History, Vision, Community, and Theravada Buddhism

The Bhavana Society is a community of monastics and lay people dedicated to the practice of traditional Theravada Buddhist training and development. Our name comes from the word Bhavana in Pali,  the ancient language of the Buddhist Suttas, meaning mental cultivation. In our forest home, we live and train according to the methods the Buddha taught over 2500 years ago.

Located in rural West Virginia, the Bhavana Society monastery is situated on over fifty wooded acres. In this peaceful setting, we hold formal meditation retreats throughout the year. The retreats held at Bhavana Society explore the whole range of  the Buddha’s teachings as preserved in the Pali Canon. Likewise, our meditation techniques come the Buddha, and include breath and body awareness,  guided meditation, chanting and loving-friendliness to gradually calm and develop the mind. All Bhavana Society retreats are offered completely free of charge.

When the monastery is not holding retreats, we welcome visitors. Please email us (info@bhavanasociety.org) to schedule a day visit. Day visitors may meditate in the inspiring setting of our Meditation Hall,  join the community for lunch or simply walk the grounds.

For those who wish to stay longer, we host visitors for stays ranging from a single night to well over year. Visiting for an extended time as a “lay resident” volunteer offers the opportunity to fully experience life in a Buddhist monastery,  immerse yourself in the Buddha’s teachings and meet other students of the Path. An overnight/extended visit application is required. It may be found on the website under the tab Visits: Residency Application.  For qualified individuals wishing to ordain, novice and full ordination is available

Be sure to see our blog, updated monthly, for the latest happenings at the monastery. And please visit our entry in National Geographic’s “Sacred Places of a Lifetime.”

The Bhavana Society is funded solely through donations and qualifies as a 501-C-3 non-profit organization. Donations to Bhavana Society are tax deductible in the US and often overseas.

Scroll to Top