History of SFM
In 2011, the community rented a house where the monks stayed, and established a formal schedule of Dhamma instruction. At the time of the “Rains Retreat”, the Community had gathered enough money to form a non-profit organization, The Buddhist Association of Central Florida (BACF), whose purpose was to raise money to found a Buddhist Monastery in the Thai Forest Tradition.
Fundraising efforts continued and a search for a suitable monastery location began. A 8.7 forested acres in South Sarasota County in the village of Old Englewood, Florida came on the market, and BACF negotiated a price contingent upon receiving favorable zoning designation by the County.
In October, 2015, ten months after beginning the process, zoning was approved and changed from residential to use by a religious organization. Before closing the real estate transaction, BACF reincorporated as Sarasota Forest Monastery (SFM).
Sarasota Forest Monastery has since constructed three kutis (small screen rooms in the forest) to properly house forest monks during the dry season. In 2018, SFM also raised sufficient funds to purchase the vintage dwelling adjacent to the forested land at 520 Lewis Drive to house monks during the rainy season when the forest floods and remains under water. Several monks of the Thai Forest Tradition have spent time at Sarasota Forest Monastery in Old Englewood.