People are welcome to visit Sunyata at any time, apart from during silent retreats. Please contact us beforehand to make sure there is someone here to meet you.
The following contains information about our way of practice and what’s expected from our visiting guests.
Sunyata is a Buddhist meditation retreat centre of the Thai Forest Tradition. It belongs to the lineage of Luang Por Chah, and his disciple Luang Por Sumedho, who opened our dhamma hall in July 2000.
Sunyata provides an opportunity for people to deepen their understanding of Buddhism and themselves, to practice mindfulness, or simply take time away from their everyday lives to reflect. Ethical guidelines, meditation practice and community work all help to maintain an environment conducive to these practices.
The rhythm of life at Sunyata is an essential part of our spiritual practice. Using the ordinary activities of daily life, we try to bring mindfulness and composure into our experience, whether in activity or in stillness, in relationship or in solitude.
Ethical guidelines serve as the foundation for life here at Sunyata, helping both to develop insight and encourage harmonious community life. Guests are expected to observe the following seven precepts:
- Harmlessness: not intentionally taking the life of any living creature.
- Trustworthiness: not taking anything that is not given.
- Chastity: refraining from any sexual activity.
- Right Speech: avoiding false, abusive or malicious speech.
- Sobriety: not taking any intoxicating drinks or drugs.
- Restraint : not wearing make-up, jewellery or immodest clothing; not playing music, radios or musical instruments.
- Alertness: to refrain from overindulgence in sleep.
Although there is much time for individual meditation and contemplation, guests are expected to take part in the daily routine, and also to help out with certain tasks.
The schedule at Sunyata is open to change at different times, particularly when there are monastics in residence, but an average day will look something like this:
|9.30am -12.30pm||Morning chores|
|2.00pm -3.00pm||Practice/rest period|
|3.00pm -5.00pm||Afternoon chores|
Living in Community
At Sunyata there is a range of jobs which need doing around the centre such as in the kitchen, garden, the forest and with keeping the buildings clean. The working time set aside each morning and afternoon helps to maintain the centre and also gives us the opportunity to practice mindfulness in ordinary tasks.
We are grateful for your help. We hope that the structure of the day, with its times of silent contemplation together, individual reflection and more engaged work, can help each of us to find a balance in our practice.
Volunteers are encouraged to take time off during their stay if they need rest due to illness.
Women who are menstruating or menopausal and feel the need to take time for rest or self-care are supported by the community to do so.
We would appreciate it if you could be mindful around the conservation of energy, and protecting the beautiful natural environment here at Sunyata. Please keep communal areas clean and tidy and avoid using candles or incense in any of the buildings. Sunyata grounds are non-smoking.
Guests are asked not to listen to music or engage in other forms of entertainment whilst at Sunyata. We also ask you to refrain from using phones and electronic devices in the common areas. As with other guidelines, these are simply ways of creating an environment conducive to contemplation. We also ask guests to keep noise to a minimum after 9 pm.
Guests are asked to respect the sanctity of the meditation hall by using it only for meditation and following the guidelines related to its use.
We do not supply bedding unless you are travelling from overseas – please let us know in advance if this is the case.
Initial stays are limited to 3 days, after which subsequent visits may be of longer duration.
As is traditional in this lineage of Buddhism, everything at Sunyata is offered free of charge so that the teachings and practice are available to everyone. As the centre is supported solely by donations, any contribution you are able to make for your stay here is much appreciated. The donation box can be found in the foyer of the dhamma hall.
If you would like to book a visit, please fill out the form here.
Finally, we would like to thank you in advance for your consideration for other guests and for the centre itself, and hope that you find your stay at Sunyata rewarding and nourishing.