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Great Monasteries Theravada/Mahayana

CedarTreeCedarTree Private Island Explorer

I thought it would be cool to make a list of Monasteries/Centers with great reputations and that are examples of intensive practice.

Additional benefits we get to learn from each other, know places to support for positive karma, and learn about excellent teachers.

Ones I can add to the list:


  1. Antai-ji Buddhist Temple (Soto). (Everyone knows about this one!)
  2. Gyobutsuji Zen Monastery (Soto). (American version of above monastery)
  3. Sogenji Buddhist Temple (Rinzai). (The temple of the famous Rinzai Roshi Shodo Harada)
  4. Korinji Zen Monastery (Rinzai). (American Rinzai Monastery with great reputation and whos abbot is active on forums such as this)

I wish I could add more from Mahayana but I am not knowledgeable enough


  1. Ajahn Chah monasteries are great because when staying one has a lot of free time to do an individual practice and yet a lot of time also for group meditation (morning and evening) and one or twice a week staying up till midnight or all night in a meditation practice based on the moon calendar.

  2. Sayadaw U Pandita's Panditãrãma Center is incredible for intensive mindfulness practice as described and teached by the legendary Mahasi Sayadaw.

  3. Venerable Pa-Auk has his Forest Monastery which is very intense and based on heavy Jhana practice. (I have known a monk or two that visited there and thought the experience very beneficial.

  4. Insight Meditation Society is a great place for intensive practice with varying teachers.


  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited July 2017

    I've heard some very positive things about Abhayagiri Monastery in northern California, which is part of Ajahn Chah's Thai Forest tradition. They have a nice website and people can stay there and enjoy the monastic life.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    One of our lurkers runs
    An online zendo.

    Need to hear talks without a monastery visit?

    Need an inspiring community?

    and now back to real places ...

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Without being too negative about it, did it ever occur to anyone that the greatness of anything relies as much on what is unknown about a place or person as on what is known?

    Caveat emptor. Whether great or sullied, other people and places can inspire. But only the student can do the work.

  • CedarTreeCedarTree Private Island Explorer

    Genkaku, don't worry about coming off as a bit to negative. I think you raise a very good point :) It is very true that a lot of times what is in most need is the aspirants attention, duty, and conviction/inner resolve.

    However I think that is one side of the coin and the other side is most definitely a monastery, temple, or practice center that has great conditions for learning, studying, and practicing and with very qualified and realized teachers.

    The Pali Suttas make note of this, the Mahayana tradition is very strong on this, and in general when one visits a Monastery and or Practice Location in which true dharma is being actively attended to by the fullest capacity of all those involved it is evident and the benefits apparent :)

    Great reply, best part of forums is having that kind of counter stance that helps everyone remember other factors :)

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