Support a New, Inclusive Monastery/Retreat Center in the US!

Since I arrived in New York a little over year ago, Buddhist Insights ( has been my Dhamma home (and frequently my actual home!)

Buddhist Insights captivated and amazed me because they offered Theravada style residential weekend retreats in New York City for free. That means everyone has access to the Dhamma in a place it’s so desperately needed.

As Sister Soma says…
“In the past three years we have opened our doors to everyone who was interested in practicing the Dharma. Gay, straight, queer, trans, bi, lesbian, cis-gender or non-binary, you name it. About half of our attendees identify as people of color, and 75% are below the age of 40. We are not a wealthy organization, but we try our best to do what we can with the few donations that are offered by individuals like you…”

I’m sure some of those details will amaze those of you familiar with the American Dharma scene.

Started by Bhante Suddhaso (formerly of Abhayagiri and Bhavana Society and Sister Soma (Giovanna) Buddhist Insights is looking for a new home that will provide space for more retreatants, lay residents, and monastics.

They have found an amazing Catholic monastery to convert but need to raise the down payment! Can you or your community help?

This organization is so close to my heart, it would be incredible to see it grow to meet the demand and need for it!

See the fundraiser on Facebook or on their website!


What happens if they don’t raise enough before someone else buys the property?

I’m thinking about donating $50 or something but in ~6 months they’ve raised 6k with a goal of 200k. At this rate, it’ll be 16 years before they have enough for a down payment. So I’m wondering what will happen to donations if it’s been years and they’re still not close to their goal?



Well said @Cara !!! As you know, this organization is so close to my heart as well. I hope that this fundraising drive works! BI is a very special, all-inclusive, home away from home, where the Dhamma is taught in an accessible, open and loving way by monastics of all traditions. :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes:


I was confused by the donation links, so I just donated here.


Warm greetings Polarbear,

Perhaps someone directly associated with the organization can give more accurate feedback, but I think you are only seeing the amount raised in one of the fund-raising efforts. I think they now have over $100K and what remains of the downpayment to raise is ~$200K. That would mean they are a third of the way there. But, that is only my guess based on seeing only a portion of the numbers.

As to “What happens if” that is a good question - a lot of Buddhist organizations would have a policy such as contacting the donors to see if they would like the donation back or to have the donation applied to the next available and suitable property. I’m sure someone from the organization can give you clarity and peace of mind about their specific policy.

With kind care,
Ven. Niyyanika


Thanks for signal-raising! Buddhist Insights is very close to my heart. A wonderful organization, they are monastic-led but lay-oriented, EBT-based but non-sectarian: I think that what they are doing is the future of Buddhism in America.

I myself was very fortunate to spend some time there as their first “resident fellow” and can personally vouch for the good work that they’re doing.

Since GoFundMe takes a percentage of your donation, I would like to also point out their paypal which doesn’t take a commission.


Be positive.
Do not worry about this. It is a cheap ticket to Brhamaloka.:sunglasses:


I went here.


Is $288000.00 is the value of the property?
It is interesting to see a Buddhist monks meditating in the back gound of the cross and mother Mary!

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I’m pretty sure tickets to the Brahmaloka are supposed to cost more than money can buy but hopefully the retreat center will be helpful to others.



You will be surpiesed how far small things can go.

The story of Sivali in the Dhammapada Commentary[2] is an example of the great merit which even a small gift can yield

previous births, Sivali fulfilled his aspiration to be foremost among in obtaining requisites at the time of Gautama Buddha. Even now, some Buddhists venerate the saint (i.e., enlightened) Sivali and often keep a picture or
this discourse in their home as a symbol of abundance of food and prosperity.


Good to hear from you @Cara.
Were you a moderator in SC a few years back?


Awesome, thanks! I’ll be there in October, see you then!


@sujato I hope to see you at Buddhist Insights in October!!


Yes! What’s great about it is that is was already a monastery for Christian monks. It is in move-in condition, with a large kitchen, living quarters, a meditation hall, etc.



Cant wait! :pray: see you soon!


I happened to be in NYC in June and visited Bante Suddhaso and Venerable Soma. Great work, indeed, and well worth of support. Bante gave an excellent talk about the Bahiya sutta.

“In the seen, there will be just the seen.
In the heard, there will be just the heard.
In the sensed, there will be just the sensed.
In the cognized, there will be just the cognized.
This, Bāhiya, is how you are to train yourself.
Bāhiya, when it is like this for you –
In the seen, there is just the seen,
In the heard, there is just the heard,
In the sensed, there is just the sensed,
In the cognized, there is just the cognized –
Then, Bāhiya, there will be no ‘you’ in terms of this.
When there is no ‘you’ in terms of this,
Then there is no ‘you’ there;
When there is no ‘you’ there,
There is no ‘you’ here, or beyond, or in between.
Just this is the end of suffering.”


Good question! Practically speaking, no one else is really interested in the property. In New Jersey it’s generally difficult to buy former Catholic monasteries/religious buildings due to certain regulations, and while it’s an attractive property for a monastery/retreat center, it’s not very appealing for a single family to buy as a residence. So as far as competition goes, there isn’t really any.

Your question about what happens to the donations if the property isn’t secured is a good one. I wonder if I can find the answer for you.

Not quite :slightly_smiling_face: The property itself is much more than that, but the fundraising is going towards the downpayment and demonstrating to the bank that people are interested in Buddhist Insights long term.


Just a quick update!

Buddhist Insights are now within $30K of their fundraising goal to secure the new monastery property. SADHU! to all the donors and supporters. I am so excited to see this wonderful organization find a permanent home.

We’re now very close to the deadline - if you can share it would be much appreciated :smiley:

Donation links above too!


Lovely project. I just stayed there as Resident Monastic.

Good luck to them on the fundraising!