The Nuns at Rocana & Aloka
An almost unique feature of Cittaviveka among monasteries in the West is that it provides a situation wherein women can learn from, or train as, ten-precept Buddhist nuns (siladharas). Four women were members of the community that established Cittaviveka in 1979: they quickly took on monastic training under the Eight Precepts and in 1983 were given the Going Forth with the ten precepts (which includes the relinquishment of money) by Ajahn Sumedho. Ajahn Sucitto supervised their training at first, and in the course of this, a detailed system of training evolved that owes much to the regulations and procedures of the original Bhikkuni order. This has resulted in a nuns’ community that has structures and procedures where women practise and take guidance within a community of other women.
The women’s residences at Cittaviveka are contiguous with Hammer Wood and comprise of two cottages: Aloka, where up to four guests can stay, and Rocana, which is the residence for a small community of nuns and novices (anagarikā). Additionally, the nuns have the use of three kutis in the forest; as well as another kuti and a spacious shrine-room adjacent to the cottages, which also provides some additional accommodation for long term resident laywomen. The cottages and shrine room lie beside a stream in the bottom of a small valley and provide a supportive situation for those who benefit from a quiet, natural environment.