A core aim of Dhammasara is to provide the space for committed Buddhist women to taste the monastic lifestyle firsthand, and if they wish, to be enabled to undertake the training to become fully ordained nuns, realizing The Goal & Heartwood (Dhammasara) of this Holy Life.
Dhammasara Nuns Monastery is primarily for the purpose of training lay women who are residents of Australia. Ordaining as a Buddhist nun is a big commitment and requires aspirants to pass through stages which require greater degrees of commitment and higher standards of monastic discipline (Vinaya).
Women are welcome to visit Dhammasara to find out what is it like. In fact, it can be useful to have 1st hand experience of various monasteries, so you can look for one that suits you. But remember no monastery is perfect, or will suit you exactly. Being a visitor in a monastery can only give you an approximation of what it is like to live there full-time and commit yourself wholeheartedly to the monastic life.
Before the monastery can consider new applicants for ordination, we require those wishing to stay to first come and stay as a lay guest. You will be able to get to know the community, our environment and the standard of practice at Dhammasara without making any long term commitments.
If you have been considered for monastic training, you will need to spend about 3 months as a lay guest on 8 precepts before they can make the Anagarikaa ordination request in writing, if the persons themselves are ready to commit to the training. The applicant will be given an initial 1 month stay. During the 1st month stay, she can discuss with the Abbot to request to extend her stay up to 3 months.
After completing the 3 months stay, typically we ask the applicant to leave the monastery and go back to lay life before the decision is made. If the Bhikkhuni Sangha find them suitable, the candidate will be placed on the Waiting List until a training space becomes available. Once the space is available, the suitable candidate will be invited to start her Anagarikaa training following a formal Anagarikaa ceremony.
Life as an Anagarikaa
Shortly after returning to the monastery, the next step is ordination as an Anagarikaa to take the 8 precepts with shaven head and wearing white monastic robes. There is also quite a lot of work involved, supporting the nuns and doing various jobs around the monastery. This includes working in the kitchen – organising meals, cleaning and washing up, driving the nuns for appointments, and various gardening jobs.
Ordaining as a Nun
After all together about 15 months as lay guest and Anagarikaa, the candidates can request to go forth and ordain as a Samaneri (novice nun).
Samaneri is expected to give up their control of money and keep the Ten Precepts as well as other training rules at the monastery. For all trainees, they will have their training rules being explained to them over time and they are expected to keep the rules and the precepts they have undertaken. Samaneris will be expected to stay in the monastery and keep the training for at least two years before they can request for Bhikkhuni Ordination. After the Bhikkhuni ordination, they are required to stay at the monastery for further five years unless you have the teacher’s permission to go to another place to practice.
We are required by the Department of Home Affairs to give preference to Australian residents. Due to shortage of training space, overseas candidate (including New Zealand Citizen) intake is closed for the time being. Thus, if you are from overseas it may take a very long time before an opportunity arises. We encourage women who are interested in becoming a nun to find a place in their own country.
Australia Visas for candidates to stay for the minimum period of five years are costly and may be difficult to obtain. The BSWA is not committed to sponsor candidate’s visa beyond the training period. Having completed the training, you are encouraged to return to serve in your home country.
Women who are interested in starting their initial residency as lay guest may write to:
Dhammasara Nuns Monastery
203, Reen Road, Gidgegannup WA 6083
Phone No.: (618) 9574 6583
Dhammasara does not use email for correspondence relating to ordination inquiry. Candidate should discuss directly with the Abbot during their stay in the monastery.