I am looking for a monastic community that fits these criteria;

  1. Abhidhamma compliant

  2. Vinaya compliant; one meal a day, no afternoon snacks, not using money etc

  3. Analytical attitude towards the commentaries;

  4. Westerners can receive ordination and stay for the nissaya

No geographic preference.

If you know of a suitable community please do let me know.



1 Answer 1


While it's hard to find such a monastery that meets all the requirements that you have laid out, it's likely that the Thai Forest Tradition monasteries founded by Ajahn Chah and his students (see Forest Sangha for worldwide monasteries) could be credible. The main monastery for this lineage is Wat Pah Nanachat in Thailand. Bhikkhus Sujato and Brahmali who are scholars of the Pali Canon and located in Australia, are affiliated to this tradition. The famous Youtube speaker Ajahn Brahm, who is a student of Ajahn Chah, is the abbot of the Bodhinyana Monastery in Perth, Australia.

In California, you can consider the Metta Forest Monastery. The abbot of this monastery was or is Thanissaro Bhikkhu, another well-known translator and scholar of the Pali Canon. Thanissaro Bhikkhu is also of the Thai Forest Tradition. The main monastery for this lineage, founded by Thanissaro Bhikkhu's teacher Ajaan Fuang Jotiko, is Wat Dhammasathit in Thailand.

According to the Wikipedia page on Metta Forest Monastery (which quotes a book):

Ajaan Ṭhānissaro stresses the importance of strict adherence to the Vinaya or Buddhist monastic code which teaches relying only on donations from the lay community as well as living in the wilderness, a key feature of the Thai Forest Tradition of which he is a part.

It is also likely that some monasteries and some teachers lean towards Vipassana more than Samatha (jhana) or vice versa. For example, Ajaan Tong Sirimangalo and his student Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu may lean more towards vipassana, while Ajahn Chah and his student Ajahn Brahm may lean more towards samatha.

If you haven't read it already, the book "Broken Buddha" by S. Dhammika would help you to avoid romanticizing life in Theravada monasteries, especially in Asia. However, at the same time, you should not let it discourage you, as there are bound to be a mix of good and bad experiences when it comes to monasteries and life in monasteries.

  • I hope there are some Burmese communities but i don't know of any. Burmese tend to accept the abhidhamma so maybe some of them also eat once a day and will tolerate disagreement on commentaries. I've read the book and i want to see if i can find a suitable community to get well along with people if i was to live with them:)
    – user8527
    Mar 3, 2019 at 20:13
  • 1
    Yes. According to this blog post, Burma or Myanmar studies Abhidhamma more than others. However, most traditional Theravadins accept the Abhidhamma, but not all give it higher importance compared to the Sutta and Vinaya.
    – ruben2020
    Mar 4, 2019 at 1:42

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