Past Resident Testimonials
Thoughts from people who have lived at the Bhavana Society
To give you a more personal idea of what people experience by living at the Bhavana Society, we offer these reflections.
From Nick B.: (Resident, Summer 2001, 2005, 2006): I first came to Bhavana in 2001 after I graduated from college. Including that time, I have been a short term resident at Bhavana three times, for a total of about 5 months. The first time I came to Bhavana, I didn’t know all that much about Buddhism, but had some meditation experience and had been on a retreat with Bhante G before. I came mostly with a sense of curiosity to see what Bhavana was all about.
While at Bhavana I learned a lot about the Buddha’s teachings. But, looking back, I think the most important thing is that I gained confidence in the teachings of the Buddha as the way to end suffering. I think I learned this from being in the presence of monks and nuns who were practicing intensely and seeing how they relate to the world. This was not something I could have absorbed from a book. My time at Bhavana has continued to impact my life. Sometimes when I’m feeling confused or regretful, I think of the work I’ve done at Bhavana and I feel better knowing that I have contribute to a place that helps people be free from suffering.
The simple life of the monastery also helped me look at my life more profoundly. My experiences have given me a profound respect for what is possible when anyone practices the way of the Buddha.
From Jackie M.: Shortly after finally being introduced to Theravada Buddhism and formal meditation, I moved to Bhavana hoping to deepen my meditation practice more quickly and make up for lost time. At that point, I didn’t really know what I needed to learn about Dhamma or about myself, but living in a Buddhist community seemed like a good place to start. I was also excited about living in a kuti, closer to the woods and the weather. During my year-and-a-half at Bhavana, I moved from almost total ignorance of the Buddha’s teachings (I didn’t know what a sutta was!) to a good basic grounding in the Dhamma and familiarity with the Pali language. More importantly, I experienced the priceless gift and protection of living in a place where moral and mindful conduct is supported, in the company of sincere practitioners.
Since leaving Bhavana and living in other communities, I can see how much more equanimity and self-understanding I have in my relationships with other people than I did when I first arrived at Bhavana. My meditation practice continues to unfold and while there are always challenges, I understand better how to meet them. What took me by surprise was learning how strongly I’m drawn to the good life of simplicity and renunciation, as well as the deepening of my faith in BuddhaDhammaSangha and learning how far that faith can carry me. I was also surprised and grateful to hear from family and friends elsewhere that my experience of residency at Bhavana touched them in positive ways.