Offering food to the Sangha, whether on almsround or at the monastery, is a traditional way to get to know the monastic community as well as other interested people. The meal offering at a Theravada Buddhist monastery is usually a fairly social affair, with supporters showing up sometimes by arrangement, often spontaneously unannounced, everyone always welcome to join in whether bringing an offering or not.
A senior monk is generally available after the meal for conversation. The daily meal offering at 11 a.m. or just afterwards is therefore a good time to come to speak to the monks, meet other people, or share in a meal. Everyone’s always welcome.
Offering food at Temple Forest Monastery
Please join the community any day for the meal offering at 11 a.m. It’s helpful to let the monastery know beforehand, both to give the kitchen an idea of how much food is coming if you plan to offer food, and so that you can be sure the monks are there – unless otherwise noted on the calendar, there should be seven or eight monks for the meal plus three or four guests on most days. But feel free to come without notice, too.
If you’re bringing food, it’s good to arrive before 11 in order to prepare the offerings: coming anytime in the morning is OK; between 9–11 a.m. is best.