The Theravada Tradition Of The Metta Forest Monastery

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Tucked away in the mountains of the northern San Diego County, hidden in an avocado orchard is the Metta Forest Monastery. The Metta Forest Monastery was founded in 1990 by Ajaan Suwat Suvaco and practices the Theravada tradition, primarily the Thai Forest Tradition. At the monastery there are currently nine American monks and one Thai monk. I arrived to the monastery at night for their evening meditation service on March 12th, 2016. The pathways that led up to the monastery were lined by small lights. After driving up the winding switchback roads I finally reached the monastery. One of the lay people of the monastery came out to greet me and handed me a flashlight. We then proceeded to walk to the main worshipping area together. As we walked you could hear nothing but the calls of the animals within the forest and the cool night breeze blowing through the trees. After removing our shoes we walked into the small worshiping area at the top of the hill where it was completely dark except for a couple of small candles that lite the front of the room. In the candlelight you could see a huge Buddha statue surrounded by multiple smaller Buddha statues as well as other adornments. The area was very open and had raised benches lining the right side of the room. Upon entering the worshiping area the followers immediately walked to their spots on the open floor and knelt. After kneeling they proceeded to draw their folded hands towards their chest and touched their foreheads to the

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