Santi Forest Monastery
Santi Forest Monastery is a Buddhist community for nuns and laypeople. It's located on 150 acres of eucalyptus forest, cliffs, waterfalls, and caves adjoining Morton National Park in the rugged landscape of Australia's Southern Highlands, about halfway between Sydney and Canberra. It was established by Bhante Sujato, with his teacher Ajahn Brahm, the abbot of Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery in Western Australia, as its first Spiritual Director. Santi Forest Monastery is owned by Santi Forest Monastery Incorporated, a not-for-profit charitable association.
The primary purpose of the monastery is to offer residential and educational facilities for Buddhist nuns who wish to train in the forest meditation tradition with the aspiration to realise enlightenment.
The training at Santi Forest Monastery emphasises:
- Devotion to meditation in seclusion, the heart of the Buddha's path.
- Monastic discipline, contentment, and simplicity as a foundation for building a mature and harmonious spiritual community.
- Study of Buddhist scriptures.
Lay people are welcome to visit or to stay in order to meditate and experience the monastic lifestyle. However, formal meditation retreats for lay people are not conducted at Santi Forest Monastery.
Anyone who wishes to bring the traditional offering of food for the Sangha may normally do so before the meal time of 11.00 AM. We appreciate if you can let us know in advance, by telephone on (02) 4883-6331 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Santi Forest Monastery runs completely on mutual generosity. Dhamma is beyond price, so we do not charge for teaching, books, or accommodation. Santi Forest Monastery is a non-profit charity that relies solely on donations. Building of meditation huts and other facilities is ongoing and your contribution is precious to us.
Anyone interested to visit the monastery is welcome. The best time for a casual visit is 9:30 - 11:00 AM. A senior monastic is usually available to answer questions from noon to 1:00 PM.
See map: Google Maps
Ajahn Brahm is the spiritual director of Santi Forest Monastery.
How to get to Santi Forest Monastery
Santi Forest Monastery is easily accessible from the Hume Highway, about two hours drive from Sydney and slightly less from Canberra. There are train services to Bundanoon by both Countrylink and Cityrail. Vistors can walk 40 minutes to the monastery, or else ring in advance and we may be able to arrange a lift from the station. Detailed directions as follows.
Take the M5 (Sydney to Canberra) past the turn-offs for Mittagong and Moss Vale. Look for the small sign on the left for Sutton Forest, immediately after the third and final 'End of Freeway' sign. Follow Golden Vale Road for 6km to the 'T' junction on the Illawara Highway (48). Turn right, and left just 500 m later at the Sutton Forest shops, following the sign to Bundanoon. Pass through Exeter and Bundanoon, following the signs to Goulburn; this will put you on Penrose Road. 2km past Bundanoon, Penrose Road takes a sharp right bend, and the turn-off to Coalmines Road is just there on the left. At the end of the road you will be rewarded by seeing the Dhamma wheel of Santi Forest Monastery.
There are trains for Bundanoon departing from Central station on the Southern Highlands Line. Some Cityrail trains run directly to Bundanoon and some will require switching trains at Campbelltown. If coming by train, and you change trains at Campbelltown, switching from platform 3 to platform 4, be aware that platform 4 only extends half the length of the station. Cityrail trains cannot be booked in advance. You can alternatively book a ticket on Countrylink. The Sydney>Canberra service stops at Bundanoon if requested. However, tickets may only be booked within seven days of travelling time.
Follow the Hume Highway (31) past Goulburn and Marulan. 2km past Marulan take the Bundanoon turn-off, passing through Tallong, Wingello, and Penrose. 7km past Penrose (2km before Bundanoon), Penrose Road takes a sharp left bend, and the turn-off to Coalmines Road is just there on the right. Santi Forest Monastery is marked by the Dhamma wheel at the end of the road.