Monastic Life

Whether you’re curious about the lifestyle of Buddhist monastics, aspire to take ordination, or are already ordained, there's a treasury of books here about monastic life.

Featured Book

The Vinaya refers to the ethical discipline, precepts, and rules of training for the monastic community and the texts explaining this. To contribute to the flourishing of the monastic community and the Dharma in the West, Venerable Thubten Chodron has edited numerous books for aspiring, novice, and fully ordained monastics. May these rare English resources be of benefit to Western monastics and those who are interested in learning more about ordination.

Please note: Some of these texts may only be read by those who are ordained as Buddhist monastics. If you’re a Buddhist monastic who would like to watch Venerable Thubten Chodron’s Vinaya teachings, send in a request to livestream [dot] sravasti [at] gmail [dot] com. Please provide information on your level and length of ordination and the name of your preceptor.

Cover of the book, "Living the Vinaya"

Living the Vinaya

A commentary on Buddhist karmans and skandhakas, now available in English to support the growth of monastic communities in the West. This book is best read by Buddhist monastics.

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Book cover of Building Community

Building Community

Practical and contemporary perspectives from an abbess and her students on the joys and challenges of building, sustaining, and thriving in religious community.

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Book cover of Exploring Monastic Life

Exploring Monastic Life Handbook

A collection of articles compiled by the Sravasti Abbey community to provide guidance for those interested in exploring their spiritual aspirations more deeply.

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Book cover of Karmans for the Creation of Virtue

Karmans for the Creation of Virtue

Teachings by Vinaya master Bhikshu Benyin on the activities in which monastics should engage in order to preserve the monastic lifestyle. This text is best read by fully ordained Buddhist monastics.

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Book cover of Choosing Simplicity

Choosing Simplicity

A guide to the precepts and lifestyle of fully ordained Buddhist nuns for all those who wish to conduct their day-to-day lives more mindfully. This text is best read by fully ordained Buddhist monastics.

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Book cover of Blossoms of the Dharma

Blossoms of the Dharma

A compilation of talks given at the Life as a Western Buddhist Nun conference in Bodhgaya, India in 1996. Wisdom and inspiration for lay practitioners and nuns seeking the essence of Buddhist practice.

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BOOK COVER OF Preparing for Ordination

Preparing for Ordination

Thoughtful preparation before ordaining eases the transition from lay to monastic life and promotes a joyous journey. Venerable Thubten Chodron compiled this collection of articles to support Westerners who have the aspiration to ordain as a Buddhist monastic.

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