Frequently Asked Questions
What are the charges of staying in the meditation centre/monastery?
To stay in the meditation centre and monestory is absolutely FREE. There are no charges or any hidden charges. But you must understand that this is a meditation centre and not a hotel or resort. This monestory Dayakas/Donors support the yogis, bhikkhus, sayalays etc to earn Punya(Good Karma/Kusala Karma), for those good beings to realise Nirvana(Nibbana)/Enlightenment; so you are expected to follow the meditation routine of the monestory. Those who fail to follow are requested to leave so that some other worthy ones can get chance.
Can I ordain as a Monk in the monastery, what is the procedure?
To keep up the sila(morality precepts) for the monks is a tough job, there are 227 rules of patimokkha and countless other vinaya rules plus the monetary rules. So usually the new yogis are observed first and if agreed by the bhikkhu sangha they are first given ordination as a Samanera (Novice Monk), who keeps 10 precepts, he also need to relinquish his money, bank accounts, etc and learn the vinaya and dhamma and try to live the aesetic life for 4 months. After that the bhikkhu sangha being have observed the samanera for 4 months decides whether he can be ordained as a Bhikkhu or not. However in some special cases Buddha allowed the direct ordination as a bhikkhu to certain people. This is also decided by the bhikkhu sangha or the Principal Acharya of the monastery.
What is the difference of people in Ochre robes, White Robes and casual dresses, I mean those people we see in the monastery?
The people in Ochre Robes are the venerable ones, the worthy ones of the sangha, Sons of the Buddha and those who practice the holy life, brahmachariya, practice samadhi and vipassana and whose target is to realize the teachings of the Buddha to attain enlightenment.
The people in White Robes are Anagarikas, these are those people who have family or they still want to have family, but side by side they want to practice the Dhamma and meditation, keep 5 or 8 precepts (Sila) and maintain that serious moral standards in their life.
The people in casual loose attire are the lay persons who sometimes take break of 3 days or 7 days or few weeks or months and practice meditation in that time, coming to the monastery to meditate or to volunteer in the Sangha work.
There are some other people also in the monastery like Kappiyas (who help bhikkhus to get daily needs) since the Bhikkhus don’t keep or handle money. Then Dayakas (the donors) and Upasakas (Attendants) who help the sangha work, these all are also lay persons.
Which is the nearest Airport to come to this meditation center?
The most closest airport is Jolly Grant Airport (Dehradoon, Uttarakhand) which is about 189kms away via rishikesh. The second nearest airport is Pant Nagar Airport in Uttarakhand, INDIA. Its around 204kms from away, however the whole 200 kms drive is through the himalayan mountains so it takes 6-7 hours, public transport is available. However if you come from New Delhi airport it will be 338 kms drive out of which mountains drive from Kotdwar is 100kms only, so it takes the same time. You may contact us before coming so that we can guide the best way for you.
How long can I stay in the monestory?
If you follow good conduct and you do not break rules of the monastery and/or Bhikkhu sangha do not have any objection then you can even stay for lifetime in the monastery.
What is the difference between the Tibetan tradition monks who follow Dalai Lama and this monastery monks who follow Theravada tradition?
Tibetian monestories following Dalai Lama follow the path of bodhisatva (to become buddha themseleves after countless past lives), and follow tantra or tantric techniques. T
The Theravada tradition comes from the direct teachings of Gautam Buddha since he himself formed the Bhikkhu sangha 2600 years ago. Theravada tradition is from the Gautam Buddha’s linage from India, which came to destruction in India and was saved by bhikkhus who migrated to neighboring countries. Now we have brought back this tradition back to India with the help of senior bhikkhus and Most Venerable Pa auk Sayadawgyi. We practice same way as Buddha taught the way of Sila, Samadhi, and Pragya. Samadhi is referred to as mastering any or all of the 40 meditation objects and gain 4 or 8 jhana (Dhyan) attainments, followed by step by step Vipassana to attain Nirvana (Nibbana) within this very life.
here are also sects of Mahayana(Chinese) Buddhism who follow Taoism, or tantra, but all believe in Buddha and follow the way taught by their linage. We respect all traditions and religions.
I want to donate a meal to the sangha, how much is cost and what is the procedure?
Usually it depends on what kind of meal you wish to donate and what is the availability. We depend on seasonal veggies, fruits, etc. which grow mostly locally. You can discuss the cost with the Kappia Office in the meditation center when you arrive. If you have some packed stuff which you wish to donate, you can get it inspected and donate by your own hands or with the help of others without any extra charges.
I am a lay person who just wants to meditate for 1 week or 1 month, since I am not a bhikkhu, so will I also get Free food and free stay facility?
The stay and food is free for everybody whose comes there, but you must apply online and get approval before you come. Also if you want to extend your stay, that is also dependent on the availability of the further bookings on the queue. If you wish to stay longer, you can donate a kuti in the monastery owned land and you can always get preference if you wish to come, you need to inform us at least 1 week before arrival, so that we can get the kuti ready for you.
Is mobile phone and internet available in the monastery/meditation center?
Our monastery is an ANTI-RADIATION ZONE, we make sure that all meditators/yogis/bhikkhus/sayalays get the essence of the forest meditation, so in the meditation zones, like the kutis, meditation hall, forest area the mobile phones are not allowed. However there is Library and Internet cafe at the entrance of the monastery area where you can use your mobile phone, internet, public computers, tablets, laptops, etc. if it is necessary. You have to understand and respect that the people who live here and who come here are serious meditators whose target is enlightenment, so we do not compromise with their peaceful abiding.
What is this ANTI RADIATION Meditation center? Do you even don’t have electricity?
We follow the culture of the Forest dwelling, we try to make a living with giving to the nature rather than taking and conserve the beauty of these lush green Himalaya region. Since the temperature is quite cool and soothing here, there is no requirement of air conditioners or even fans, even in summers evening and morning you might need a shawl to cover your self, you experience natural air conditioner climate here most of the time and in winters also it doesn’t drop to minus like the other high hills of Himalayas, so we also do not need heaters. Now with the help of some natural and solar resources we make available hot water for shower in winters. So you live here totally like living in the forest in comfortable kutis which are made of Himalayan Mud, Rocks, and slate(we do not use any toxic materials even for construction like cement/paint etc.), organic food which is locally grown here is provided. Use of internet, computers and mobile phones is prohibited inside the monastery compound, however for urgent needs there is a Library and internet cafe at the entrance of the monastery, a little bit far from the Meditation center.
How far is the river from the meditation centre? Can I go there for swimming?
The river is just there adjacent to meditation center, you can go for swimming but at accomplished by at least 3 people to avoid any danger. Also prior permission for swimming is mandatory from the sangha office.
What kind of animals are there in the jungle, is there any threat from animals there?
There are all variety of Himalayan animals you can see from deers, monkeys, apes, fox, tigers, snow leopard, jaguars, wild boars, etc. although since the history of the nearby villagers stories have no past news of threat or harm done by animals, but its better to go to deep jungle for meditation accomplished by someone, and try to not go very far. The animals can also be seen at day time and evening time near the river since they come there to drink water, so its also advised to avoid going alone outside the monastery at off timings.
If someone wants to ordain as a NUN/Sayalay then what is the procedure?
You must first understand the precepts and lifestyle of a Sayalay. Sayalays are female nuns and they have limited rules, but they also cannot touch money. So you can ask the help of kappiyas in the kappiya office so that they can take care of your necessities. Although there is no waiting or observing time to ordain as a Sayalay, but we recommend to try to stay in meditation center and see if you can observe the strict rules which include brahmachariya, not eating after noon time, relinquish handling money, give up false speech, give up killing, etc. Also there can be short term ordination, you can try to become a Sayalay for short periods of time like one week, 1 month, 6 months, etc. and understand yourself more.
Can I become a monk for short period of time?
Usually its tough process to ordain as monk, since first you start with a novice (Samanera) for around 4 months, then if the bhikkhus sangha agree then you can be ordained as a Bhikkhu. So usually people do not want to ordain first and disrobe. But in certain conditions someone wants to disrobe then he must gain permission from his Upajjaya and follow a procedure to disrobe, if disrobed in a proper way, then if some other time in your life you wish to ordain again then you can be ordained again.
More more details you may discuss with any of the available Venerable ones (Venerable Bhikkhus) in the meditation center.
Can I be a volunteer?
This meditation center is majorly for ascetic practices, for meditation and seclusion. If you come then you must observe the rules, follow Sila (precepts) and meditate. On your past time, if you wish to help the sangha, then you can ask from kappiya office that you want to offer your help, if there is some work which is suitable for you, then it can be assigned to you, subject to the fact that it doesn’t disturb your meditation routine.
What is a lay person’s Sila or the 5 precepts?
Abstain from killing living creatures, Abstain from stealing (taking which is not given), Abstain from sexual misconduct, Abstain from lying, harsh and incorrect speech, Abstain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which cause carelessness.
I am a Christian and my friends are Hindus and Muslims also, so if someone from another religion comes to learn meditation in your center, do that person has to convert his religion to Buddhist?
NO, we do not convert any one’s religion, nor its compulsory to change your religion to learn meditation or study in this center. Since this is a school, where everyone comes to learn meditation as taught by the Buddha and the techniques which have been forwarded from generation to generation by the great masters who have realized Buddha’s teachings of Pariyatti (Theoretical studies) and Pattipati (Meditation Practice). The gates are all open who come even with skeptical doubts, or even some people who just want to calm their minds apart from their busy stressful lives. For some people whose interest is to realize enlightenment ordain as bhikkhus, samaneras, sayalays, anagarikas, etc. to practice in a supported environment. India has always been a center for people seeking for enlightenment since the ancient times and Himalayan ranges of Uttarakhand are famous for Ascetic practices where people go to deep forests to meditate, Buddha first realized the way to enlightenment and then taught the way to practice and developed the Sangha so that those who seek for enlightenment can be supported and guided, which has nothing to do with converting someone’s religion. Ascetics are found in every religion be it Hindu where we call them Sadhus, rishis, muni, Sant etc.; in Muslim religion we call them peer, fakir, etc.; in Jainism we call them Jain muni, In Christians we call them Saint, father, and so on. So here we have a school where we welcome all who want to keep an open learning mind and want to learn.