Sarasota Forest Monastery had for a Monk, he
accepted the fact that his life’s path was about to
change once again.
The Sarasota Forest Monastery centers around
Theravadan Buddhism, which roughly translates
to “teachings of the elders.” Its scriptural
inspiration comes from the Tripitaka, or Pali
Canon. They are some of the most ancient
Buddhist principles and include the “Four Noble
Truths” of teaching, which then can be taken
further into the “Noble Eightfold Path.” The
tapestry of Yama explains these ideas in pictures.
On Saturdays at 3 p.m. anyone can come by
the Monastery for chanting and meditation.
Afterward a discussion ensues. The chanting is to
praise the quality of The Buddha, and to incite
us to imitate him and the quality of the teaching
and the monk.
“By chanting it’s easier for your mind not to
wander off,” Thiep said. “You can feel the energy
and you can dedicate that energy to anything,
whether it’s to celestial beings, or to something
else – it depends on what you want to
“Through meditation we are trying to gain
access into insight, trying to get to true
awakening,” Thiep said. “I have a long way to go,
but that’s all right. I’m not stepping backward –
even if I’m only making small steps they are
always steps forward. Meditation is really trying
to go with the Buddha teachings, trying to avoid
doing evil, trying to do good and trying to purify
Thiep said even if someone is of a different
religion than Buddhism, coming to experience
the chanting, meditation and discussion can
stimulate one to be more focused on
their own belief system when it
comes time to pray. It is a purification
of the mind and a calming of the soul
that in this day and age everyone could use.
Sarasota Forest Monastery
540 Lewis Street, Englewood
HOW TO OFFER
FOOD TO THE MONKS
ON ALMS ROUND
Place the foods directly into the monk's
bowl without touching the monk. This is
usually done in "noble silence," as going
on alms round is a solemn practice.
Food offered should be nutritious and
small enough to fit in the bowl. A piece of
fruit, a sandwich, a slice of pizza, an egg or
muffin, a spoonful of cooked rice or
roasted vegetables, etc. are good items to
offer. Bottles of water are NOT good offerings
because they are heavy and the
monks have plenty of water at their
residence. Other than that, monks can eat
just about anything a layperson eats.
Consider that in offering alms to a monk,
we are simply sharing part of a meal we
may have already prepared for ourselves.
If food requires preparation, please do so
before offering it. Raw/uncooked meat or
fish should not be offered. All foods
should be ready for consumption.
Once the monk determines that he has
enough food to sustain him for the day, he
returns to the residence. Please don’t take
offense if you have prepared something
and by the time you meet him he doesn’t
accept your offering. Your intention to be
generous is already a meritorious act.
Perhaps another hungry person in the
community would be grateful for your
donation, or you can bring it to the
monastery and offer it there.