Facilities for Women: Rocana And Aloka

An almost unique feature of Cittaviveka among monasteries in the West is that it provides a situation wherein women can learn from, or train as, ten-precept Buddhist nuns  (siladharas).   Four women were members of the community that established Cittaviveka in 1979: they quickly took on monastic training under the Eight Precepts and in 1983 were given the Going Forth with the ten precepts (which includes the relinquishment of money) by Ajahn Sumedho.  Ajahn Sucitto, the current abbot, supervised their training at first, and in the course of this, a detailed system of training evolved that owes much to the regulations and procedures of the original Bhikkhuni Order. This has resulted in a nuns’ community that has structures and procedures where women practise and take guidance within a community of other women.

The women’s residences at Cittaviveka are contiguous with Hammer Wood and comprise of a small cottage, Aloka, where up to four guests can stay, and Rocana, which is the residence for the nuns – currently they number around nine. There is a shared shrine-room in the downstairs of Rocana. The two cottages lie beside a stream in the bottom of a small valley and provide a supportive situation for those who benefit from a quiet, natural environment.