Forgive me if this is not sufficiently on topic, I didn’t know if it warranted a new one. I think I might like to undertake an extended stay at a monastery, possibly even as a novice, though it appears my being a vegan complicates this a great deal. A number of places indicate that it is simply unworkable. The only possible exception I’ve found is Bhavana Society. Does anyone know of any others? I am in the USA, but traveling elsewhere is not out of the question.
When I stayed at Bodhinyana it wasn’t a problem at all. There were many vegetarian and vegan foods offered every day and they were marked as such, making it very convenient.
If you’re in the US, I highly recommend Abhayagiri. I was fortunate to be at the wat when LP Pasanno was there (he’s on “emeritus” status now) , but there are so many good monks, anagarikas, and lay people there that it’s well worth a visit to northern California. Here’s the section of the website regarding visits: Overnight Stays | Abhayagiri Monastery . It suggests that there is no allowance for food variables, but I can mention anecdotally that there are many vegan items set out for the midday meal. My work duty was in the kitchen most days, and I chopped more vegetables than a woodchuck.
To make it easier to access the specific information, I split the above posts off. It does, indeed, deserve a new thread
This is just a theory… It may be that monasteries are using something like that to screen out picky people. Vegans have a very bad reputation, especially if they lead with it.
As you probably know, because people bring prepared food, it’s often impractical to find out what is in everything. If you just needed to avoid things that have visible dairy or eggs, you could probably get by at most monasteries.
I think at most places if you were willing to eat very partial meals from time to time and weren’t concerned about invisible things like ghee, you could probably get by most places.
Sorry if this is off topic, but I thought it might be useful.
Hi Clay, this is definitely a bit of a difficult issue, especially since many monasteries live off of dāna principles and aren’t supposed to interfere with what they are given. Aside, from Bhavana I think it might be best to look into smaller monasteries, such as Thai forest monasteries in Canada, the US, and Europe; I’ve noticed that generally smaller communities are able to navigate what they eat a little bit more, seeing as they are not feeding so many people. Particularly if you are a steward in a small monastery, you are able to cater to your own needs as well as the needs of the community. For example, I’m a pescaterian and have been a steward in a couple of different monasteries where there was pretty much no need to eat meat or fish, and I could just make yummy veggie dishes.
Hi @clay, if you’re doing an extended stay in a monastery you might have the opportunity to cook some delicious vegan dishes to offer to the community, and offer to teach recipes to others. Volunteer to be kitchen crew!
Most monasteries have a variety of dishes, and many Asian and Sri Lankan dishes are vegan.
Closer to home, Buddhist Insights in NYC is vegetarian and often have vegan dishes. They’re setting up a new monastery in New Jersey soon.
Don’t worry too much about being able to get food, or let it become a barrier to staying in a monastery. Things have a way of working out, and it would be sad to miss an opportunity for a long stay.