The Rockhill Hermitage in Wegirikanda
The Rockhill Hermitage Meditation Centre is located deep in the central mountainous region of Sri Lanka, close to the city of Kandy, with easy access from Colombo. The surrounding nature is unaffected by its presence and offers impressive views as well as the opportunity to get to know the lush tropical fauna and flora of the country. It is a non-profit institution funded by the Sri Lankan government and dedicated to charitable purposes. Located on a hillside, the center consists of a monastery, an area for men, an area for the nuns and a women’s area.
The monastery has its own supply of clear spring water. The name of the center derives from the numerous rock blocks and prisons in the immediate vicinity of the monastery, which form several natural caves on the monastery grounds, which are also used for residential and meditation purposes.
If you would like to spend time at the Rockhill Hermitage International Meditation Center, you should book one of the meditation courses starting at the beginning of each month. All courses last ten days and follow a fixed program. On request, however, it is also possible to organise an individual monastic stay or a meditation program with an indefinite duration at the Rockhill Hermitage. If you do not wish to take part in one of the organized courses, you should contact the Centre’s management in advance in order to plan the details of your stay. It is also possible to spend time with other guests and undergo individual meditation sessions under professional guidance and personal advice.
All meditation courses are intensive courses and are conducted by the Center’s founder and teacher, Ven. Kassape. He is a very experienced meditation teacher who has taught Vipassana meditation and Dhamma for more than 35 years and regularly teaches locals and Westerners interested in Buddhism. He teaches in both Singalese and English when foreign guests are present. He is well-known overseas and has traveled extensively in recent decades teaching meditation and introducing people to Buddhism.
The Rockhill Hermitage is one of the few centers for meditation in Sri Lanka, where women have the opportunity to live and meditate in small cottages amidst the unspoiled mountainous region. The Site covers 15 hectares and there is a library with Buddhist literature. There are also several caves which are ideal for meditating with a view of the surrounding mountains. There are several lecture houses available for the guided meditation courses, and there is a large meditation hall for group exercises.
The program at the Rockhill Hermitage includes (in addition to intensive meditation courses) courses dealing with the core contents of Buddhism as well as traditional Buddhist cultural activities, in which guests of the monastery can participate. It is expected that the guests of the monastery adapt themselves to the Buddhist rules of the Vipassana tradition. This means that no drugs or alcohol is permitted. It is forbidden to leave the monastery during the meditation stay, to receive guests, to listen to music or to engage in social activity. This rule serves to minimize sensory influences from the outside and to have complete reflection on the mind. The entire stay should be spent in silence. The dress code stipulates that you wear simple and comfortable clothes. Most of the guests of the monastery are accommodated in common rooms and two vegetarian meals are served daily for breakfast and lunch. After lunch, you should not take any more solid food.
Proceedings commence every day at 5:45 am to the sound of a bell. Before breakfast, each student meditates for an hour, either in the meditation hall or in their room. In the buildings there are cold water showers, which are shared. On warm sunny days, there is also the possibility to swim outside.
As far as costs are concerned, the Rockhill Hermitage Meditation Center operates on a donation basis and every guest is open to support the monastery with a financial donation. However there’s a minimum cost of US $ 10 per day. Please visit the official website for more information.