Forest Dhamma Monastery

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Photo credit By Steve Evans from Citizen of the World – Flickr, CC BY 2.0,

Forest Dhamma Monastery spans across 217 wooded acres nestled at the base of the Allegheny Mountains in southwestern Virginia, serving as a sanctuary dedicated to practicing the Thai Forest Tradition of Theravāda Buddhism. The monastery welcomes visitors seeking to partake in the lifestyle and teachings of the monastic community, whether for a day visit or an overnight stay. While they don’t offer formal retreats, guests can immerse themselves in monastery life for up to two weeks, sharing in the routine and practices alongside the resident monks. New guests are encouraged to abide by the monastery’s Eight Precepts, which include refraining from eating after the morning meal served at 8 a.m. It encourages guests to join in daily activities such as meditation sessions, kitchen duties, chanting, and occasional work periods. Reservations for overnight stays are required, although day visits generally don’t require prior notice. Forest Dhamma Monastery operates solely on donations and doesn’t charge for any services provided, relying entirely on public support to sustain its operations.