Frequently Asked Questions
As a reflection of the inclusive and universally applicable nature of the Buddha's teachings, Empty Cloud Monastery is a gender-inclusive monastery. This means that we are fully open to and accepting of all people regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical characteristics. Both lay residency and monastic training are possible regardless of a person's physical gender or gender identity.
Our practice does not differ much from any other monastic setting. People of any gender identity are included in all of the monastery’s activities, and our ordained monastic sangha also includes people from all gender backgrounds. Gender is not an obstacle.
Most of the monks residing at Empty Cloud have been trained in the Theravāda tradition, but we welcome practitioners, practice methods, and perspectives from all lineages of traditional forms of Theravāda, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna.
Bowing is an ancient Buddhist tradition that comes from the time of the Buddha. It is a practice of expressing respect and gratitude - to the Buddha, as our original teacher; to the profound teachings the Buddha gave us; and to the community of practitioners who all have the ability to become Buddhas.
Bowing isn’t mandatory. We encourage people to explore the pacifying effect a practice such as bowing can have on the mind.
We try to only serve organic food, and to clearly label any non-organic food. This is done mainly for two reasons: 1) one of the resident monks becomes very sick if he eats even small amounts of non-organic food, as he is allergic to most agricultural chemicals used in the USA 2) in accordance to the Buddhist teachings of non-harming the monastery encourages the practices of sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship.
Please do not bring any non-vegetarian foods. The monastery serves strictly vegan and vegetarian food, in accordance with the practices of non-harming.
Resident monks at Empty Cloud Monastery usually wear monastic robes in the style of the Theravāda tradition, most commonly found in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Laos, and Cambodia. The Buddha gave very broad allowances for monk robe-colors. Generally speaking, any shade of brown, yellow, or orange is acceptable. There is no particular significance to which specific color a monk wears.