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 Birken.ca 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 robertmiller1000@comcast.net (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: