New forest monastery in Norway

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
User avatar
gavesako
Posts: 1739
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

New forest monastery in Norway

Post by gavesako » Sun Oct 04, 2015 5:00 pm

Skiptvet Buddhist Monastery

Stiftelsen Skogskloster ("The Forest Monastery Trust”) has for many years endeavoured to
establish a Theravāda Buddhist monastery in Norway. For this purpose, a farm with forest
(altogether approx. 110 acres) has now been purchased in Skiptvet, approximately one hour
by car south of Oslo and two-and-a-half hours north of Gothenburg. There are now western
monks in residence who have been invited here to found the first Scandinavian "forest
monastery". The monks belong to the lineage of Ajahn Chah, which is part of the Thai
forest tradition.
Theravāda Buddhist monks live on alms as stipulated by the Vinaya, the monastic rules
which go back to the time of the Buddha himself. It is against their rules to earn a living,
own and use money, and to produce and cook their own food. They are also prohibited from
storing food received on one day and consuming it on another day. All material needs -
food, clothes, accommodation, etc. - are provided for through voluntary donations made by
laymen and laywomen. Ajahn Chah used to say that laypeople give the monks food for the
body, while the monks give the laypeople food for the heart; the latter for example by
offering spiritual guidance and by teaching Dhamma. This relationship of mutual
dependence creates a fellowship between the monks and the lay community in which both
form an integral part of the so-called Buddha-parisa—the Buddhist "family".

ACTIVITIES AND VISITS TO THE MONASTERY
Anyone who wishes to do so may contribute to the food offerings for the main meal, which
is also the last meal of the day. The food is offered at 11:00 am. Please arrive early. After
the monks have helped themselves, all the laypeople present are invited to partake of the
food.
Teachings on mindfulness and meditation are given every Sunday at 2:00 pm at the
monastery, and once or twice a month on Wednesdays in Oslo (for details, see
http://www.skogskloster.no" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;). The teachings will primarily be given in English with possibilities
for translations to Norwegian and/or Thai.
There are morning and evening services with chanting and meditation at the monastery at
5:00 am and 7:00 pm, respectively, on all days except Mondays. The monastery is open to
visitors every day up until the end of the evening service. The monks are usually available
for conversation and questions relating to Buddhism and meditation before and after the
meal.
It is possible to stay overnight for men and women who wish to follow the monastic
lifestyle for shorter periods of time. Please make a request by e-mail to the address below.
First time visitors may stay for a maximum of three nights. (For more information, please
see the separate document, "Information for Guests".)

HOW TO GET HERE FROM ABROAD
From the UK., the cheapest option is probably to fly Ryan Air to Rygge International
Airport. This is also the nearest airport to the monastery. Travelling to the monastery by
public transport, however, is probably no quicker from Rygge than from the main airport, at
Gardermoen, north of Oslo. From the nearest bus stop, there is a two kilometre walk to the
monastery (see below).

HOW TO GET HERE FROM OSLO
By car: Head south on the E6 towards Gothenburg, then turn onto the E16 towards
Stockholm. Follow the signs towards Askim, and then turn onto the 115 towards Skiptvet.
When you reach Meieribyen, turn right onto Lundsveien road (just opposite Skiptvet town
hall). Continue for two kilometres. The entrance to the monastery is on the right, past a big
field, and is marked by a sign saying "Lundsveien 196".
By public transport: Take the train from Oslo Central Station to Askim. In front of Askim
Station, take bus #465 to Skiptvet town hall ("Skiptvet rådhus"). After getting off the bus,
cross the road and follow Lundsveien road for two kilometres. The entrance to the
monastery is on the right, past a big field, and is marked by a sign saying "Lundsveien 196".
Make sure to check the departure times for the bus between Askim and Skiptvet before
travelling, as there is only a limited number of departures each way. There are no buses on
Saturdays and Sundays.
For more information about Skiptvet Buddhist Monastery and Forest Monastery Buddhist
Society, see http://www.skogskloster.no" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; or "Skogskloster Buddhistsamfunn" on Facebook.
For more information regarding the Western monasteries in the lineage of Ajahn Chah,
please see http://www.forestsangha.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

ADDRESS:
Skiptvet Buddhistkloster
Lundsveien 196
1814 Skiptvet
Norway
Tel.: +47 90966462 (answered on most days, 7:30-10:30)
E-mail for guests only: skiptvet.guestmonk@gmail.com.


Skiptvet Buddhist Monastery
Information for guests


The monastery is open during daytime on all days, until about 20:30. Visitors are always
welcome, and for day visits no prior arrangement is required. If you would like to stay
overnight, please send a request by e-mail to the Guest Monk
(skiptvet.guestmonk@gmail.com.). Please let us know which dates you would like to come
and, if possible, include alternative dates in case we are fully booked. First time visitors
may stay for a maximum of three days. If you are travelling from abroad, it may be possible
to arrange for a longer stay. If you have previously stayed in any of the other monasteries in
the Ajahn Chah tradition, please mention that as well.
Staying as a guest in the monastery is an opportunity to experience the Buddhist monastic
life style, and it is the closest one may come to living like a monk or nun without actually
receiving the ordination. Skiptvet Buddhist Monastery is located in the quiet, peaceful
countryside of Østfold County, south of Oslo, and is surrounded by fields and forests. It is a
place conducive to learning about Buddhism, to practising mindfulness, and to developing
peace inside. Although there is much time for individual meditation and contemplation,
visitors should be aware that this is not a retreat centre. The emphasis here is on applying
the Buddhist Path in all activities throughout the day, and not just during formal meditation.
During their stay, guests are expected to take part in the daily routine, and also to help out
with certain tasks. The Buddhist monks' rule, the Vinaya, does not allow monks to store and
prepare their own food, nor does it allow work that involves cutting plants and digging the
earth. Helping out in the kitchen and on the grounds are therefore ways in which lay guests
can be of great help in the day to day running of the monastery. There may be other
necessary work which guests are expected to take part in, and there is also often voluntary
work available to those who would like to help.
Everything in this monastery, from the property itself to the food we eat, is made available
through donations by lay supporters and guests. Everything is free; nothing is charged for.
Feel free to contribute as you wish.
As a place of contemplation and a sanctuary from the passions of the world, the practice of
celibacy is fundamental to life and practice in a Buddhist monastery. This applies not only
to the monks, but also to all visitors so long as they are within the grounds of the monastery.
Please show your respect and help to support this by dressing modestly. Please wear clothes
that cover the body from the neckline and the upper arms to below the knees, and avoid
semi-transparent or tight clothing.
At the moment, the monastery has only one guesthouse for laypeople. It consists of one
communal room with bed-space for up to four people. There are no toilet facilities or
running water in the guesthouse, but guests are invited to use the bathroom in the
downstairs area of the main house, about fifty metres away. Men and women may not share
the same lodgings while in the monastery; so at present, we can not accommodate men and
women simultaneously (unless, that is, one is willing to stay in a tent). Later, we hope to get
separate lodgings facilities for men and women.
Guests are expected to stay within the grounds of the monastery during their stay. Please
talk to the guest monk if there is a need to go to town.
The monastery does not provide access to computers and e-mail/internet.
The food served in the monastery, much of it vegetarian, is all freely offered by lay
supporters. We are therefore not able to cater to special dietary needs. Guests, however, are
welcome to contribute to the meal offerings in whatever way they see fit.

The Eight Precepts
While in the monastery, everyone is expected to follow the Eight Precepts. They are:
1. To abstain from killing. I.e., not to kill or hurt other beings, even mosquitos and
other insects.
2. To abstain from stealing. Literally, "not to take what has not been given". This
includes not helping oneself to food and tonics which have not been served.
3. To abstain from sexual activity. This includes all sexual and/or romantic behaviour,
verbal as well as physical. Visitors are asked to refrain from hugging, holding hands,
and other physical contact with members of the opposite sex.
4. To abstain from lying. This includes even "white lies". One should also try to abstain
from other forms of unskilful speech, such as coarse and/or hurtful speech. Try to
minimize useless chatter and worldly topics, especially topics that are potentially
controversial or inflammatory.
5. To abstain from drinking alcohol. This, of course, applies to all other recreational
drugs as well. Smoking is prohibited in all monastery buildings.
6. To abstain from eating at the "wrong time". All food must be consumed in the
period between dawn and mid-day (13:00 during summertime; 12:00 during the rest
of the year). There is usually breakfast served at around 07:00. At 11:00, the
community meets for the main meal. After that, no more food may be consumed until
breakfast the following day. During the rest of the day, only certain types of "tonics"
may be consumed for the sake of providing energy. In this monastery, they include:
sugar, honey, juice, milk-free chocolate, tea & coffee, and soyamilk (but not cow's
milk) to mix with the tea or coffee. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions.
7. To abstain from listening to music or watching movies; to abstain from
beautifying the body with jewelry, makeup, or perfume.
8. To abstain from luxurious beds. I.e., to not indulge in sleep. (This can be a danger
when living in a place that's very quiet and with little going on...)

The Daily Routine
All guests staying overnight are expected to take part in the daily routine. It may change
slightly from day to day but is mostly as follows:
05:00-06:00 Morning meeting (meditation and chanting)
07:00 Breakfast
11:00 Main meal
19:00 Evening meeting (chanting and meditation)
(We try our best to observe silence after the evening meeting and until the morning
meeting.)
In addition to this, guests are also expected to help out with some work, particularly in the
kitchen.
Things to bring along (if it's not too much to carry...)
Torch, water-proof shoes/boots (it can get muddy here), bed sheets, towel, alarm clock,
umbrella/rain gear.

Monastic conventions and etiquette
The conventions and etiquette of Theravāda Buddhism have developed within cultures in
many ways different from that of the modern West. It is therefore only to be expected that
some of it might feel unfamiliar and strange. The rules of etiquette listed below are, together
with the precepts, ways of promoting communal harmony and respect, and to support the
spiritual endeavours of those residing at the monastery. The important thing is to approach
it all with an open mind. Feel free to ask for clarification regarding these and other items.
 Relating to the monks. Buddhist monks in the Theravāda tradition are not supposed
to shake hands; laypeople usually greet monks by putting the palms of the hands
together in salutation. Monks may be addressed with the title "Bhante" (bun-tay);
senior monks may also be addressed as "Ajahn". Because of the Vinaya, monks must
have another man present when together with a woman.
 Bowing. It is normal to bow three times each when entering and leaving the shrine
room, especially at formal occasions such as the morning and evening meetings or
when sitting down to meditate. At arrival and departure, and also after the morning
and evening meetings, it is normal to bow three times to the senior monk; the monks
bow first, the laypeople afterwards. The monks' robes are a good indicator as to
whether an occasion is formal or not: If the monks are wrapped in their full-body
robe, that means it is formal. If it is your first time at a Buddhist monastery and
bowing feels uncomfortable, then it is not necessary to force oneself to do this. It is
always appreciated when people give it a try, but the most important thing is that one
maintain a respectful attitude.
Depending on one's state of mind, a Buddhist monastery may either feel peaceful, friendly,
and safe; or it may appear strict and intimidating. The trick is to find the right balance
between an attitude that is too sloppy or irreverent and one that is too tense and uptight. The
Buddha, in explaining this point, gave the simile of holding a small bird in one's hands: If
one holds the bird too tight, one will crush it; if one holds it too loose, it will fly away ...
We hope you will have a pleasant and beneficial stay.
Attachments
IMG_3640.jpg
IMG_3640.jpg (91.66 KiB) Viewed 4392 times
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
Dhammatalks.org - Sutta translations

User avatar
gavesako
Posts: 1739
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by gavesako » Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:32 pm

Some photographs of the monastery land:
Attachments
IMG_6507.JPG
IMG_6507.JPG (62.76 KiB) Viewed 4161 times
IMG_6657.JPG
IMG_6657.JPG (65.81 KiB) Viewed 4161 times
IMG_6665.JPG
IMG_6665.JPG (54.59 KiB) Viewed 4161 times
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
Dhammatalks.org - Sutta translations

User avatar
Sati1
Posts: 319
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:54 am

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by Sati1 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:50 pm

Sadhu sadhu sadhu!
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)

User avatar
gavesako
Posts: 1739
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by gavesako » Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:53 pm

05_1890717869.jpg
Aerial view of Skiptvet monastery
05_1890717869.jpg (265.79 KiB) Viewed 4078 times
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
Dhammatalks.org - Sutta translations

User avatar
Subharo
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by Subharo » Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:24 pm

Very Interesting. Does anyone know the names of the monks in residence? I can't find this info on this thread, nor on the site (and I did my best, despite not being able to read Norweigan).
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

User avatar
Crazy cloud
Posts: 490
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 8:55 am

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by Crazy cloud » Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:18 pm

Hi, Lucky to be part of the community :anjali:

(Abbot) Ajahn Kalyano, Ajahn Jinavamso, Ajito Bhikkhu, and novice Mikael.

Best regards!

Edit:

Image
If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care for you

We would zig-zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain

Wondering which of the
Buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing
- Roger Waters

User avatar
Zom
Posts: 2158
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Contact:

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by Zom » Wed Nov 18, 2015 4:40 pm

Nature just like in Russia... eh, unforunately, no monasteries here.

User avatar
Subharo
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by Subharo » Wed Nov 18, 2015 4:54 pm

Crazy cloud wrote:Hi, Lucky to be part of the community
Thanks, @Crazy cloud! :smile:

So if I understand correctly, Ajahn Kalyano used to be the abbot of Buddha Bodhivana Monastery, in Warburton, Vic, Australia, but has now become the abbot of Skiptvet instead.
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

User avatar
Crazy cloud
Posts: 490
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 8:55 am

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by Crazy cloud » Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:59 pm

Subharo wrote:
Crazy cloud wrote:Hi, Lucky to be part of the community
Thanks, @Crazy cloud! :smile:

So if I understand correctly, Ajahn Kalyano used to be the abbot of Buddha Bodhivana Monastery, in Warburton, Vic, Australia, but has now become the abbot of Skiptvet instead.
As far as I got it, there are two "Kalyanos", and "the norwegian one" has been a monastic and diciple under Loung Por Sumedho of Amaravati since early ninetees., before being sent over to Skiptvet and the establishing of a monastery in the Ajahn Cha lineage. Great fun to be part of this development in the making, and experience the "mojo" of Ajahan Cha's teaching and the exellent way the legacy has been kept by all of those outstanding diciples and teachers of his making.

Be well, @Subharo! :namaste:
If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care for you

We would zig-zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain

Wondering which of the
Buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing
- Roger Waters

User avatar
Subharo
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by Subharo » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:34 am

Again, thanks, Crazy cloud.

Silly trivia: One of the very few words of Norwegian I know (which I learned from Ven. Nitho, a native Norwegian), is "Skog", meaning "Forest". The "o" in "Skog" sounds like an "oo" sound, as in the word "school". To an English speaker such as myself, envisioning a forest, then mentally labelling it as "the Skooooog" makes it pretty much the most hilarious word ever (in a good way)! :jumping:
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

User avatar
gavesako
Posts: 1739
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by gavesako » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:11 am

Also good to know is that the name of town (Skiptvet) near the new monastery is pronounced like "ship-tvet" and has nothing to do with skipping. The town called Ski (pronounced like "she") is not far away.

There is now a new monastery website in English: http://skiptvet-vihara.weebly.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
Dhammatalks.org - Sutta translations

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 3743
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:48 am

Just wondering.

Are the monks allowed to use skis to go on almsround? :stirthepot:

I don't think it's mentioned in the Vinaya. :thinking:
BlogPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

User avatar
Subharo
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by Subharo » Fri Nov 20, 2015 5:14 pm

This is totally off topic, but @Crazy cloud, in your little picture, the bowing man is holding two objects. What are they? They appear to be a small golf club, and a bong, or something like that. I ask because I hope it's not a bong.

:offtopic:
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

User avatar
Crazy cloud
Posts: 490
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 8:55 am

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by Crazy cloud » Fri Nov 20, 2015 5:47 pm

Subharo wrote:This is totally off topic, but @Crazy cloud, in your little picture, the bowing man is holding two objects. What are they? They appear to be a small golf club, and a bong, or something like that. I ask because I hope it's not a bong.

:offtopic:
Close, but no sigar .. :tongue:

Its a girl with a violin and a bow

:anjali:
If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care for you

We would zig-zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain

Wondering which of the
Buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing
- Roger Waters

User avatar
gavesako
Posts: 1739
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: New forest monastery in Norway

Post by gavesako » Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:02 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Just wondering.

Are the monks allowed to use skis to go on almsround? :stirthepot:

I don't think it's mentioned in the Vinaya. :thinking:

It has been done before, or monks have used snow shoes. In the Vinaya there are precedents for adapting to local conditions regarding footwear, so why not?

Certainly it is time to prepare the skis:
12235019_10208031180366638_5491464799521323231_n.jpg
12235019_10208031180366638_5491464799521323231_n.jpg (70.3 KiB) Viewed 3929 times
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
Dhammatalks.org - Sutta translations

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: SarathW and 19 guests