Deer Park Monastery
Deer Park Monastery is a mindfulness practice center and monastic training center founded by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, author, and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh. It is a place to quiet the mind, look deeply, and enjoy the wonders of life within and around us through the practices of sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful eating, deep relaxation meditation, and sharing togetherness. We invite all who wish to cultivate peace and happiness in their lives to plan a visit—for a day or for a retreat.
This 400-acre sanctuary rests peacefully in the chaparral mountains of Southern California, surrounded and protected by oaks and the natural landscape. Established in July 2000, it is a safe and serene refuge for many practitioners to come and learn the art of mindful living and to practice with a community, a Sangha. At Deer Park, the residential monastic community and lay community practice together year round under the guidance of our teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, in the tradition of engaged Buddhism. There are two hamlets: Solidity Hamlet (for monks and laymen) and Clarity Hamlet (for nuns and laywomen). The two hamlets come together several times a week to practice.
At Deer Park, we are nourished not just by the formal sitting meditation sessions, but also by the practice of meditation in our daily activities outside the meditation hall. We are guided by the teachings of Thây on mindfulness and peacemaking. We learn to live together as a community and to take refuge in the wisdom of the Sangha.
Visit the Deer Park website to register for retreats and learn more about the monastery.
Deer Park Monastery's Capital Campaign
New monastics are essential to the continuation of the community and our practice centers. However, Deer Park Solidity Hamlet lacks suitable and adequate housing for the next generation of Plum Village brothers. The hamlet is overcrowded, and there is no space where new monastics can live.
In addition, our existing monastic brothers’ quarters are in dire need of renovation. The circa-1960s buildings (which weren’t great to begin with!) need new roofs, insulated walls, safe structural repair, and bathrooms.
Priority Project Details
Phase 1 – Build a new monastic dormitory in solidity hamlet
We must care for our dear brothers so that they may care for us.
Our monastics devote their lives to our practice and trust the community to support their basic needs. In order to take care of our brothers, we are asking our beloved community to collectively support the renovations and expansion of monastic living quarters at Deer Park.
The brothers of Solidity Hamlet live in cramped, dilapidated dorms that were built in the 1960s. The hamlet is now overcrowded, and there is no room for our monastics to have basic shelter or for new monastics who could come to live and strengthen the community at Deer Park. New monastics are essential to the continuation of the community and the practice center.
This new residence will house nine brothers and support our senior monks during health or physical challenges. There will also be a courtyard and common area for the brothers to gather. The total cost estimate for phase 1 is $800,000. Work is expected to begin in spring of 2018. Generous friends have already given $80,000, so we are encouraged to be on the way to our goal!
Phase 2 – Construct a community center and bookstore
Deer Park has grown to be very popular for the lay community. On days of mindfulness and on retreats, visitors are in need of an area to gather and enjoy the practice together. With this in mind, the community plans to create an outdoor/indoor space near the campground area and relocate the bookshop here. This will provide easy access from the meditation hall, dining hall, and campsites. As a gathering place for the community, there will be a large shaded deck area, a bookstore, and a tea room. The total cost is estimated to be $400,000. We would like to begin construction in the fall of 2018.
Phase 3 – Renovate existing monastic dorms
The two existing monks’ dorms are long past the point at which they should have been renovated, but the brothers are very modest and have lived in them until they have no choice but to renovate. Up to 20 monks will occupy the updated buildings, which will cost approximately $500,000 in total to renovate. Work will begin as soon as funding is available.
Please consider making a gift to support these important projects. When donating online, choose Deer Park from the designation drop-down menu.