Even the sight of a Buddha statue can plant the seed of Dharma in a person’s mind – or strengthen the faith of those who are already faithful. Placing statues at a monastery is therefore a way to help countless beings establish the conditions for awakening.
Here at Empty Cloud Monastery, we have many plans to continue “Buddhifying” the monastery inside and out. If you would like to contribute, either by making a donation to the general statue fund, donating to support a specific statue project, or even donating an entire statue yourself, you can send us an email or make a donation to the Statue Fund here:
In the Buddhist scriptures we read of countless female disciples of the Buddha attaining full enlightenment. At Empty Cloud we wish to homage this legacy by putting in sixteen statues of female Arahants (enlightened beings), representing the Bhikkhunis (female monks) who attained enlighenment in the time of the Buddha. This will be in the form of two rows of eight, leading to a meditation platform housing a statue of Tara, a female Buddha.
If you would like to help us honor the female capacity for awakening, thus inspiring future generations of women to pursue enlightenment, please contribute to this worthy and meritorious project. Send us an email now for more info, or make a donation to the Statue Fund here:
The silence and stillness of wintertime provides ideal conditions for deep meditation practice.
Accordingly, many Buddhist monasteries hold an in-house retreat for a period of 2-3 months during the winter months. This is a time for the resident monastics to put down all activities and engagements and focus entirely on the intensive development of concentration and insight.
Here at Empty Cloud Monastery, our winter retreat will take place during January and February 2021. Joining the monastery as a lay resident during this time means supporting the monastics in their retreat time, by helping with the daily duties of cleaning, cooking, and maintenance, so that the monastics have more time to practice. Lay residents are also able to join in the majority of the retreat activities.
Applicants must be willing to stay for at least one month, and must already have experience living at monasteries and provide references who can speak to your Buddhist practice. Ideally, applicants will be able to stay for the full two months (or at minimum for one month).
They would join in most of the group practice periods and there will likely be much unstructured solitary time to use to further one’s practice. Therefore they should be experienced in staying in a silent retreat atmosphere, and comfortable with solitude.
Update December 2020: We are no longer accepting applications for the winter retreat. Thank you to all who applied. If you would like to visit the monastery after the retreat, we will resume accepting applications in March 2021.
As the pandemic began, countless people lost their jobs, their income, their relatives, their friends. And as the pandemic grinds on, the problem is not going away – it’s only getting worse.
Every week since April, Empty Cloud Monastery has been providing fresh organic food to families in need. As time has gone by, we’ve narrowed down our focus to serving local Latina women and their families. This community, comprising mainly essential workers, has experienced a huge number of sickness and death due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their plight has been exacerbated by a lack of governmental support, job losses, and even deportation of family members by I.C.E.
Thanks to kind donations we have been able to feed more than forty families each week, giving food to about 150 people in need. We have seen that the program helps to not only address the emergency food shortage these families are facing, but that it’s also provided a source of nutritional, fresh food to families that don’t always have access to high-quality produce.
As we get more and more connected with the community, we would like to keep our program going! If you would like to nurture the Buddhist qualities of compassion and generosity, you can support our efforts by contributing to our project. All donations go directly to purchasing fresh organic produce, which is delivered to the doorstep of dozens of struggling families throughout the Newark area.