American Buddhist monks choose site for first Thai forest monastery in New England

Pond at Derbyshire Farm

After three months of searching, two American Buddhist monks in the Thai forest tradition of Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho have chosen a site to create the first forest monastery in New England. Plans are now under way to acquire Derbyshire Farm– located in the serendipitously named town of Temple, in southern New Hampshire — by summer 2014. The 242-acre property, also known by the name Common Springs, would initially house 10 to 12 monks, each living in an individual hut near a common meeting space.

Derbyshire Farm’s current owners, Robert and Barbara Kantner, had already been using their land to “run a variety of education, sustainable living and meditative programs.” Robert Kantner, who knew one of the monks after attending a nine-day meditation retreat co-led by him, expressed enthusiasm for the Buddhist monks’ continuing their vision:

“Our goal from the beginning has been to turn this property into an education center and contemplative retreat/sanctuary with organic gardens and a small residential staff, living perhaps in a little ecovillage. We’ve envisioned the land being cared for and protected into the far future with programs that would benefit participants, local communities and our New England region.”

Read the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript’s story here, and click here to visit the website of Jeta Grove, the Massachusetts nonprofit established to support the creation of this monastery.