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This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Amaravati Buddhist Monastery

Amaravati Buddhist Monastery

St Margaret’s, Great Gaddesden Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP1 3BZ England



Amaravati is a Theravada Buddhist monastery situated at the eastern end of the Chiltern Hills in south-east England. It is near the Hertfordshire village of Great Gaddesden. The nearest towns are Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted. The purpose of Amaravati Monastery is to provide a place of practice for monastics in the Forest Tradition, whose shared intention is the realization of Nibbana, freedom from all mental suffering. It is also open to guests and visitors who wish to come and stay in a place where there is the opportunity to develop mindfulness, to explore spiritual teachings, and to contribute to the life of the community.
It was established in the early 1980s, the monastery is inspired by the Thai Forest Tradition and the teachings of the late Ajahn Chah, a Thai monk and renowned Dhamma teacher, who encouraged Ajahn Sumedho to settle in England and found monasteries in this country. In Autumn 2010 Ajahn Sumedho handed over the position of abbot to the English monk Ajahn Amaro, for the previous fourteen years co-abbot of Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California. Amaravati opened formally in 1985, after the English Sangha Trust had purchased the site from Bedfordshire County Council. It had formerly been a residential school and consisted of several large huts in Canadian cedar, built by the Canadian Air Force before World War II.
Amaravati Buddhist Monastery is a community of monks and nuns practising in the Theravada tradition. Lay people, Buddhist and others, are also welcome to visit or stay here as guests, and live with the monastic community. The place is open from the early morning, when the community gathers for the morning meditation, until after the evening meditation. The gates are open from 6.30 am until 9.30 pm, or sometimes later if there is a meditation vigil. If you are new to the tradition, or it is your first visit, you may like to come around late morning. This is when we gather to receive the meal and there are usually other visitors or monastics available for asking questions. Or, you could join in one of the meditation workshops held every Saturday afternoon. Visitors come from all over the world. Some come for a few hours or for the day; others stay for a weekend, a few days, or longer. Perhaps they bring an offering, or want to learn meditation, or to have a time of refuge from the stresses of the world. Amaravati provides the opportunity to deepen their understanding of Buddhism and of themselves, in an environment that encourages peaceful reflection. There is also a separate retreat facility at Amaravati, with a programme of short and long retreats. These are group retreats held mostly in silence, with a routine which emphasises formal meditation instruction and practice. For information visit the Retreat Centre section.
The community consists of monks and nuns, together with a number of full-time lay residents. Usually there are between twenty and thirty bhikkhus (monks) and siladhara (nuns) in residence, living a contemplative, celibate, mendicant life according to the Vinaya (monastic training rules) and Dhamma (the Buddha’s teachings). The community also includes anagarikas, who wear white, observing the Eight Precepts, and who have made a commitment to train within the monastic community for at least a year and may subsequently make a further commitment to the monastic training. The monastery also includes within it a retreat centre, where residential retreats are conducted for the public during nine months of each year.
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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.