Suññāgāra: an empty room, an uninhabited spot, solitude.

Meaning

Suñña (adj.) 1. empty, uninhabited; void.

Agāra (nt.) 1. house or hut; room, depot; a dwelling place.

What is this?

Suññāgāra, शून्यागार, Silent Spaces... these are all ways of saying "a place to meditate." When we are between our own homes and meditation centres, such places are not always easy to find. Sometimes a bus depot, train station, or airport will have a meditation room. Sometimes, while traveling to a new city, we may check forums and maps for rooms and buildings where meditation is permitted or even encouraged. Often, though, these Silent Spaces are very difficult to find.

Sunnagara.org exists to document Suññāgāra, Silent Spaces, for the traveling meditator. Look up your location on our map to see if there is a Silent Space nearby where you can meditate.

What exactly is a suññāgāra? The Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta (Dīgha Nikāya 22: The Great Discourse on the Establishing of Mindfulness) describes three locations appropriate for meditation:

  1. a forest (arrañña)
  2. the foot of a tree (rukkhamåla)
  3. an empty room (suññāgāra)

With the upcoming advent of serious widespread meditation practice among householders, the first two options are really not practical. Beyond the obvious impracticality of finding a forest to meditate in while one is traveling internationally for work, lay meditators should not meditate outdoors in public places, even if it was as common to stumble across a city-adjacent forest as it was 2500 years ago. Public meditation can breed self-importance and ego. It is best to meditate indoors, as unceremoniously as possible.

Technical Details / How You Can Help

This website is currently a bare-bones prototype. It uses OpenStreetMap to document and identify the geographical locations of Silent Spaces around the globe. With time, it would be beneficial to build a community of volunteers behind sunnagara.org, similar to those who run pariyatti.org. Until then, this website will provide a simple frontend to the OSM map which records these locations and helpful tips.

If you would like to contribute a location to the map, please read the "How to Contribute" section of the README on Github.

The raw geojson is available, if you would like a complete list of all the locations.