There is no Theravada monastery in the country I live in. I just read a short brief about lay people going together and forming a forest monastery in Norway, and was wondering about how a monastery is established?

Who initiates the process and who makes the decision (lay people, monastics, both in combination, or either)? Thinking in terms of whether it's just monastics moving back to their home country to spread the Dhamma, or if lay people gather support and invite monks.

Not so much about the religious or practical considerations, just looking for a helicopter view.

  • There might be different answers for different countries. I can imagine that in some countries establishing a Buddhist temple might be a quite hard task...
    – Rabbit
    Jun 25, 2014 at 8:27
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    @Rabbit good point. Thanks. However, there must also be a number of common considerations - I have no information at all on the subject, so it would be interesting to hear what's involved, even if just for a single country. Jun 25, 2014 at 8:29
  • Well a monastery needs monastics, so the first step is having a community of lay persons in an area close enough to be able to provide support to the monastics, then you invite them to come stay and it goes from there. There is an article by Bhante G, founder of Bhavana Society where he talks about all the ins and outs of starting a forest monastery, If i can find it I'll post. this is also a perfect post for Ven Yuttadhammo. Jun 25, 2014 at 11:45
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    @FullPeace.org here is that article I promised to find! Took so long because I couldn't find it anywhere :) budsas.org/ebud/ebdha095.htm Jun 30, 2014 at 22:00
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    @Jayantha thank you for following up with the link to the article! Very interesting read. Jul 1, 2014 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


Initially, it is the invitation of the laity to the Sangha, who then satisfy themselves that the support is adequate for their needs. A lay community invites a Bhikkhu that they find particularly inspiring. He finds a quorum of Bhikkhus to accompany him so as to maintain the Vinaya discipline. Lay communities often set up some kind of a committee so as to oversee and organise a physical accommodation, suitable for practice and religious observations: this varies considerably from one monastery to another.

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