View from Uttaraloka

Uttaraloka is a ‘Forest Hermitage’. The ‘Forest’ life is an exploration of the Buddha’s exhortation to “go to the forest, or to a root of a tree, or to an empty hut, to sit down with folded legs, set one’s body erect and, having established mindfulness, to withdraw from the senses” so as to enter dhyana and/or gain insight. Manjuvajra, a long time member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, has lived here as caretaker for several years but recently he and four other Order members have formed a team to look after Uttaraloka and facilitate a variety of retreats.

Manjuvajra has been joined by Cittapala, Priyadasa, Sadhita and Saraha each of whom will be in residence for part of the year and Achaladeva who is at Guhyaloka. Between them they will facilitate a variety of opportunities for men to come and live in these beautiful mountains; to practice as part of a small community; for various periods of time; and to enjoy a simple life away from the ‘world’ – the complexities and distractions of normal life.

Read comments from recent visitors to Uttaraloka here

Uttaraloka Shrine room

The facilities are quite basic; personal accommodation is in either one of two wooden cabins or one of two rooms in a small casita; the main house provides kitchen, dining and sitting rooms as well as the beautiful shrine room.On retreat we live as a community (in this respect it is different from the solitary retreats for which Guhyaloka – and now Uttaraloka -also provide); we prepare food for each other, eat together and depending on the decisions of the community at any time, we also include devotional practices and discussion or study groups.

On a typical day we rise at 6:30 meditate for 90mins, have breakfast, a work period, meditate before lunch and, after lunch, a break until we meditate again before dinner at 6pm, followed by a puja, study or a weekly community meeting. There is a period of silence every day and – again at the choice of the community – for much longer periods, even for several weeks at a time. To help maintain and develop Uttaraloka, and keep us physically fit, there is also a daily work period of an hour or so. The only understanding is that one does not leave the mountains or have any contact with your ‘normal world’ – this includes any contact by phone or internet.

Every year, in the Spring, there will be a three-month retreat for up to five men.The retreat is not a teaching or training retreat, nor is it specifically for meditation or study – although there is time for both study, and meditation. The purpose of the retreat is simply to leave behind one’s normal life; in Buddhist terms – to Go Forth from the World – to go to the ‘Forest’.

In the Autumn there will be a retreat during which the community will care for the Almond and Olive Trees. Each day we will spend a couple of hours either picking almonds, strimming the terraces, picking olives or pruning the trees. At this time of the year men can visit for a minimum of two weeks – so, it’s a good opportunity to get a taste of life at Uttaraloka.

At other times of the years – in the winter and in the summer months – there will be shorter retreats for groups of friends or even for individuals to have solitary retreats.

If you are interested in spending some time at Uttaraloka please contact one of the following:

  • Spring: Three-month retreat – mid March to mid June 2024/5- contact Manjuvajra
  • Autumn: Three-month working retreat – October to December 2024/5 – two weeks minimum – contact Priyadasa, Manjuvajra or Achaladeva.
  • One-month retreat – , February 2024 (contact Sadhita); July 2024 (contact Priyadasa); August 2024 (contact Saraha); September 2024 (contact Sadhita); January 2025 (contact Cittapala).

The inspiration for Uttaraloka comes from the ideal which is simply and beautifully described in the Culagosingha Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya (31)

All retreats at Uttaraloka are by invitation but if you are interested please contact Manjuvajra for more information.

To read comments from recent visitors to Uttaraloka click here