay visitors can use to prepare meals for the monastic Sangha.
4. Send Gift vouchers. This is particularly helpful for our resident community! Example stores include:
Tesco (supermarket, local to Oxford)
Sainsburys (supermarket near to the Vihara)
Dunelm (paint, varnish, cabinets, sheets, household, etc)
Marks & Spencer (food, household)
and other food, home, and hardware stores relevant to the Oxford area.
5. Supply Monastery household items. The Needed Items List contains various household items that would be beneficial for starting up and maintaining the monastery.
6. Offer transport and other needs. You can always invite the resident Sangha to let you know if there are other items or transportation needed. Please let them or our volunteer team (email@example.com) know your approximate spending range the time frame of your offer (e.g., £30 available for use within the next 3 months, etc.)
3. Volunteering to Help Build Our Community
We deeply appreciate offers of time volunteered for specific types of tasks, as and when needed. You can also watch for details of longer-term, ongoing volunteer roles in the newsletter, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your interests, skills, and availability. Volunteering can be done remotely, or by coming to the Vihara in the morning to join in our daily Kindful Service period (7.30am - 11am), which is followed by a shared lunch.
We have two WhatsApp Groups for ad-hoc help, called Anukampa Food at the Ready (lunch and food offerings) and Anukampa Hands at the Ready (AFAR and AHAR for short ;-)) that you are welcome to join to receive updates about what the Sangha needs.
Once again, the volunteers at email@example.com (currently Derek, Ali, Elena and Madhu) can give you further information or add you to either or both group(s).
4. Offer Funds via a Regular Standing Order
Standing orders are particularly helpful in allowing us to plan ahead. If every member of our online community, subscribed to our YouTube Channel, Facebook Page and to our Newsletter gave just £2 a month, we would quickly and easily reach our goal of a full-fledged Forest Monastery! If you are in a fortunate position to give more, that is great! We sincerely appreciate donations of any amount and invite you to rejoice in your generosity, knowing it is supporting us to spread the priceless Buddha's teachings around the world.
If you would like to set up a standing order please arrange it with your bank using the following details:
From the UK:
Account Name: Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project
Account Number: 91826271
Sort Code: 40-20-24
Account name: Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project
Account Number: 91826271
Bank name and address:
HSBC Bank plc, 54 High Street, Epsom, Surrey, KT19 8DS, United Kingdom.
Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project, 16 Blenheim Close, Shepreth, ROYSTON,
SG8 6PT, United Kingdom.
(Please note that this is NOT our mailing address).
If you would like to donate using a credit card or via PayPal, please go to our donations page here.
We rejoice in your generosity and in your presence in our spiritual community!
"Bhikkhu(ni)s, in three cases one may be understood to have faith and confidence.
What three? When one desires to see those of virtuous behaviour;
when one desires to hear the good Dhamma;
and when one dwells at home with a mind devoid of the stain of miserliness,
freely generous, openhanded, delighting in relinquishment,
devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing.
In these three cases one may be understood to have faith and confidence."
“Bhikkhu(ni)s, if beings knew, as I know, the result of giving and sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would they allow the stain of meanness to obsess them and take root in their minds. Even if it were their last morsel, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared it, if there were someone to share it with. But, bhikkhus, as beings do not know, as I know, the result of giving and sharing, they eat without having given, and the stain of meanness obsesses them and takes root in their minds.”