Welcome to the Oxford Buddha Vihara. We are a dwelling place for a group of monks and a meeting place for a community of Buddhists from a wide variety of backgrounds. We operate loosely within the traditions of South and South-East-Asian Temples. Many of our community are from an Asian background, and continue some of their temple traditions here at Vihara.

You are most welcome here whatever your cultural or religious background. Please feel at home and enjoy your stay.


Vihara Activities
 

Meditation & Buddhist Study

 

 

Celebrations, Ceremonies & Support

 

Resources

Weekend meditation retreat (Saturday & Sunday at 09:00 - 17:00) on the second Sunday of each month


Individual and group residential retreats

 

Buddhist activities for children and young people

Classes exploring the Buddha's teaching

 

Meditation and discussion every Friday night

 

Chanting and meditation at 7pm every evening

  Buddhist ceremonies and blessings for birth, death, marriage and other important life transitions

 

Celebrations marking festivals in the Buddhist calendar

 

Occasional group pilgrimages to holy Buddhist sites

 

Opportunities to support the Vihara through donations of work, goods or money, including mindful work days

 

Educational visits to local schools

 

Newsletters in English, Thai and Burmese languages

 

Buddhist library in English, Pali, Burmese, Thai and Shan (Tai)

 

Teachings of the Abbot are available in book and CD from the Vihara including a basic guide to meditation: "Mindfulness Meditation Made Easy" in both English and Thai


Facilities

 Kitchen

 

 

Make yourself at home in the kitchen and help yourself to tea, coffee and food if you are hungry. If you are not sure what to do then just ask someone.

 Library

 


Our library is in of the garden huts. You can use it anytime and borrow books by filing in a borrowing form.
If the door is locked then the key is in the kitchen on the key hooks If the library is cold then turn on the heater (switch at the wall) and please turn it off when you finish.

 Garden Meditation Hut

 

The second garden hut can be used for meditation at any time, so if you want to come and sit quietly for a while you can use this hut.

Turn on the heating if you are cold.

 Shrine Room

Our two main shrine rooms are used for group chanting and meditation every day at 07:00, open to all with tea and coffee afterwards.

On Fridays there is a discussion after the meditation, and a chance to get advice on your meditation practice. The main shrine rooms are generally used by visitors for socialising, eating, having conversations with the monks and various for various ceremonies and blessings. Feel free to join in.
 

 Bedrooms

 

 

One side of the house has bedrooms for visitors, so if you want to stay at the Vihara for a few days, just let us know in advance so we can make arrangements for you.
 

Vihara Etiquette

 

 Greeting

Many people, when they arrive at the Vihara, will greet each other by placing their hands together over their hearts and making a slight bow from the waist, in the Asian tradition. Some use the standing bow to greet monks. Some prefer to bow three times from kneeling. Either way the bowing represents respect for the monastic life and is not a statement of deference to an individual. No need to bow if you don’t want to! Monks are normally spoken to using a title of respect. At the Vihara they are often addressed as Bhante (pronounced ban-tay meaning venerable in Pali) or Venerable in English, i.e. you might say to a monk: “Excuse me Bhante, I have a question.” If you know the name of the monk you can address him as “Venerable Dhammasami” and so forth. These respectful titles are used for all monks as a way of respecting the monastic way of life, not the individual. These respectful titles are used for all monks as a way of respecting the monastic way of life, not the individual.
 

 Bowing to Buddha Figures and to the Altar

 

Most of the statuses you will see at the Vihara are representations for the Buddha in different postures. Some visitors like to bow towards the Buddha figure three times from kneeling when they first come into the room with the altar. Traditionally this is a way of paying respect to three things: the Buddha and his example of awakening; his teaching; and the community of people following his teaching. Others bow down to corresponding principles of awareness, truthfulness and selflessness. If you do not feel like bowing then please do not feel that you should!


 

 Shoes

 

 

Shoes are normally left at the door or just inside the door. This helps keep the carpets clean and is considered a sign of respect for the Vihara.

 

 


 

 Gifts to the Vihara

One of the distinctive features of South and South East Asian Buddhist culture is the joy that people experience when giving gifts to the temple. At this Vihara people bring food, clothes, medicines and other basics, and offer them to the monks. Some just leave things in the kitchen. Others like to formally offer gifts to monks next to the altar, and receive a chanted blessing. Technically, as monks’ vows do not allow them to take anything which is not given, gifts need to be handed to a monk as a gift if it is to be acceptable for use by the monks. For the same reason, when meals are offered to monks the plates can be formally offered (usually each one handed to a monk) so that the above precept is not broken. People also give money to help with the upkeep of the Vihara and for particular projects like the printing of Buddhist books and suchlike. There is a donation box for those who prefer giving in that way. Others help with jobs that need to be done including DIY, gardening and various other tasks needed to keep the place running. Feel free to offer support in any way you like, including not at all! Joyful giving is at the heart of the Vihara community. The Buddha taught that generosity is a good quality to develop: here there are many chances to practice!

We hope you enjoy your visit. If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to talk to one of the monks. Leave us your email address if you’d like us to keep you informed about future events.