Everything You Need to Know for the Virtual Retreat May 1-10

Mindfulness in the Time of the Pandemic: An Online Retreat Open to All

This year, Ajahn Sona and Ajahn Sudanto are bringing the Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery and Pacific Hermitage Annual Retreat online. The focus is The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, a central theme in the teachings of the Buddha.

The Details

How to Join
All sessions will be live streamed on YouTube on Ajahn Sona’s channel.

The Schedule
The schedule (sidebar) lists all sessions to be live streamed on YouTube. The periods in between these sessions are for your individual practice, offline on your own.

Pre-registration is not required. However, if you do plan to attend, this optional registration enables the retreat team to send you some useful information in advance. In addition, your answers to the brief questions will be helpful for the Ajahns as they share the teachings and give instruction.

The Schedule

May 1
8:15 – 9:00 pm Opening Dhamma talk with Ajahn Sona

May 2 – 10*
5:30 – 6:40 am Morning chanting & meditation
2:30 – 4:00 pm Afternoon group meditation
4:00 – 5:00 pm Teatime with Ajahn Sudanto
7:00 – 8:00 pm Evening chanting & meditation
8:15 – 9:00 pm Dhamma talk with Ajahn Sona

*Retreat ends on May 10 at 8:00 pm after chanting & meditation

Q & A

Can anyone join? Do I need to have a lot of meditation experience?
All are welcome, you do not need a particular level of meditation experience. For those who are newer to meditation, or for anyone who would like additional guidance before the retreat, you can watch Ajahn Sona’s video on breath meditation.

Do I have to attend the whole retreat?
No, it is not required that you attend the entire retreat, join when you are able. To the degree that you can, it is beneficial that you create supportive conditions and participate as fully as possible so you may benefit from the teachings. Ajahn Sona has posted a video sharing guidance about preparing for a virtual retreat and creating supportive conditions.

Will I be able to ask questions?
Ajahn Sudanto will address some questions during his daily 4:00 p.m. Teatime, and questions on the topic of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness are encouraged. Each day, questions submitted by 9:00 a.m. via this online form may be addressed during teatime. Though there will not be time for all questions that arise, we hope that all benefit from those discussed, and encourage your continued curiosity.
Please note that YouTube will not be enabled for questions, they will need to be submitted via the online form noted here.

I am not very familiar with chanting, will there be any guidance to help me with that?
Ajahn Sudanto will be sharing some chanting information and instruction on the Pacific Hermitage YouTube channel. All are welcome to join live on Thursday, April 23 at 4:00 PT here. The session will also be available as recorded video after that date.

Do I need to do anything to prepare in advance of the retreat?
No, the videos noted above on breath meditation, online retreat preparation, and chanting instruction are optional resources.

Is there a cost to attend this retreat?
No. This retreat is organized by the Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery and the Pacific Hermitage for the benefit of meditators worldwide. Teachings of the Buddha are considered priceless, and are offered freely.

May you be well, happy, and peaceful.