Amaravati, literally a Pali word meaning "Abode of the Deathless" (referring to nirvana) , is the parent organisation of Sunyata, our local retreat centre in Clare.
Officially opened in 1985, by Ajahn Sumedho, it is a Theravada Buddhist monastery, inspired by the teachings of Ajahn Chah, in the Thai forest tradition, and committed to the practice of Insight Meditation.
It is located near the town of Hemel Hempstead, in South East England, near the foothills of the Chilterns, around the Hertfordshire / Bedforshire area.
Amaravati consists of a community of monks and nuns, who observe the commitments and undertakings of renunciates, whilst integrating with local full-time voluntary support staff.
Somewhat remarkably, both the monastery and the retreat centre at Amaravati are funded entirely from donations from members of the public. This is a key concept in Buddhism, and is keenly practised today.
Essentially, the reliance upon the generosity of others, for material wellbeing, is about as close as it gets to living on the edge. This is clearly at odds with a society which is largely fuelled by capitalism, consumerism, and the worship of unfettered greed.
It is somewhat reassuring to know that amongst a world of corporations, shareholders, bondholders, bailouts, and repossessions, where profit comes first and people come second, there is an oasis of sanity somewhere in England!
Not only does Amaravati welcome visitors, to help fund and finance the project, but also, it has moved with the times.
One can listen to podcasts and download dhamma talks from the website, as well as order books which are available for free on the Buddhist teachings. Please have a browse around their website for further information.
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