Heartwood is an intentional, low-impact living, multi-fold community.

It is a place of learning, support, and engagement for those dedicated to establishing or growing into their spiritual and personal potential.

About the Program

The One Year Residential Training Program is open to anyone who wishes to live mindfully, simply, learn and establish a dharma practice, and to embody the lessons taught by the Buddha. Participants will have the opportunity to serve the community while learning to respond appropriately with their whole being to whatever life brings in each moment. Participants will receive support and guidance from within our multi-fold community, which is composed of our Venerable Teacher’s Pannavati and Pannadipa, monastics, its long term residential community and laypersons. The program is centered around your personal commitment to discover new levels of understanding and meaning in your life where community needs may take precedence over individual needs. You will learn how to utilize the spiritual tools which will help you to end your own suffering, as well as to relieve the suffering of others. You will be continually encouraged to investigate your own heart, mind, and intentions, while serving the Sangha and local community. This community is not just a nice place to live with a supportive group of like-minded people, it is a place where you will be called to explore the great matter of your own existence.

Heartwood is a place where participants, with the guidance of the Dharma, will accept responsibility for their individual progress, and will understand the need to develop mutual trust in our shared lives. Balancing compassion and wisdom, we grow in patience and learn to cherish ourselves and others.

Embracing Simplicity Contemplative Order is unique in that it is a multi-lineage American Buddhist Contemplative Order which provides residential training for monastics, those considering monasticism, and laypersons. Another unique aspect to the Embracing Simplicity One Year Residency Program is that, unlike other similar programs, beginners and those who are still working to establish their practice are welcome to participate in the residential program.

Embracing simplicity residential programOur program is not reserved only for those with extensive training already. It is a training opportunity for anyone who wishes to undertake such a commitment.  It is the vision of the Contemplative Order that the Residential Training Program will follow. We respect all the spiritual masters of Theravada, Vipassana, Mahayana, Zen and Vajrayana and offer refuge for contemplatives, serious practitioners, and those who are new to the dharma. Our co-founding Abbott, Venerable Pannavati’s, exposure to multiple religions has led her to believe that the world of faith would benefit from a deeper, meaningful, spiritual dialogue, as opposed to attachment to the variations within communities of faith which keep them divided.  It is the mission of Embracing Simplicity Order to preserve and transmit the full legacy of the Buddhadharma through community and to embody the triple gem of our practice with complexity and brilliance.

In choosing to enter into this intensive training you are making a special commitment to discover new levels of understanding and meaning in your life. The essence of Dharma practice is to respond appropriately with your whole being to whatever life brings you in each moment. Life is unpredictable. Residency at Heartwood reflects this unpredictability. It gives you the opportunity to meet life’s challenges by adapting to the varying schedules and expectations; retreatants are constantly arriving and departing, spontaneous meetings are held, and the needs of the center are always changing. Since our schedule is intentionally and already demanding, it is important to use all the tools we have acquired through our practice in responding smoothly and fully to these situations to mature our spiritual practice. In life we never know what is coming next, either from others or ourselves, but we can do our best to be open, balanced and tranquil in whatever circumstances arise.

As your practice deepens you may bear witness to the first noble truth (we all encounter obstacles) as it manifests in community life. The arising of internal and interpersonal dissatisfactions and conflicts is a normal part of life. How we work with them is the difference between a practice center and an ordinary job. Being willing to hold the tension between the practices of inner observation and letting go and sharing one’s doubts and views is important.  Developing tolerance for our internal experience and for others’ different ways of being is a cornerstone of practice. All residents are asked to commit to using kind curiosity and active self-inquiry when problems and conflicts arise.

Details

Participants will live within the community and have the opportunity to take part in all community activities, unless otherwise restricted by work responsibilities. Participants should expect to remain at the Heartwood Refuge and Retreat Center for the whole year period, except for emergencies, such as medical leave, family support, or during the periods when the program is on break. Requests to leave the monastery for any of the aforementioned reasons requires approval. Trips away from the center during the break period should be limited to family and personal needs and will be subject to COVID 19 restrictions upon returning.

Participants will reside in a room with another participant and have access to a shared bathroom. Participants will be expected to engage in an average of 30 hours a week of service, attend all scheduled activities and support the community as needs arise. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in sitting meditation, walking meditation, service meditation, Dharma talks, work responsibility, teacher led retreats, practice periods, and a diverse course of study with multi-lineage teachers of Buddhism. Participants will learn and adhere to the practice trainings of a novice monastic.

Participants of Heartwood agree to maintain a high level of Community Conduct, which includes taking the 10 virtuous action vows and by observing the Five Mindfulness Trainings or Five Precepts.

I vow to avoid killing living beings.
I vow to avoid taking what is not freely given.
I vow to avoid sensual misconduct.
I vow to avoid false speech.
I vow to avoid malicious speech.
I vow to avoid harsh speech.
I vow to avoid gossip.
I vow to avoid covetousness (fewness of wishes).
I vow to avoid ill will
I vow to avoid wrong view.

Requirements

Embracing Simplicity Training Residential Program is open to those who are enthusiastic and energetic in their practice, motivated to build Sangha, and willing and able to acquire or offer the practical skills needed to support the sustainability of the dharma community. It is a perfect fit for those who are looking for a modern adaptation to renunciation, a simple contemplative life for lay people, those who have demonstrated maturity and stability in their practice, and those who are new to the practice of dharma. The program requires a commitment to live in harmony with the residents of the community. Considering the requirements and full-time nature of the program, it is recommended that participants be single, without dependent children, and free from external obligations. Participants will be holistically engaged with the community through their hearts, minds, and hands.

Service MeditationService Meditation

Participants wholeheartedly undertake dharmic duties such as, cooking, gardening, shopping,and housekeeping as a very important part of their spiritual training. This is the way the monastery is maintained for both residents and the community.  It is critical that participants take their commitment to dharmic duty wholeheartedly and take responsibility for whatever task they are assigned.

Responsibility

The Monastery relies heavily on year-long residents to staff the various work positions, so you will be asked to take on some very real responsibilities essential to running the center and its programs. Because of this, year-long residents are asked to enter with a strong, clear sense of commitment. As a year-long resident, you’ll have an amazing opportunity to practice meeting your limits and seeing how they dissolve when you stop investing in them. You can see where genuine peace of mind arises from, and how life can become much bigger than how you feel at any particular moment.

Meals and Food

All participants are required to attend breakfast and main meals, supper is completely optional.  Meals are vegetarian with an emphasis on grains, seasonal fruits, and vegetables. Special diets are generally not supported, although serious medical food allergies are taken into consideration.  In this program, we will cultivate a gratitude toward food by appreciating whatever we are given. Participants will make it part of their practice to adapt themselves to the monastery diet, rather than trying to change the monastery to adapt to them. We accept all donations of vegetarian food whether it be organic, fast, junk, canned or food straight from the garden. We will embrace it all and be grateful that we have been offered these gifts.

Kitchen Use

Sometimes on days off we practice “open kitchen” wherein we eat primarily leftovers from the refrigerator. Other times the kitchen may be closed and meals are scheduled and provided on the days off. Kitchen cleaning is shared among all residents. After clean-up, there should be no dirty dishes, plastic bags, spilled food or kitchen appliances left on the counters. The floor should be swept and, if necessary, mopped. A general rule is to always clean up more than your share.

Library and Wellness Center

Library and Wellness Center

Residents may use anything in the library and wellness center so long as it is left cleaned and all items are returned to the precise location you found it.

Drugs, Alcohol, and Smoking

Alcohol, marijuana, cigarette smoking and illegal or unprescribed drugs are not permitted at the monastery.  If you bring alcohol or drugs onto the grounds you will be asked to leave, immediately terminating your program.

Gross Misconduct

Residents, whether on monastery grounds or elsewhere, are absolutely not to engage in any violence, pornography use, or sexual misconduct.  Weapons of any kind are not permitted on the grounds.  Any case of gross misconduct as described here will result in your being asked to leave the center, immediately terminating your program..

Medical

If you take prescription medicine for an on-going condition, or have any other medical issues, please inform the prioress before entering the training.  The monastery does not have medical insurance for residents. You will be responsible for any medical or dental treatment you may need. All participants must provide for their own health insurance.

Illness

When minor illness inevitably comes, participants should continue the monastery schedule, just as if you had important employment. We recommend resting and notifying the mentor, prioress or abbot when you are very sick with symptoms such as fever, vomiting, or any flu-like or COVID 19 related symptoms. With serious illness you will be encouraged to consult a physician. Part of the training is to show up for your life even when strong challenges present themselves and to discover the freedom that comes from releasing attachment to comfortable conditions. Our willingness to follow the schedule regardless of how we feel is also a way of supporting the container and the practice of others. Of course this view must be balanced and you are encouraged to be well and take care of yourself within the parameters of the schedule.

Silence

There are times in the monastery’s rhythm when Noble Silence is primary. Generally, we maintain silence from the last activity of the day until after we wash our breakfast dishes the next morning. Very loud talking, frivolous conversations, and unnecessary noise are not appropriate at any time.

Mentor

Venerables Pannavati and Pannadipa

Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a weekly meeting with a mentor.

Clothing

Participants should dress modestly while at the monastery and consider how immodest dress or clothing attracts attention to you and may distract others from their practice. Shorts and sleeveless clothing are not permitted. Clothes should be loose fitting, simple, plain and opaque. Please do not wear tops with words or pictures on them, tight yoga pants, or any very tightly fitted clothing.

Cleanliness

Living at the monastery means living in a well kept environment. Participants will do their part to maintain an uncluttered atmosphere that is conducive to clarity of mind and meditation. Participants will be expected to keep themselves and their living quarters clean and neat by keeping and using only what is necessary.

Relationships and Courtship

Your stay at Heartwood is a time for intense practice. It is not the place or time to seek or develop a new romantic or sexual relationship, exclusive friendships, or to solve relationship problems. Should you wish to pursue a relationship this may be a time to change your place of practice so that you can give your attention to developing a healthy relationship, which requires more time and attention than is available here.

Leaving the Center/Coming and Going

Each participant in the program commits for a one year period. We ask that you remain on campus for the duration of your time commitment for residential training and not to leave until you have completed that time period. We encourage everyone to be realistic in his or her commitment. Leaving the monastery should be limited. If you need to leave for any period of time, even on a day off, please communicate to your mentor. If you have already planned essential time away this should be discussed with the mentor upon applying for the program. Please schedule medical, business, and social appointments on your lazy day Monday.

Sample Schedule

The Embracing Simplicity Training Program offers the following sample to demonstrate what daily life might look like during your residency period.  Due to the impermanence of life, schedules are always subject to change.

6:00-6:40 am Morning chants and sitting meditation
6:40-7:00 Walking Meditation
7:00 Silent Breakfast until after morning dishes are washed
9:00-11:00 Service Meditation and work responsibility
12:00-1:00 (Tue,Thur, Sun) Dharma Activities
1:00 Lunch (20 minutes in silence)
1:00-4:30 Work and Rest period
4:30-6:00 Afternoon Sessions
6:00 Dinner (mindful conversation)
7:15.    (Wednesday, Friday) Evening Sessions
10:00 Lights out

Costs

The Embracing Simplicity One Year Residential Program requires a sliding scale monthly contribution of $300-$600 per month, with those who have the ability to pay at the higher end of the scale doing so, so that those who cannot afford to attend may have the opportunity. This payment includes meals and housing and is required in addition to the work/study/practice commitment outlined above. This does not include payments of gratitude (dana) for the teachers, nor does it include any type of medical care or treatment. Participants are responsible for paying the costs of any needed medical care, prescriptions, or doctor’s visits.

If a participant decides to leave the program before the end of one year, no refunds will be provided for the time already spent at Heartwood and monthly payments will not be prorated.

As a good faith gesture toward a participant’s commitment to attend, once accepted, participants will be required to submit their non-refundable first month’s payment in order to reserve their space.

Commitment to Diversity

It is crucial to ensure the diversity of the community experience in a myriad of ways. Diversity is inclusive of gender, orientation, class, race, and physical ability. It also includes practitioners of various Buddhist traditions, as well as other contemplative wisdom traditions which uphold the same qualities of character. Room assignments will be appropriately determined based upon each participant’s self-identifying gender.

Pet Policy

Participants in the Embracing Simplicity One Year Residency Program may not bring pets to the facility.  Service animals are permitted with appropriate documentation.

How to Apply

To be considered for the One Year Residential Program, please complete the initial inquiry form. Once your inquiry has been reviewed, you will receive further information regarding your acceptance into the program. If accepted, you will be scheduled for a telephone/zoom call or in-person meeting with one of Heartwood’s community members. You’ll be asked to examine your motivation for engaging spiritual practice and to express that motivation in writing and in a phone interview.

Please keep in mind that one of the core values at Heartwood is developing humbleness of wishes. Please consider carefully whether you have the sincere ability to take only what is offered and what is not offered in the training program.

The first thirty (30) days of your residency are considered a trial period. Acceptance of your application is only applicable to the first 30 days. Your mentor and the community as a whole will consider your commitment to the training program.

Heartwood Refuge is under the spiritual direction of its founders, Venerable Pannavati Bhikkhuni and Venerable Pannadipa Bhikkhu. By becoming a resident you agree to follow their spiritual guidance and the leadership of the sangha.

The form is an inquiry and not the application process. Acceptance into the community is a community decision and one that will be well considered. Please do not make arrangements to move to Heartwood unless otherwise advised.

Fill out Resident Inquiry Form

Social DistancingCOVID 19

Heartwood is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all residents.  As new participants arrive on campus, they will be screened for COVID 19, including taking their temperature. If your application is accepted and your arrival time has been scheduled, you will be required to quarantine in your home for a minimum of fourteen (14) days prior to arrival at Heartwood.  Additionally, new residents will be appropriately quarantined upon their arrival on campus to ensure the safety of those sharing rooms. If you experience any symptoms of illness within fourteen (14) days of your arrival at Heartwood, please contact us immediately to reschedule.