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Information for Visitors

Visitors are welcome to participate in the daily life of Santacittarama, whether they come to stay for a few hours or a few days. Those that wish to stay overnight should read the following information carefully and book in advance. Coming for a brief visit during the day there is no need to give notice, unless wishing to speak with a monk, in which case one should make an appointment beforehand. Please remember that Monday is a day of silence and rest. 

                     

For further details see below: Information for guests

 

Monastery postal address

 

Santacittarama Monastero Buddhista

LocalitÓ Brulla

02030 Poggio Nativo (RI), Italy.

>> google map <<

(GPS: 42.209579,12.811916)

 

Tel: (++39) 0765 872 528 (During retreat time: 08:00-09:00, otherwise, Tues-Sun, 08:00-10:30)

Fax: (++39) 06 233 238 629

Email: sangha@santacittarama.org

 

How to get there (see map below)

By car: Leave the A1 motorway at the Fiano Romano (Roma nord) exit and take the Via Salaria (SS4) following all indications for Rieti. At Osteria Nuova, after the 52░ km. sign, take a right, then left to the flyover, following signs to Frasso. After about 300m turn left at the large stone building ('Grotta dei Massacci'), and then take the first right, following the road as it turns behind the animal market place.  Just beyond the gas enclosure, take the gravel road to the left right to the end, to the open gates of Santacittarama.

By public transport: From Fiumicino airport trains leave about every 15 minutes for destination Fara Sabina or Orte. Take this train as far as Tiburtina Station (a journey of about 40 minutes), from where you can take the bus as described below. For transport from Ciampino airport to central Rome there are several options. For further information see: www.adr.it.

by bus from Rome: Frequent buses for Rieti leave from the Tiburtina Station in Rome (except on Sundays when there are very few, although it is then possible to take the train to Fara Sabina and then a bus for Rieti: Bus+Treno). On week days they usually leave 25 minutes past the hour, occasionally 55 minutes as well. The journey between Rome and Osteria Nuova takes about 1 hour. The website www.cotralspa.it is useful for checking departure times, inserting "Roma Tiburtina" for partenza, "Salaria Vecchia (Poggio Moiano)" for arrivo, the date where it asks for data and the time for ora. Tickets must be bought (tariff N░ 6) in the station before boarding the bus. Get off after the sign for Osteria Nuova, just before the 53░ km sign and the flyover. Cross the road and walk in the direction of Frasso Sabino, following the directions as above. It takes about 20 minutes by foot. Please bear in mind that more than half of the distance is by a gravel road, and thus not very convenient for luggage on wheels. Unfortunately there is no taxi service at Osteria Nuova.

>> google map <<

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Information for guests

 

It is possible to visit Santacittarama during the day and there is also limited accommodation for those who wish to spend a period of time participating in the daily life of the monastery. Those interested in such an experience are requested to read the following information carefully.

 

Introduction

 

Santacittarama is a small monastery (vihara), the life of which is regulated by the moral discipline and monastic conventions established by the Buddha. Guests are invited to help the resident community to sustain a quiet and harmonious atmosphere, observing the 8 precepts and conventions of this monastic tradition as well as participating in the communal activities.

 

It is necessary to book beforehand, preferably by writing to: sangha@santacittarama.org. Usually the first visit is a maximum of 1 week, with the possibility of an extension at the discretion of the senior monk. Having arrived at the monastery, someone will show you where to stay, and then you should write your name, address and telephone number in the guest book.

 

Daily routine

 

The daily routine varies according to the season and needs of the moment, but a typical day is as follows:

 

5.00 Morning chanting and meditation

6.30 Domestic chores

7.00 Breakfast

8.00 Work meeting

11.00 Main meal. The Theravada monastic tradition of not eating from mid-day to the following dawn is observed. After the meal no more food is available. The guests help with the washing up.

12.30 Time for individual meditation or study.

17.00 Tea break

19.30 Evening chanting and meditation.

 

Those that don't have previous meditation experience should ask to meet with a senior monk for guidance. An introductory manual is available on line: (Meditation). Perhaps more important, though, than any particular meditation technique, the monastic convention encourages the use of all aspects of daily life, however ordinary, as occasions to develop awareness and sensitivity and other spiritual qualities that are conducive to liberation.

 

The Eight Precepts

 

The monks and novices of Santacittarama follow a code of conduct, established by the Buddha, the basis of which is formalized into the following eight precepts:

 

1. Harmlessness: not intentionally harming any living being.

2. Trustworthiness: not taking anything which is not given.

3. Chastity: refraining from any sexual activity.

4. Right speech: avoiding false, abusive or malicious speech.

5. Sobriety: not taking intoxicating drink or drugs.

6. Renunciation: not eating after mid-day.

7. Restraint: refraining from attending games and shows, and from self-adornment. (Guests are asked to dress modestly, and not to play radios, musical recordings or instruments).

8. Alertness: to refrain from over-indulgence in sleep

 

These are intended as a means of promoting harmony within the community and as a framework for contemplation. Guests are expected to observe these precepts during their stay. It should also be pointed out that it is forbidden to smoke in or near the buildings, and that there is a serious fire risk especially in the summer months.

General conduct

Guests should be aware that their conduct has an effect on the monastic environment and on other guests and visitors. In order to maintain the calm and peaceful atmosphere expected at a monastery, guests are requested to behave in a restrained manner, speaking quietly and making as little noise as possible around the property. Bringing close attention to one's actions and their effect on others is very useful in extending meditation from the formal sitting practice into everyday life.


Accommodation

There is separate accommodation for men and women. It is sometimes necessary for guests to share a room, which requires great sensitivity on the part of each person to maintain a pleasant and harmonious atmosphere. Talking should be kept to a minimum with silence observed between the evening meeting and the morning meeting of the following day. Food and drinks should not be brought into the sleeping accomodation. Please take responsibility for keeping the living spaces clean and, at the end of your stay, leave the accomodation in a condition that you would wish to find it.


Work

 

Most days include a work period of 2-3 hours, usually in the morning. This is assigned at the meeting at 8am, and depends on what needs to be done as well as on the person's capacity. Typically it involves cleaning, building maintenance, gardening, cooking etc. The work period also offers the opportunity to develop meditation in ordinary everyday activities, extending collectedness and awareness beyond the formal meditation exercises. The monastery also depends for its functioning on a spirit of goodwill and collaboration; occasions for serving the community are many.

 

Shrine room / meditation hall

Special sensitivity is required wherever there is a shrine or altar with a Buddha image. As a symbol for our highest aspiration the Buddha image is usually placed in an elevated position, and it is considered disrespectful to put oneself higher when approaching it. Also to be avoided is pointing the soles of the feet (being the lowest part of the body), such as when sitting with the legs extended forwards, at a
Buddha statue or monk or, indeed, any other person.

When entering and leaving one should be as quiet as possible, not talking or banging doors. To avoid disturbance during scheduled meetings please try and arrive a few minutes early and not leave until the formal ending. Those who have difficulty sitting on the floor are welcome to use chairs towards the back of the hall. Cushions and chanting books are available in the meditation hall and should be returned before leaving.

Kitchen

As the kitchen happens to be situated near the meditation hall, noise should be kept to a minimum, especially during formal meetings when, in fact, there should be no reason to be in the kitchen. Everything in the kitchen has been formally offered to the Sangha (monastic community) and should not be taken for personal use without permission. Since the monastery is entirely dependent on food offerings, a special diet is not usually possible without a previous agreement with the senior monk. The kitchen is a very public part of the monastery and should be kept as clean and tidy as possible. Whoever is responsible for cooking should try and use whatever food needs to be consumed, to avoid unnecessary wastage.

What to bring

Guests are requested to bring their own sheets and/or sleeping bag. Blankets are available. One should also supply ones own personal toiletries and towel. Work clothes, indoor slippers (no outdoor footwear is worn inside), slip-on shoes, torch and alarm clock are useful items to bring. Warm clothing is necessary in the winter.

Conclusion

This guide is intended to be a general outline for suitable behaviour in the vihara, conducive both to one's own meditation practice and to harmony with others. Naturally, nobody begins by being perfect and everyone makes mistakes; a willing and responsive attitude is what counts. It may be helpful to re-read this guide during your stay, and we would welcome any comments or suggestions for it.

As with all monasteries of this tradition, Santacittarama and its resident community is supported by freewill donations and offerings of food and other requisites. Although no charges are made, financial contributions are appreciated to cover the running costs. Any excess is used to finance further building developments and to sustain the teaching and practice of the Buddha's Way in Italy. Offerings may be placed in the wooden donations box, by the door in the entrance hall, or made directly into the current account for Santacittarama Association (see Donations for details).

If guests have any problems or questions during their stay please feel free to approach the senior monk. We hope that your stay at Santacittarama will be both enjoyable and beneficial. 

 

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