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 resident. 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.
All applicants 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. 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. The candidate will be invited to start her Anagarikaa training following a formal Anagarikaa ceremony.
The Waiting List
We are required by law to give preference to Australian citizens and permanent residents. Thus, if you are from overseas it may take a very long time before an opportunity arises. Visas for candidates to stay for the minimum period of five years are costly and may be difficult to obtain from the Australian Immigration Department. That is why we encourage women who are interested in becoming a nun to find a place in their own country.
Sooner or later as applicants move up the waiting list, the monastery will get in contact and offer a space. Of course the timing may not be convenient and it is possible to simply stay on the waiting list until another space is available.
Life as an Anagarikaa
Shortly after returning to the monastery, the next step is ordination as an Anagarika 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 Samanerī (novice nun).
Samanerī 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. Samanerīs 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.
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.