Visiting for the Day

People are welcome to visit Cittaviveka. Come for an hour, an afternoon, an evening, a day….The Dhamma Hall is always open, and apart from the daily meal time period (10.30 – 11.30 a.m., Winter Time, and 11.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m., Summer Time ) people are welcome to use it for silent meditation. There are mats and cushions in the vestibule at the back of the building, and chairs inside the Hall if you prefer to use those. There are group meditations most mornings and evenings (see Daily Routine) which members of the public are very welcome to participate in. These group meditations generally begin with chanting and bowing to the shrine – join in if you feel comfortable, but don’t feel obliged to do so. We would only ask that you use the hall with respect, in silence and for sitting in meditation.

The main house, Chithurst House, has the ground floor as a public area. The upstairs area is reserved for male residents. You can enter the House during the day, and use the Shrine Room, or read in the Reception Room. If you are bringing uncooked food or other such offerings to the monastery, the best time to come is around 10.00 a.m. (or 11.00 a.m. during Summer Time), when you can take them to the Dhamma Hall to be formally received and blessed by the Sangha. At other times you can take food or domestic supplies to the Kitchen in the House. If you are bringing cooked food to offer for the meal, it’s best to arrive a bit earlier and take your cooked food to the kitchen where it can be integrated into the meal-time offerings.

We use Mondays as a day of silence and solitude. Also on most afternoons, the monastery may be quiet, but you are welcome to stroll or sit in the grounds. If on the other hand, you wish to talk with a monk or nun, the best time to come is around midday on Saturday or Sunday, or between 5.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m. on Sunday when the Sangha receive people in the House. This is also a good time to meet other lay practitioners and make connections.

As accommodation is limited and  booked in advance, we can’t accommodate visitors without prior notification. For overnight stays, or longer, please read Staying as a Guest.

 

The Daily Routine

The daily routine at the monastery varies depending on the day of the week and the time of year, but the following is a fair example of what to expect.

• Most days begin with morning chanting and meditation, which begins at 5.00 a.m., so please be prepared to wake up at 4.30 a.m.
• Morning chores begin at 6.15 a.m., followed by a light breakfast at 7.00 a.m. Breakfast usually consists of a hot drink, porridge, muesli and yoghurt.
• At 8.00 a.m. guests help with meal preparation or attend the community work meeting if one is held.
• The community gathers at 10.30 a.m. (Winter Time) or 11.30 a.m. (Summer Time) for the main meal. This is generally vegetarian, but the community’s requisites are offered by lay supporters, so alternative foods for special diets cannot be provided.
• Following the post-meal clean-up, there is often a period of free time unless the work period is scheduled for the afternoon.
• Tea is at 5 p.m.
• The day concludes with evening meditation at 7.30 p.m. On Saturdays this is usually followed by a Dhamma talk, and on Sundays there is usually a guided meditation. After the evening meeting, silence is observed in the House.
• Occasionally the community will hold a meditation vigil, which begins at the evening puja and lasts until either midnight or 4.00 a.m. Guests are encouraged to participate as best they can.

For a detailed schedule for the female guests, please click here (PDF).

Group meditation periods and communal work do not take place every day. So a willingness to be flexible is the norm.

In the integrated context of Cittaviveka, there are many opportunities to practise the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. Right Aim, Right Speech, Right Action and Right Mindfulness are the fabric of the monastic life, practised every day while working alongside members of the community in the kitchen, the gardens, the workshop, or the forest. If you have any skills that may be useful to the community — e.g., gardening, building, decorating, etc. — please mention this to the Guest Monk or Nun.

If there is a need to go into town during their stay, guests should ask the Guest Monk or Nun beforehand. To use the telephone in the office please check with one of the monks. The monastery does not offer email access or computer facilities.

 

Precepts and Observances

The life at Cittaviveka is held within an ethical framework, which visitors and guests are expected to follow while they are here. This centres on the Eight Precepts:

 

1. Harmlessness: not intentionally taking the life of any living creature.
2. Trustworthiness: not taking anything that is not given.
3. Celibacy: refraining from any sexual activity.
4. Right Speech: avoiding false, abusive or malicious speech.
5. Sobriety: not taking any intoxicating drink or drug.
6. Renunciation: not eating after mid-day.
7. Restraint: refraining from games and attending shows, and from self-adornment. (Guests are asked to dress modestly, and not to play radios, musical tapes or instruments.)
8. Alertness: to refrain from over-indulgence in sleep.

These precepts are intended to moderate our outgoing tendencies, to heighten the sense of conscience and concern for others, and to encourage alertness. There are also a range of observances around maintaining quiet in the House, using the lodgings and requisites with care, and dressing in a simple way. These also help to check casual or half-aware actions that we may carry out daily without really questioning them. Precepts and observances therefore form a framework for contemplation, a guide to cultivating heart and mind, and a means for daily-life Awakening. The Guest Monk or Nun can advise you on the basic standards. 

 

Staying as a Guest

In general, the emphasis in the monastery is on developing awareness through living in community, and on following a daily routine which includes silent meditation, social interaction and service. The whole is held within the ethical norms of the Eight Precepts, which help to check the mind’s impulses and also promote harmony and trust. Teachings are given on a regular basis, and there are opportunities to talk with monks and nuns about Dhamma practice. There are also periods of time when the monastery is observing silence, and there are periods of relative solitude. Accordingly guests are expected to have a good degree of self-motivation and self-reliance.

On their first visit, guests can stay for up to three nights, after which they can arrange for a longer stay in the future. Any stay hinges on each individual’s ability to practise in accordance with the themes of monastic life. 

All teachings, accommodation and food at Cittaviveka are offered by the Sangha and its supporters. As befits a sanctuary, there is no charge to stay in the monastery (though donations to cover costs are appreciated). If you wish to stay here, then it’s important to enter fully and sincerely into the daily life and practice of the community. This will make the stay more meaningful for yourself and harmonious for others.

Through January, February and March, the community observes a silent retreat. During this time we don’t take in overnight guests.

All guests are requested to book in advance in writing. Initial stays are limited to three nights, although exceptions are made for people coming from abroad. 

If you would like to stay as a guest at the monastery, please read the basic information and Health and Safety Notes.

  

MALE GUESTS

For those wanting to book a visit from April 2018 onwards, after the Winter Retreat, please complete the following form, available by clicking here. 

Once we have received your form, the Guest Monk will confirm your booking by email. If you have any further questions, please email the Guest Monk at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

FEMALE GUESTS

For those wanting to book a visit from April 2018 onwards, after the Winter Retreat, please complete the following form by clicking here.

Once we have received your form, the Guest Nun (or Guest Assistant) will confirm your booking by e-mail. If you have any further questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

If you need to cancel a booking, please give as much advance notice as possible so that we can make your space available for someone else.

Other Practical Considerations

Accommodation at Chithurst is simple, and often in shared rooms. Men and women are accommodated in separate dwellings and there is no shared living space for couples. Women stay in the nuns’ residence and will need to take a ten-minute walk up a lane to arrive at the main House, where the meal is offered and the weekend teachings are given.

Things to bring with you:

- Clothing and footwear suitable for chilly and damp weather, for working and meditation.

- Slippers or thick socks for indoors; slip-on shoes, wellingtons, or work boots for outdoors (no outdoor footwear is worn inside).

- Please bring your own sleeping bag and a bed sheet or at least your own linen: a sleeping bag sheet, a pillowcase and a towel. If you have to borrow any bedding please ask the Guest Monk.

- Toiletries, a torch (especially in dark winter months) and an alarm clock.

Electrical Appliances - Please note that due to current Health and Safety regulations, every electrical appliance - i.e. anything which needs to be plugged into a wall socket in the monastery, must first be checked and approved by a qualified electrician. This means that visitors can no longer bring items such as mobile phones, laptops, ipods, etc. from home to plug in and use while staying here. We regret any inconvenience caused.

Guests are requested to let the Guest Monk or Nun know when they are leaving and to clean their living quarters.

Lost Property: Please contact us if you think you might have left something at the monastery. It is our policy to keep lost property in store for a maximum of three months, after which we are likely to recycle accumulated items.