Aranya Bodhi is a forest hermitage for Theravadin monastic women. It is a secluded natural setting perfect for the reclusive life and meditation. For this reason, we ask our friends to contact us before visiting.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are days reserved for private meditation and study. These days we observe silence. Visitors on these days are welcome to bring dana and meditate in the forest but there will be no instruction given.
Below is important information for our guests. Please read it carefully. We hope you find this information most useful. If you have visited before, much of this may be familiar, but please read again as we have revised this page.
Our hermitage is a secluded place of quiet meditation practice in a rugged, natural coastal forest environment. It is off- the- grid, off- the- map, and out of cell phone range. Please contact us for directions before coming.
From Jenner, the nearest town, it is a 40 minute drive on unpaved roads to reach the hermitage. From San Francisco International Airport (SFO) or Oakland International Airport (OAK) it is about a 2.5 hour drive. Even though we are out of the way, it is possible and environmentally friendly to take the public bus.By Bus:
If you can manage to take the bus all the way to Jenner or Guerneville, a resident can to pick you up. Otherwise, go to Petaluma. With advance notice, we can find a volunteer driver from Petaluma to the Hermitage. Your pick-up must be arranged in advance. Here are links for public transport to the Hermitage:
The Best Bus to Aranya Bodhi: South Mendocino Coast Bus 95
South Mendocino Coast Bus Route 95 (pdf) is a local treasure. It only goes once a day, providing a relatively fast connection if the time is convenient for you.
When flying, try to arrive at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), in time to catch the 1:30 pm Sonoma County Airport Express Bus. Go all the way to Sonoma County Airport, arriving at 3:45 pm, and immediately transfer to the Coast Bus. This will take you all the way to Jenner, arriving at Arrive at 5:30 pm. Meet your ride to the hermitage at the parking lot by the Post Office.
For outgoing air travel book a late afternoon or evening flight. Catch the Coast Bus from Jenner at 9:40 am. Transfer at the Sonoma County Airport to the Airport Express, arriving at SFO at 2:15 pm. On Sundays, the outgoing bus departs from Jenner at 11:40, and you will not arrive at SFO until 4:15 pm.
For local travel, use the Transit 511 service to choose an itinerary to the Santa Rosa Transit Mall in time to board the 4:15 pm Coast Bus, arriving in Jenner at 5:30 pm. The return trip departs Jenner at 9:40 am (11:00 am on Sunday)
Another Good Bus Connection
Use the Transit 511 service to choose an itinerary from anywhere in the Bay Area to the Santa Rosa Transit Mall, by way of Golden Gate Transit Routes 70/71/80, 72, 74, or 101. Then take the next Sonoma County Transit Bus 20 to Monte Rio. This bus departs on irregular schedule at approximately 90 minute intervals. Get off at the Guerneville Safeway, Highway 116 and Mill Street. The Safeway is open 24 hours and a good shelter in any weather. Your ride will meet you there.
At the Hermitage we can help you plan your outgoing trip.
Our Daily Schedule:
On most days, we join for devotional chanting at 8:15 am, our main meal at 11:00 am, and communal meditation followed by a Dhamma reflection from 2:30 to 4:00 pm. On our quiet days (see calendar), there are no formal programs.
Your Day Visit:
We ask everyone to be mindful that this is a time and space of retreat. Please observe the impulse to speak, being sensitive to the retreatants who are observing silence. Watch for posted areas of seclusion, such as campsites or trails. Do not enter these areas. You will need shoes or sandals with good traction. Additionally bring along a sunhat and/or sunscreen for the sunny areas and some warm layers for the cooler forested areas. The temperature can vary from 50 degrees to 95 in a single morning depending on your location and the time of year. If you will be here during dark hours, please be sure to have a flashlight. Most of our areas, including our meditation hall and kitchen, do not have electricity. Though we don't often see them, we share this land with bobcats, coyotes, venomous snakes, scorpions and many other friends. Our native flora includes poison oak. If you've never seen poison oak, please ask one of us to identify it for you so you can avoid it on the trails.
Your Extended Stay:
If you would like to stay for an extended personal retreat time or offer monastic retreat support during Vassa, please contact us. Our climate may seem very different to those who have not been to the northern California coastline. Summers are very cool and misty. Winters are mild and rainy. Long thermal under clothing, sandals and a change of shoes with good traction (wet weather shoes during winter), flashlight with batteries, cold weather sleeping bag, a thermos and hot water bottle, and blankets for sitting meditation are very useful year round. A more comprehensive list of useful things will be provided with your application. All retreat time is offered in generosity, on a pure dana basis. Retreatants will be asked to observe the 8 monastic precepts and participate in daily periods of mindful communal hermitage caretaking together with hermitage residents.