New Forest Monastery Project — Empty Cloud Italia

Hello, Dhamma friends! I would like to share here with everyone some news about a monastery project in the works to help spread awareness and make it a reality.

Here at Empty Cloud Monastery, the co-founder Ayyā Somā has had to take on responsibility for intensive care for her elderly Italian mother. Over the past years, the monastics from Empty Cloud have periodically visited Italy with Ayyā Somā as she helped take care of her family needs, and in that time, took the opportunity to practice and share the Dhamma in Italy. As of late, her mother is no longer able to live independently, and requires full-time care. She has been staying in the US for a few months with the help of Ayyā Somā, but will need to return to Italy very shortly.

In the regular visits to Italy — practicing tudong/cārika, sharing teachings, etc. — a group of folks interested in the Dhamma has grown and formed a small network around Empty Cloud in Italy. During the last visit, the opportunity to purchase a large forest property arose outside of a small village in southern Italy.

The property is ~135 acres of mostly forested land (a rare and beautiful find in this region of the world) in the rural countryside. There are two fields on each end of the property which can be built on to have simple, minimalistic kuṭis (monastic huts) and basic facilities.

The monastics would go into the nearby villages for alms-round daily, as the custom of alms-seeking is known in Italy from Catholic mendicants and people are generally very happy to support spiritual practitioners. The monastery will be gender-inclusive—both bhikkhus and bhikkhuṇīs. This will be the first bhikkhuṇī monastery in Italy, and the first major gender-inclusive monastery in Europe that would be able to host monastics in training. It will give the opportunity for Ayyā Somā to have supportive conditions for practicing Dhamma while her mother is nearby, and provide a space for the practice of Dhamma that fosters seclusion, simplicity, and generosity.

The project is in collaboration with an Italian non-profit organization, ‘Human Love Connection,’ which will have one piece of the land on the other end of the forest for their own center. In the center of the land, there will be a retreat center run entirely by free-will donations with no mandatory charge/fees or suggested donations. This will be a space to host Buddhist meditation retreats, but will also be open to other contemplative retreats run by a number of practitioners and residency programs. The rest of the forest will be reserved exclusively for monastic practice and residence.

Empty Cloud is a Buddhist community focused on the study, practice, and realization of the early teachings of the Buddha grounded in the Early Buddhist Texts and found within the various living Buddhist traditions. Likewise, the Empty Cloud Italia forest monastery project will be a space focused on practicing in line with the Early Buddhist teachings and having an environment conducive to this practice.

To learn more, you can check out the website for the project at !

With mettā! — the monks at EC


Buona fortuna!
Enjoy Bella Italia.


Marvelous! And I rejoice in all the difficult merit of starting a monastery. It’s a great blessing.


This sounds amazing, and I am wishing the best of luck for “Nuvola Vuota”! :cloud: :heart:


Of starting another monastery :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Many Sādhus!! :grin: Sounds beautiful :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: