March 2017 Events

Weekly Meditation and Dhamma Talks

Join us every Tuesday evening, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, at Yoga Samadhi in White Salmon, WA.

Over the next several weeks, following meditation, Ajahn Sudanto will lead a discussion of the book: The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony.

Everyone is welcome.  Cushions and chairs are available.

Meal Offerings are Needed on Weekends

Offering a meal is a lovely way to support the monks, and an opportunity to practice generosity, offer gratitude, ask dhamma questions, see the Hermitage and get to know the monks in a less formal setting.

You can find out when meal offerings are needed by checking the Hermitage Calendar. There are plenty of opportunities.  On weekdays, their meal comes from food people offer the monks during their alms rounds.

It’s important to contact the meal dana coordinator (Debie) to schedule your meal offering.  At least let her know you are coming.  Otherwise, if it looks like no one is offering the meal, she’ll call on the “rescue squad” (people who may be able to bring a meal on short notice).  If she knows you’re coming, this won’t be necessary and will reduce the number of times she needs to call on these volunteers.  Check out the Support tab for more information about offering food, or contact Debie with questions.

Admirable Friendship

“The Buddha said there are two factors that help most in the arising of discernment, that help you most along the path.   The foremost internal factor is appropriate attention.  The foremost external factor is admirable friendship.”   (From Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s book, Meditations)  From time to time, we’ll use this Admirable Friendship section to introduce you to a friend who is part of the Pacific Hermitage community.

A Friend of the Hermitage … Scott Benge


Your first conversation with Scott may or may not be related to Dhamma.  Given half a chance, Scott probably will talk about his two granddaughters.  They happen to be “wonderful, exceptional, beautiful, athletic, talented” (you get the picture)!  Since one is only two years old, we asked how athletic she possibly could be.  Undaunted, Scott answered, “Well, she walks!”

It’s no surprise that when Scott and his wife Joan recently moved from their Lake Oswego home of 26 years, it was to Bend, Oregon (where those amazing granddaughters live!).

If you do have a Dhamma-oriented conversation with Scott, it will quickly reveal a dedicated practitioner who values generosity and ethical behavior.  In his words, “People who congregate around and support the monastics, who are dedicated to personal practice, and who embody generosity and ethical behavior — they are different.  They’re more grounded, centered, at ease, kind and loving.  I find them inspiring.”   If you get to know Scott, it’s clear that he not only values those characteristics in others, he embodies and demonstrates them himself.  An inspiring and admirable friend himself.

Scott initially became active in Portland Friends of the Dhamma (PFoD) in about 2004, and he helped with their efforts to bring a permanent monastic presence to this region.  In 2007, he was a steward for Ajahn Sudanto and Ajahn Karunadhammo when they came to the Columbia River Gorge to see if a hermitage might be appropriate here.  When Abhayagiri Monastery approved the idea, Scott worked on the PFoD organizing committee to make that happen.

When the Hermitage was established, Scott was asked to be president of Sanghata, a lay board of stewards that helps support the Hermitage and manages all its financial matters.  Since monastics are not allowed to handle or use money, all monetary donations must be sent to Sanghata.  Find out more about Sanghata by visiting



Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony

Book for Tuesday Night Meditation/Dhamma Talk

Over the next few weeks, Ajahn Sudanto plans to reference a book by Bhikkhu Bodhi in his reflections and the discussions at Tuesday night meditation sessions.  If you are interested, you should be able to find a paperback of The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony by Bhikkhu Bodhi online for about $11.  It’s also available in electronic form.

All are welcome to come meditate with the monks, Tuesday nights, 6:30-8:00 pm, at Yoga Samadhi in White Salmon, WA.   Cushions and chairs are available.

February 2017 Events

The weather seems to be moderating a little bit, many roads are good to passable, and White Salmon hasn’t had temperatures in the teens or single digits for a couple of weeks.

Perhaps the monks can now settle into more of a normal “Winter Retreat” routine, rather than working on repairs, heavy-duty snow removal or preventing new snow/ice problems.

February Events:  A Quiet Month
  • Venerable  Saddhammo visits Jan. 31 – Feb. 7 (approx. dates)
  • Meditation with the Monks, Tuesdays, 6:30-8:00 pm, Yoga Samadhi, White Salmon, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Keeping it Kind of Quiet Through March

With all the snow, ice and cold-related work, Ajahn Sudanto and Venerable Kondañño haven’t had the extended period of relative silence, meditation and study that usually defines Winter Retreat.   This normally is an important time of intense practice and renewal for monastics.

Their Winter Retreat “officially” continues through February, but the monks will try to maintain a retreat atmosphere through March.  You can help them do this for the next couple of months by curtailing unnecessary talking, offering them food for their daily meal,* or giving your time if it’s needed.  This type of support reduces demands on their time, which helps them focus on their practice as much as possible.   (Note:  It’s OK to say hello or ask Dhamma questions after offering a weekend meal or at Tuesday night meditation!)

* This is a daily need, throughout the year.  Please see the Support page or contact the meal dana coordinator for information or to schedule a meal offering.

UPDATE: Monks Return January 11 (Delayed)

Snow at HermitageUPDATE:  The monks will now return 1/12 or 1/13, due to weather related problems.

Ajahn Sudanto and Tan Kondañño will soon leave a cold and snowy Birken Forest Monastery (British Columbia) … and return to a cold and snowy Hermitage!  (In fact, we’ll have to see if this weather allows them to return on Jan. 11th.)

A warm welcome to both!

Meet Venerable Kondañño
tan-kondannoWelcome to Tan Kondañño!  He will be staying at the Hermitage at least through the end of Winter Retreat.  Originally from Pittsburgh, Tan Kondañño’s first exposure to the Dhamma was in the late 90’s at Mt. Baldy Zen Center, CA.  After a short stint with Zen, he began attending Goenka Vipassana courses, and in 2009, he moved to California to help develop the Northern California Vipassana Center.  In 2011, he began visiting Abhayagiri Monastery to diversify and deepen his practice.  He ordained there as a Bhikkhu on June 5, 2016.
Honoring Monastic Winter Retreat (Dec. 1 – Feb. 28)

Ajahn Sudanto

During the monastic Winter Retreat, monks live in greater silence and focus more on meditation and study.  It’s a time for them to recharge and deepen their practice.

We gently ask folks to honor the monks’ Winter Retreat.  One way to do this is by curtailing unnecessary speech. Good news, though — Tuesday night meditation in White Salmon still offers a venue for Dhamma questions and discussions, so please feel free to bring your questions there!

Offering Alms and Meals

Another gentle reminder, this time about offering food. The monks eat one meal each day from food offered to them each morning.  This type of support is needed daily.

Food may be offered to the monks as alms or meals.  While several local families regularly offer food to the monks while they walk on alms round through White Salmon (nearly every morning), and various friends in the region bring meals to the Hermitage, more support is always needed and welcome.  The monks rely primarily on alms food during the week and meals offered on the weekends at the Hermitage.

For some, offering food to the monks is simply a joyful act.  For others, it may reflect their appreciation for the teachings or just being able to connect and talk with monastics (quite a rare situation in the US!).  In any case, offering food is an act of generosity that truly gladdens the heart … of both giver and receiver!

If you have questions or would like to help, please visit our Support page or contact the meal dana coordinator for more information.  Meal offerings at the Hermitage should be scheduled through the meal dana coordinator.  The Support page also has information on other ways to offer support* — services, time, etc.
*A Note from Sanghata
The monks follow monastic practices established by the Buddha, including one that does not allow them to receive, handle or ask for money.  As a result, you won’t find much information about monetary support on the Pacific Hermitage website.  You’ll need to visit for that.  Sanghata is a Board of Stewards that handles all financial matters for the Hermitage.   Please feel free to visit for more information.

2017 Events Schedule (and Monastics Return!)

2016-ph-bridge-w-snowMonastics Return January 11th

There ‘ve been only animal tracks on the Hermitage driveway since that white, fluffy stuff began falling from the sky a few weeks ago.  That will change soon.  The driveway snow will either melt or be plowed for Ajahn Sudanto’s and Venerable Kondañño’s arrival on January 11.

The monks may leave cold and snowy (and beautiful!) Birken Forest Monastery in British Columbia, only to return to pretty darn chilly and snowy White Salmon, Washington!  

Regular / Recurring Events with the Monks

Weekly, Meditation with the Monks, Resuming January 17th

  • The monks will resume leading meditation and offering Dhamma reflections, on Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, at Yoga Samadhi.  All are welcome!

Monthly, Beginning in April

  • Community Work Parties at Hermitage   (1st Saturdays, 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Apr.-Sep.)
  • Half-Day Retreats at Yoga Samadhi   (2nd Saturdays, 1:00 – 5:00 pm, Apr.-Nov.)
  • Portland Friends of the Dhamma   (3rd Fridays & Saturdays, Apr.-Nov.)
    • Tea, questions, meditation and Dhamma talk  (5:30 – 9:00 pm, Third Fridays)
    • Almsround and Meal Offering at PFoD  (10:30 am – 1:00 pm, Third Saturdays)

NOTE:  Yoga Samadhi and the Pacific Hermitage are in White Salmon, Washington.  Portland Friends of the Dhamma (PFoD) is in Portland, Oregon.

Special Events, Comings, Goings and Retreats

  • Dec. 1 – Feb. 28       2016-17 Winter Retreat
  • Jan. 11                        Aj. Sudanto & Tan Kondañño return to Hermitage 
  • May 3 – 17                  Retreat at Birken  Monastery for Hermitage group
  • May 19 – 27                Aj. Sudanto to Amaravati Monastery (UK)
  • July 7 & 8                   Luang Por Sumedho visits
  • July 9 – Oct. 5           Vassa (Monastic Summer Retreat)
  • Aug 19 – 22                Aj. Sudanto to Steens Mtn. / Bend
  • Aug. 29 – 30              Willa & Jitindryia Tuesday, plus Daylong
  • Sep. 6 – 13                 Yosemite Monastic Retreat  
  • Sep. 16 & 17            Hermitage Pah Bah*
  • Oct. 6 – 12                 Aj. Sudanto to Temple Monastery Kathina
  • Dec. 1 – Feb. 28      2017-18 Winter Retreat 

*If you will need lodging for the Pah Bah, it’s best to arrange it as soon as possible.

Please check the Pacific Hermitage website often to keep current with any additions, cancellations or changes.  To learn about or offer alms food or a meal to the monks, please visit our Support page or contact Debie at

Best wishes for the new year!

Community Meditation Continues Through Winter

Join Us:  Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Yoga Samadhi, White Salmon

P1040951Several members of the local community have offered to host Tuesday night meditation while the monks are away (now until January 11).

Please join us!  Some hosts may just begin and end the meditation, while others may lead a discussion or read something that speaks to them.  No matter what, it will be a warm and supportive space to meditate with new or longtime Dhamma friends.

Our Hosts:  Bruce Anderson (11/22 & 29), Colleen Regalbuto (12/6), Ellen Donoghue (12/13 & 1/3), Debie Garner (12/20) and Anna Siebenborn (1/10).   We’ll announce a host for 12/27 a bit later.

Weather (not to mention life!) is uncertain, so please check the Pacific Hermitage website for any last minute notices about the schedule.

Monks Return January 11

Ajahn Sudanto will return to the Hermitage January 11, after first attending the Abhayagiri Thanksgiving Retreat, then traveling to Birken Forest Monastery (Canada) for the first part of his annual Monastic Winter Retreat.  Venerable Kondañño, an Abhayagiri monk, will return with him and stay at least through the rest of the Winter Retreat.

November 2016 Events

aj-geoffAjahn Geoff (Thanissaro Bhikkhu) to Visit in November

We 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.

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

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

img_1381The 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

Longer 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.