Generosity is a core practice of Buddhism, and one of the traditional expressions of this is through offering food to the monks and nuns.
Every day the community of Sangha and lay supporters come together at 10:30am to share a meal. Anyone is welcome to come to the monastery and share in the meal.
If you wish to contribute by bringing food, a good time to arrive at the monastery is around 10am.
If you need assistance with food preparation or have any questions on arrival, please talk to one of the lovely young men/women dressed in white (known as ‘anagarikas’), as they are happy to help.
Once the food is ready, you can place it on the large tables in the main room next to the kitchen. It can be helpful to prepare and cook as much food as possible before arrival, as sometimes with large numbers of people needing to use the kitchen facilities, space for preparation is limited.
If one wishes to donate requisites, they can be given directly to the anagarikas on arrival, or brought for offering to the senior monk shortly before the meal. If you need any assistance with requisites you can ask the anagarikas.
Before the meal, visitors are invited to participate in a custom dating back over 2500 years ago to the time of the Buddha; offering rice to the sangha, also known as piṇḍapāta.
If you wish to participate, you may collect a plate and spoon from the kitchen and help yourself to a small portion of rice from rice cookers in the dining area. If you need assistance, the men/women dressed in white will be glad to help you. Please do not collect any food from the dining area at this time as the food is brought by people visiting the monastery and is not to be given during the rice offering.
You can then join the line of people forming outside the main building. When the monks/nuns are finished preparations, they will walk to the main area to collect rice, and you can spoon a small portion into the bowl of each monk.
After the offering, please make your way to the area where a blessing will be given by the sangha.
Offering of Requisites and Blessing
Once all monks/nuns have gathered their food, a senior monk/nun will address the visitors, and at this time requisites can be offered to the Sangha.
As a simple tradition, a short verse will be recited in pāli (a language spoken at the time of the Buddha) to offer the requisites, and then people are invited to step forward to make any offerings to the Sangha.
After the offerings, a traditional pāli blessing is chanted by the monks to share the merits of the gifts given with any departed loved ones.
After the blessing by the monks/nuns comes the blessing of the tummy!
Guests are invited to make their way to the dining area and help themselves to lunch. The sangha will remain where they are to eat. Should you wish to speak to a senior monk/nun, it’s best to see them after you have finished your meal, and a senior monk/nun will be available from around 11:30am.
Sharing the meal with others is a beautiful way to make new friends and connect with the community. Many people from different cultures and backgrounds come to the monastery, and there is always a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in which it’s easy to feel at home… and if you really want to feel at home, you can even stick around after the meal to help clean the dishes!
After the meal is finished, you are welcome to take a stroll around the main area and visit the meditation hall, although we do ask that guests refrain from walking into areas reserved for monastic residence so that monks/nuns may retain privacy. These areas are signposted as ‘meditation area’.
Frequently Asked Questions
What time do I arrive for the meal?
The best time to arrive is 10am.
What kind of food can I bring for the meal?
There is no fixed rule on what to bring or how much to bring, but a basic guideline is a plate to share. The monastery is not strictly vegetarian, but of course one is welcome to provide vegetarian food.
You may bring rice to serve to the monks in the rice offering, but there is no need to provide cooked rice for the meal, as the monastery will provide rice.
Can I re-heat my food when I arrive at the monastery?
There is a simple kitchen at the monastery to heat and prepare food. With many people passing through the monastery, it is often quite busy in the kitchen, and so it is often easier to leave your food with a man/woman dressed in white who will heat it for you.
Can I give anything besides food for the meal?
The monastery often requires breakfast cereal, condiments, jams and spreads, long life milk, soy milk, yoghurt, dark chocolate, butter and cheese, dried noodles and tinned foods. Frozen foods are welcome as they can be stored in our freezer. The monastery sometimes require requisites like shavers, toilet paper, soap, and cleaning supplies.
With many people donating to the monastery, we often have a surplus of certain items, so it can be helpful to call the monastery on 08 95252420 for Bodhinyana Monk’s monastery and 08 9574 6583 for Dhammasara Nuns’ Monastery to ask if there are any specific items needed. If the phone is unattended, please leave a message and we will return your call.
Can I walk around the monastery?
You are welcome to take a stroll around the main area of the monastery.