November 2016 Events and News

* May 2017 Birken Retreat Registration Now Open (see previous post)*

Ajahn Geoff (Thanissaro Bhikkhu) to Visit in November

aj-geoffWe are fortunate to once again have Ajahn Geoff visit Portland and White Salmon!  In early November, he will be at Portland Friends of the Dhamma for a three-day weekend.  On the following Tuesday, he will lead meditation and give Dhamma reflections at Yoga Samadhi in White Salmon.

Ajahn Geoff is a well-known Thai Forest Tradition author and meditation teacher, and the Abbot of Wat Metta, a monastery in northern San Diego County, California.

November Events
  • November 4 – 6
    Ajahn Geoff at Portland Friends of the Dhamma
    (visit for more information)
  • November 8
    Ajahn Geoff at Tuesday night meditation
    Yoga Samadhi in White Salmon (6:30 – 8:00 pm)
  • November 12
    Half-Day Mini Retreat with Ajahn Sudanto
    Yoga Samadhi in White Salmon (1:00 – 5:00 pm)
  • November 18 – 27
    Abhayagiri Thanksgiving Retreat (registration is closed)
Monks Away on Retreat(s):  November 16 – January 11

No monks will be at the Hermitage for about a month and a half, beginning November 16.  Ajahn Sudanto will leave that day for Abhayagiri Monastery.  Following the Abhayagiri Thanksgiving Retreat, Ajahn Sudanto and Venerable Kondañño, will travel directly to Birken Monastery to begin their Monastic Winter Retreat a month earlier than usual.

While the monks are away, please check the Calendar each week to see if a member of the community will host a Tuesday night meditation at Yoga Samadhi (6:30 – 8:00 pm).

Ajahn Sudanto and Venerable Kondañño will return to the Hermitage January 11, 2017 to complete the Winter Retreat, and Venerable Kondañño will stay through the winter.

2017 Birken Retreat: One Week or Two

The 2017 Birken Retreat (May 3 – 17) is looking a little different than in past years.  You now have the option of going for one of two weeksor for both weeks (14 days).  The options are shown a few paragraphs below.  Registration closes December 1.

Bob Miller will coordinate the retreat again this year, and shares the following with you.

Longer Retreats Deepen Your Practice

img_1381Longer retreats are a great opportunity to deepen your practice, especially in this beautiful setting in northern British Columbia. Sitting with people who have chosen to take eight precepts, observe noble silence, and take time away from their daily lives to deepen their practice is a great support.  If you’ve done this before, you know what I mean.  If you haven’t, you are in for a treat.

A Peek Inside a Retreat:  Typical Daily Schedule

This is a typical retreat day at Birken, but the schedule will be finalized after your arrival:

  • Morning: Meditation starting at 5:30 am, then breakfast, chores and free time* or time for sitting or walking meditation
  • Mid-day: Main Meal at about 11:00 am
  • Afternoon: More free time*, sitting or walking meditation, afternoon tea/Q&A period with Ajahn Sona
  • Evening: Meditation at 7:00 pm, followed by a Dhamma talk by Ajahn Sona

*There are miles of hiking trails and roads for the free time periods!

Retreat Options Between May 3 & 17

Ajahn Sudanto chose a two-week format this year, one that:  1) allows you to choose the length of retreat that meets your needs, and 2) allows more people can participate. If you’re a less experienced meditator or have less flexibility, you can request only the first or second week.  More experienced meditators may find the full 14-day option more beneficial.  Here are the dates/options:

  • Week #1 (May 3 to 10) – Arrive the evening of May 3 and depart early May 10.
  • Week #2 (May 10 to 17) – Arrive the evening of May 10 and depart early May 17.
  • Both Weeks (May 3 to 17) — Arrive the evening of May 3 and depart early May 17.
About Birken Forest Monastery (Sitavana)

Birken is located in British Columbia, south of Kamloops.  Visit for more information and lots of beautiful pictures of the monastery and the surrounding forest.  Be sure to look at “Visits” and read the Guest Guidelines.  


The retreat is offered on a “dana” basis.  You give what you feel called to/are able to give.  Food and lodging are included.  Sitavana is supported completely supported by offerings from lay supporters.

Registration (closes December 1)

 Ajahn Sudanto will make the final decision on the list of participants, but to get your name on the list of interested practitioners, email (Bob Miller) with the following information:

  • Name
  • Physical address
  • Email address
  • Contact phone (preferably cell)
  • Other longer retreats you have attended
  • Can you drive to Birken? ** If so, how many total passengers (plus luggage) will your vehicle hold?
  • Do you prefer Week #1, Week #2 or Both Weeks?
  • If you are flexible, please let us know:
    • Can you do either Week #1 or #2?
    • Do you prefer Both Weeks, but are willing to do one week instead?

Given the different options for attending, transportation will likely be different than in prior years, when we traveled together as a group.  We will probably need more drivers, so please consider if driving is a possibility for you.  It is possible to fly into Kamloops from Portland, and we will be getting back to you about transportation options from the airport to the Monastery.

Questions?  A Little Apprehensive?

Anyone who has considered going to their first retreat has “been there” – wondering if you really want to, are up for it, will be able to handle it, etc.  Please feel free to quiz us about what to expect or talk about what might hold you back.  Birken has limited staff and time to devote to questions, so please direct all questions to:

2016 Pah Bah Samakkee: Anumodana, ขอบคุณ, ຂອບໃຈ, ឣរគុណ, cám ơn, Thank You!

That’s Thank You in Six Languages:
Pali, Thai, Lao, Khmer, Vietnamese and English

(A note from Sanghata, the board of stewards for the Pacific Hermitage.)

The 2016 Pah Bah Samakkee was a joyful event that so clearly reflected the good will, intent and generosity of all who sponsored, organized, brought food, made offerings and/or attended.  A beautiful sense of community and a lot of fun!  Just look at the smiles!  (It was even a chance to catch up with family.  That’s Ajahn Sudanto and his mom, in the last photo.)


Our thanks to Luang Por Pasanno and Luang Por Viradhammo for sharing their warmth and wisdom.  They were generous with their time, speaking one-on-one with many of those attending.

Loan is Paid Off Two Years Early!

How amazing and wonderful that a small Buddhist Hermitage in the Columbia River Gorge receives this much support from around the world.  Over $41,000 was donated (some donations came in after the event).  With these funds, the board (Sanghata) was able to pay off the loan for purchasing the property adjacent to the Hermitage.  The remaining funds are now available for other key projects and expenses.  Thank you so much!

Our Sponsors Came From Near and Far

Several families came together to sponsor the 2016 Pah Bah Samakkee.  Our thanks to them for helping to spread the word — worldwide — about the Pacific Hermitage.  Support indeed came from around the world.  Some of the sponsors are shown in the photo below.


The 2016 Pah Bah Samakkee Sponsors

  • The Chaicharn Family, Corvallis, OR
  • The Pongluelert Family, Fresno, CA
  • The Siriphathaboon Family, Portland, OR
  • The Kongkarat Family, Seattle, WA
  • The Anantanasakul Family, Thailand
  • The Chinjaturapart Family, Thailand
Gratitude for a Very Generous Community

The board is so grateful for this outpouring of support for the Hermitage, as well as the increasing interest in the Dhamma and the various retreats and events associated with the Hermitage.  The community is growing.  May you all receive the blessings of your generosity, as well as your study and practice of the Dhamma.

Thank you,

Visit for information about Sanghata.


October 2016 Events

Let’s make sure the Hermitage stays warm this winter!  There’s a two-day Garden Party this month for that purpose, plus the regular half-day retreat and events at Portland Friends of the Dhamma.  Please join us for any or all of the events!

img_20121005_170835Two-Day Garden Party
October 1 & 2, 1 – 3 PM

It’s Time to Saw, Split and Stack!  The Hermitage uses a wood stove as its main source of heat, so each year we help the monks lay in a big stack of wood for the colder months.

If you’d like to help, please come to one or both days of our Saturday/Sunday Garden Party to re-supply the wood pile and help with some yard work.  You can choose to come for just some or all of each work party (1 – 3 PM).  The Tea Party each day starts at about 3 PM.  If these dates don’t work for you, but you’d like to help split or stack wood, please email the Hermitage to set up a time to come over.  We’ll have the power splitter for a while.

There’s also a meal offering each day before the work begins.  If you’d like to bring food, please arrive by 10:30 AM, and let the meal dana coordinator know that you’re coming.  Thanks!

Half-Day Meditation Mini-Retreat
October 8, 1 – 5 PM

Join Ajahns Sudanto and Karunadhammo at Yoga Samadhi in White Salmon, WA, for a quiet afternoon of walking and sitting meditation, and brief reflections.  This event is free and no experience is needed.  Cushions and chairs will be available.

Portland Friends of the Dhamma*
October 14 & 15

  • Friday, October 14
    5:30 PM — Tea and reflections
    7:00 PM — Meditation and Dhamma talk
  • Saturday, October 15
    10:30 AM — Alms Round
    11:00 AM — Meal Offering

* For more information, please visit Portland Friends of the Dhamma

Monks Away
October 18 – 24

Ajahns Sudanto and Karunadhammo will be leaving October 18 for the Abhayagiri Kathina. A lay community member will host the October 18, 6:30 pm meditation at Yoga Samadhi.  Ajahn Sudanto will return in time for the October 25 meditation and dhamma talk at Yoga Samadhi.

Thank You for Visiting, Ajahn Karunadhammo!

Photo: Ajahn Karunadhammo [photo:]

A warm thanks to Ajahn Karunadhammo for being a very welcome presence at the Hermitage these past several months.  Your wise and kind presence, inspiring Dhamma talks and support for Ajahn Sudanto have been much appreciated.

Ajahn Karunadhammo will leave October 18 with Ajahn Sudanto, to attend the Abhayagiri Kathina (similar to our Pah Bah), then once again reside at Abhayagiri.  (Ajahn Sudanto will return the afternoon of October 25.)

September 2016 Events

Luang Por Pasanno and Luang Por Viradhammo
2016 Pah Bah Samakkee Honored Guests:  Luang Por Pasanno & Luang Por Viradhammo

A Garden Party (Sept. 3) will help get the Hermitage ready for it’s honored guests for the Pah Bah Samakkee (Sept. 17 & 18 — see article below)!


Garden Party — September 3
at the Hermitage:

  • 11:00 am — Potluck arrive by 10:30 am, if bringing food)
  • 1:00 pm — Help with yard work
  • 3:00 pm — Tea with monks

Half-day Meditation — September 10
at Yoga Samadhi (with Hermitage monks)

  • 1:00 – 5:00 pm
  • Free, no experience needed, chairs, bolsters & blankets available


Portland Friends of the Dhamma — September 16
at PFoD

  • 5:30 pm — Tea and Q & A
  • 7:00 pm — Meditation & Dhamma Talk

Pah Bah Samakkee Weekend — September 17 & 18
at 1085 N Main Avenue, Mountain View Grange (map below), White Salmon, WA (more information below or at

  • September 17 — Half-day Retreat, 1 – 5 pm (meditation and talks)
  • September 18
    • Meal Offering (potluck) at 11 am.  Please arrive by 10:30 am. Lower floor (enter from Estes Avenue).
    • Pah Bah Samakkee Ceremony, 1 – 3 pm. Formal offerings, chanting and dhamma reflections. Upper floor (enter from N. Main Avenue

NOTE: Additional parking available in ICE parking lot, about one block north of the grange, 1265 N. Main Ave. (look for tall, black ICE sign on east side of Main–map below). Please, no smoking in the ICE driveway or parking lot.

Tuesday Night Meditation — September 20, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
at Yoga Samadhi (Luang Por Viradhammo only)


A Pah Bah is a ceremony for offering material goods and financial support to monastics. This year, it’s called a Pah Bah Samakkee.  Samakkee is a Thai word for “unity” and it signifies that several people have joined together to invite the monks to receive this outpouring of generosity.

On Sept. 17, there will be a half-day retreat.  On Sept. 18, there will be a potluck meal, then the offering ceremony.

All events are free.  No meditation experience is needed, you do not need to be Buddhist to attend and English will be the most commonly spoken language.  Chairs will be available, but please bring your own cushions if you will be sitting on the floor.  Donations are welcome, but not necessary.  Most talks will be given in both English and Thai.

If you would like to help with setting up (or taking down, please arrive at the Grange by 8 am and ask for Dan McCook.

Questions?  Please visit or email

MAP TO MOUNTAIN VIEW GRANGE & ADDITIONAL PARKING AT “ICE” (Please, NO SMOKING on ICE property)  Click on the map for a clearer view.

Grange Map


2016 Pah Bah Samakkee Weekend Sept. 17 & 18

***REMINDERS:   Please see the notes below about bringing your own cushion, volunteering and the meal on Sunday. ***

Luang Por Pasanno and Viradhammo

Honored Guests:  Luang Por Pasanno and Luang Por Viradhammo

Our honored guests, Luang Por Pasanno and Luang Por Viradhammo, will visit Portland and White Salmon for several days.  During that time, they will lead a half-day retreat, the Pah Bah Samakkee ceremony, and other Hermitage and Portland Friends of the Dhamma (PFoD) events (schedule below).

The “Main Event” — Pah Bah Samakkee

The ceremony is Sept. 18 at Mountain View Grange, 1085 N Main Avenue, White Salmon, WA.  There will be a potluck/meal offering downstairs at 11 AM.  The ceremony (offering various items to support the monks and the Hermitage), chanting and a Dhamma talk will begin upstairs at 1 PM.  There is parking around the Grange, and at I.C.E. (a company about one block north of the Grange).  Map below.  Please:  No smoking at ICE.

Schedule of All Events

While visiting, Luang Por Pasanno and Luang Por Viradhammo will lead these activities:

  • Sept. 16, 5:30 pm: Tea, Q&A, meditation and Dhamma talk at PFoD
  • Sept. 17, 1-5 pm:  Meditation retreat at Mt. View Grange, White Salmon
  • Sept. 18:  Pah Bah Samakkee at Mt. View Grange, White Salmon, WA
    • 10:30 am — Meal offering/potluck (enter from downstairs) *** Please bring your offering READY TO SERVE (in your own serving bowl/plate and with a serving utensil).***
    • 1:00 pm — Ceremony (enter from upstairs)
  • Sept. 20, 6:30-8:00 pm:  Meditation and Dhamma Talk, Yoga Samadhi, White Salmon (Luang Por Viradhammo only)

Anyone is invited and may attend all or just some of these events.  No meditation experience is needed and chairs will be available.  ***Please bring your own CUSHION if you would like to sit on the floor.***  There is no charge for the events.

***VOLUNTEERS NEEDED — Volunteers would be welcome for setup and take down at these times: Sat. 9:00 AM – noon, Sun. 8:00 – 10:30 AM, and Sun. 3:30 – 5:00 PM.***

A Pah Bah is an event organized by lay supporters to offer monetary support and needed material goods to a monastery.  Samakkee is a Thai word indicating that several people have joined together to initiate the offerings this year.

For more information, please click on the appropriate links included above, visit, or email

Offering Support

Donations are welcome and may be offered at any of the events, however the monks cannot accept or handle money themselves.  Monetary donations should be put in a donation bowl or basket (available at most events), with checks made out to Sanghata.  Sanghata is the board of stewards for the Pacific Hermitage.  More information will be available at the Pah Bah Samakkee, or by visiting the Sanghata website,

Map to Grange and Additional Parking at ICE
  • Click on the map below for a clearer picture.
  • Grange:  1085 N Main Ave, White Salmon, WA 98672
  • ICE:  1265 N Main Ave, White Salmon, WA 98672.   No Smoking on ICE property.

Grange Map




2016 August Events

IMG_20150606_141812495The August forecast is for lots of sun and all the regular monthly Hermitage events, starting off with a Garden Party on August 6th:
  • August 6 — Garden Party
  • August 13 — Half-Day Retreat
  • August 19 — PFoD Tea/Dhamma Talk
  • August 20 — PFoD Alms/Meal


First, a quick July reminder — Registration for the Abhayagiri Thanksgiving Retreat ends July 31.  Check the Abhayagiri website for more information.

August:  Garden Party, Half-Day Retreat and PFoD Events

August 6 — Garden Party:  Help Keep the Hermitage Green!  Well, except for weeds. You can remove that kind of green, as well as help with cleaning up the forest and doing various other types of yard and maintenance work.  After a couple of hours, we stop for tea and a chat.  The day starts with a meal offering (arrive by 10:30 am).  The work officially begins at 1:00 pm, and tea at 3:00 pm.  Come for any or all of the activities.

August 13 — Half-Day Retreat at Yoga Samadhi in White Salmon.  Sit, walk, listen.  No, it’s not dog training.  It’s training the mind!  Join the monks and others from 1 – 5 pm for a break from your usual activities and mind noise.

August 19 & 20 — Portland Friends of the Dhamma (PFoD) hosts the monks for tea, talk and meditation on Friday night, then a meal on Saturday.  Tea begins at 5:30 pm Friday evening, and the Dhamma talk at 7:00 pm.   At 10:30 am on Saturday, the monks walk on alms round, then have their meal at 11:00 am.  Please check PFoD’s website for more information.

September:  Pah Bah Samakkee

Join Luang Por Pasanno, Luang Por Viradhammo, and monks from the Pacific Hermitage and Abhayagiri Monastery, for the annual alms-giving ceremony to benefit the Pacific Hermitage.  The events will be held September 17 & 18 in White Salmon.

“Samakkee” is probably a new word for many of you.  It’s a Thai word meaning unity or harmony.  In this instance, it signifies that several people have come together to sponsor the Pah Bah.

For more information about the 2016 Pah Bah Samakkee, visit, email, or check this website again in late August.

Death and Dying in the Buddhist Tradition

The Hood River Library is hosting Ajahns Sudanto and Karunadhammo this Friday, July 22, 2016, 6:30-7:30 PM, for a discussion of death and dying from the Buddhist perspective.

This is part of the library’s “Grave Matters” monthly discussion series about death and end-of-life issues.  For more information about the series, please click here:  “Grave Matters.”

The library is at 502 State Street, Hood River, OR 97031.

July 2016 Events

Buddha in the Hermitage GardenAjahns Sudanto and Karunadhammo return June 28, (Ajahn Karunadhammo will be at Yoga Samadhi that night).  A more regular schedule returns in July!

  • Garden Party / Work Day       July 2
  • Half-Day Retreat                        July 9
  • PFoD Tea / Dhamma Talk      July 15
  • PFoD Alms Round / Meal       July 16
  • Vassa Begins                                July 20

NOTE:  Registration for the annual Abhayagiri Thanksgiving Retreat begins July 1.  See our previous post or visit the Abhayagiri website after July 1 for more information.

Garden Party July 2!

Please join the monks and others July 2 for a party (work party, that is) at the Hermitage.  There haven’t been as many “garden parties” as usual this summer, so your help will be extra appreciated.  Come for all or just part of the party at the Hermitage:

  • 11:00 am        Meal offering (contact Meal Dana Coordinator) (arrive by 10:30 am)
  • 1 – 3 pm          Party in the garden (help with yard work and other tasks)
  • 3:00 pm          Tea in the garden (the real party)

Half-Day Retreat July 9

All are welcome to come to a half-day retreat with the monks, July 9, from 1-5 pm at Yoga Samadhi in White Salmon. Carve out a little time for a peaceful afternoon of sitting and walking meditation, as well as some Dhamma reflections by Ajahn Sudanto and/or Ajahn Karunadhammo.   It’s free and open to all.

 PFoD Tea, Meditation, Dhamma Talk and Meal July 15 & 16

  • July 15, 5:30 pm Tea, 7-9 pm Meditation and Dhamma talk
  • July 16, 10:30 am Alms Round and Meal Offering

Join the monks when they visit Portland Friends of the Dhamma.  Informal tea-time Friday night at 5:30 pm downstairs, followed by meditation and teachings beginning at 7:00 pm in the meditation hall upstairs.  Saturday Alms Round at 10:30 am, followed by an 11:00 am Meal Offering.

Vassa Begins July 20

The “Vassa Retreat” (July 20 – October 16) was established by the Buddha as a more intensive period of practice for monastics.  It corresponds with the monsoon season in South and Southeast Asia, and is also known as the Rains Retreat.

Looking Ahead

The August calendar is looking pretty “normal,” with all regular events expected to be held as planned.  The monks will be away, off and on, so please check the calendar before planning any visits or meal offerings (and remember to contact our meal dana coordinator if you would like to offer a meal or alms food).

The Pah Bah Samakkee will be held September 17 & 18.  (In Thailand, Samakkee means unity or harmony.  In this instance, it signifies that several people are sponsoring this annual alms-giving event.)   If you are planning to stay overnight, it would be good to look for lodging right now!  Look for more information about the Pah Bah Samakkee soon.

Abhayagiri Thanksgiving Retreat: Register July 1-31

The annual 10-day Thanksgiving retreat with Luang Por Pasanno and several Abhayagiri monastics will be held November 18 – 27, 2016, in Santa Rosa, California.  This retreat has been a tradition for a number of years and offers a unique retreat opportunity alongside monastics.

New this yearAjahn Sudanto will attend and ride to and from the retreat with participants from the Pacific Northwest.

Registration will be open July 1 – July 31.  Because it’s a popular retreat, and more people will register than can attend, participants will be chosen via a lottery at the end of the registration period.   Registration is open only to those who have previously sat at least one five-day retreat.

To register or find out more information, please check the Abhayagiri website after July 1.