Monasteries under direct threat from Australian Fires (merged thread - not in order of posts)


I was there when a bushfire went through Bodhinyana. In a bushfire, the greatest heat is at the top of hills as the fire comes up the slope. If the buildings are brick there shouldn’t be any problem, the main damage at Bodhinyana was a few cracked window panes. Make sure all the windows are closed to prevent burning embers, and that the guttering is free of dead leaves.
The main measure is to design the surrounds of the monastery before the fire so that fire risk is lessened, have a firebreak around the perimeter, reduce scrub to islands, and strategically locate trees within it.
Do not evacuate the monastery.


My metta is with you and with Santi monastery :meditation: :pray: I really hope fire won’t reach this place and will stop as soon as possible :anjal:


Thanks @paul1 & @Invo, but I’m not there! Just passing the message along; I’m in cool misty Charlotte. The hills around Santi used to be called the Misty Highlands, but not lately.

The tips you suggested were good for an old-style bushfire. Nowadays under the new climate conditions they’re tending to have firestorms - nothing in the path of a firestorm is left standing.

(Firestorms’ flames reach high above tree tops, they can spawn fire tornados, and on the ground they reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Celsius or 2,192 degrees Fahrenheit.)


The flames in this fire were also above the trees. As I watched the fire move along a nearby ridge at night, the canopies of trees were exploding and the fire was leaping across to the next tree. It looked like the rim of the sun. The temperature earlier that day was 45 C and a bird lost all fear and sought the shade of the verandah. But the magnifying effects of climate change are not disputed.
However most of the buildings destroyed in the current fires were never designed to be fireproof, the situation was unexpected. Experts are now talking about using better materials in future so they can survive the more frequent fires.


Hi Ven @Charlotteannun and everyone in this thread, I returned last night to Sydney from Santi, where I had been staying in the last week with the wonderful community of nuns and laypeople there.

The deteriorating conditions in the area (fires to the north and south, thick smoke and ash in the air, heatwave temperatures for the next few days above 43 degrees and strong winds, in a country already bone dry from a long drought) led to the nuns wisely deciding to close the monastery and seek shelter elsewhere.

With main roads and highways also affected by the fires, and very low visibility due to thick black smoke, people are being urged to leave early rather than later as conditions will only worsen today. This decision was made by the nuns in line with the monastery’s Bushfire Survival Plan, following the bushfire protocols of the NSW Rural Fire Service, and after consultation with the local RFS brigade—who are the real local-knowledge experts in dealing with these catastrophic situations.

@paul1 this is certainly not the advice of any of the actual fire authorities, and your personal opinion should of course be ignored, as it is not only unhelpful but extremely dangerous. Having also lived at Bodhinyana, I assure you that there is a evacuation plan in place and the monastery has been evacuated in the past to protect life. Dhammasara monastery also has evacuation plans and regularly closes due to bushfire threats. Recently Wat Buddha Dhamma here was very badly damaged by fire (fortunately the monks wisely evacuated, actually this was their 4th evacuation in a week or so), whole towns have been destroyed (again people wisely evacuated), 3 firefighters have have died, homeowners have been killed, countless animals have perished and thousands of buildings have been destroyed. An area the size of Belgium was evacuated in the state of Victoria yesterday. The fire threatening Santi from the south is over 219 000 hectares in size.

So, staying is not really sensible; unless one is in the 4th Jhana! :laughing:

Naturally, we did all we could in terms of preparing the monastery for fire, doing all we could to give the buildings a chance, but many are wooden and in the middle of a thick, very dry forest… The community mobilised with determination and equanimity. It was hard work in hot temperatures and plenty of smoke. (Not anywhere near as bad as the conditions faced by our brave firefighters though!) Hopefully things won’t come to the worst, but the fire has been creeping forward inexorably for weeks.

Please keep Santi Monastery and all those affected by these huge, devastating fires in your thoughts, especially all the animals who cannot escape as easily as we humans, and whose habitat has been destroyed. The mood in Australia is very grim at the moment.

As I write this, the fire alert warning level has just increased to “Emergency” in the local area. Please share your metta and chant the fire protection verses from the Vattaka Jataka:

Aṭṭhi loke sīla-guno
There is in this world the quality of vitue,

Saccaṃ soceyy’anuddayā,
Truth, purity, tenderness. In accordance

Tena saccena kāhāmi ,
with this truth I will make

Sacca-kiriya-anuttaraṃ .
Unsurpassed vow of truth.

Avajjitva dhamma-balaṃ ,
Sensing the strength of the Dhamma,

Saritvā pubbake jine,
Calling to mind the victors of the past,

In dependence on the strength of truth,

I made an unsurpassed vow of truth.

Santi pakkhā apattanā,
Here are wings with no feathers,

Santi pādā avancanā,
Here are feet that can’t walk,

Matā pitā ca nikkhantā ,
My mother & father have left me,

Jata-veda patikhama .
Fire, go back!

Saha sacce kate mayhaṃ,
When I made my vow with truth,

Mahapajjalitosikhī ,
The great crested flames

Vajjesi solasa karīsāni,
Avoided the sixteen acres around me

Udakaṃ patvā yaṭhā sikhī ,
As if they had come to a body of water.

Saccena me samo n’aṭṭhi ,
My truth has no equal:

Esā me sacca-pāramīti.
Such is my perfection of truth.



Thank you for the update Bhante @Akāliko. I saw on the Santi website that they are closed to visitors til further notice. Of course they didn’t advertise that the property is empty, so it is good to know that all human beings are safe. :pray:


I feel quite certain that the community and its supporters would have followed the instructions of the Rural Fire Service and other local authorities, as all of us in NSW are having to do.

To explain the severity of the current situation to those outside of NSW, all the experts are saying that we have never, ever, had fires of this magnitude, nor so many fires at one time, before. In many cases they are saying that the ‘stay and defend’ policy is not advised. (And a similar situation has been developing in Victoria over the past days.)

We must hope that at, as happened at Wat Buddha Dhamma, the RFS will be able to prioritise sufficient personnel to to keep the most important building safe. Of course they will if they are able, but the situation has been such in other townships that they haven’t been able to reach all places. … Indeed, I can hear fire sirens as I write this.


My goodness, everyone, it just sounds so horrifying. Please stay safe and keep cool.

Ven @Akaliko I hope the community is all housed and looked after in Sydney? And what about WBD, are they back at the Wat?


Since Dec 12.

But today huge losses in S NSW and Vic. :frowning:


My good wishes for my friends in Australia. :heart:

Today the air here (2000 km east of Australia) is full of smoke, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like over there!


You seem to be suffering the misfortune of being directly downwind; that’s rather bad luck.

Ecit: Picture from ABC news.


Thanks for the picture. I didn’t manage to find such a good one myself!

My mother said that some of the Australian fires in the late 40s or early 50s actually left ash on the glaciers over here (she was a keen climber at at time). For us today it was just grey, but you could smell the smoke…

May the people over there be well… :heart:


Here’s some photos of ash on New Zealand glaciers.
My Mums comment was that she remembered the ash she saw 70 years ago being redder than this…


That’s actually really, really bad isn’t it? Because now the glaciers are dark coloured and so will start to melt, at least as long as the ash is there, right? The dominoes start to fall.


Certainly it doesn’t help, though, as I said, dust from Australia is a historical fact…

It is sad, though, how much the glaciers have shrunk in my lifetime.


The wildfire has reached Santi Forest Monastery. It touches the southern edge - yet doesn’t come on the property. NOW is the time to send your blessings
Fire map





Fire reached Santi property yet hasn’t crossed it somehow - plz send blessings now


:meditation: :pray:




Perhaps we can include the 2 other Buddhist centres, that are near by and in the same circumstances as Santi, in our thoughts and chants.

:pray: :dharmawheel: :thaibuddha: