Who We Are
About the Society, its traditions, monastics and community
The Bhavana Society is a community of monastics and lay people living according to the precepts and practices laid down by the Buddha, Siddhattha Gotama, over 2500 years ago. The Pali word “Bhavana” means mental cultivation and Bhavana is dedicated to the practice of Theravadan Buddhist meditation which refers to the oldest school of Buddhism. Located in rural West Virginia, the monastery and meditation center provides opportunities for people to come to organized retreats as well as personal retreats and personal visits of varying lengths. Lay people who are dedicated to the practice of Theravada Buddhism may live at the center in support of the monastery for periods from two weeks to a year or more. There is also the opportunity of novice and full ordination for those interested and qualified.
The meditation we teach follows the broad range of methods taught by the Buddha in the Pali scriptures. Often beginning with concentration on the breath and breath awareness, other techniques are used to calm the mind and gain a deeper awareness into the root cause of our suffering.
The foundation for all of these practices is the commitment to moral training. For a layperson practicing away from the monastery, this includes at a minimum abstaining from killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, and intoxicants. At the monastery, lay people follow additional precepts including those to refrain from entertainment, the use of cosmetics and eating after noon. The monastics follow a broad range of several hundred moral and spiritual precepts that aim at the perfection of harmlessness and mindfulness in every action.
The Bhavana Society is a non-profit organization under the direct regulations of the US Federal Government and it’s qualifications as a 501-C-3 not for profit corporation. All donations are considered tax deductible and can be used as a tax deduction (foreign countries should check with their government’s regulations).