Bhante Rahula, a senior Theravada monk who conducts retreats around the world, will be leading a three-day meditation retreat, May 20-22, 2016, at Mountain View Grange, 1085 N. Main Ave., White Salmon, WA. Space is limited and registrations (required) will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.
The retreat will focus on developing mindfulness meditation, with dhamma talks, guiding sitting meditation, walking and standing meditation, and yoga to enhance mindfulness training. It’s open to anyone, from beginning to advanced meditators.
Ajahn Away Dec. 9, 2015 – Feb. 4, 2016 — It’s getting near the monastic Winter Retreat, and since a ride and meditation hut are available, Ajahn Sudanto has accepted an offer to begin the first part of his retreat a little early at Birken Forest Monastery. Ajahn will return Feb. 4, 2016 and complete Winter Retreat in solitude. No other monks are scheduled to spend the winter at the Hermitage.
Birken Forest Monastery is at 4000 feet of elevation. Imagine settling into the snowy stillness, a wonderful setting for deep monastic practice.
Tuesday night meditation at Yoga Samadhi will continue, except Dec. 22 and 29are cancelled. On Dec. 15 and Jan. 5, Bruce Anderson will lead the meditations and also discussions of the Dhammapada. On the remaining Tuesdays, until Ajahn Sudanto returns, other people have offered to “host” the sits — basically open the room and start/end the meditation. Please check the Hermitage website to see if there are any updates.
Yoga Samadhi studio in White Salmon has hosted the regular Tuesday night sits, half-day retreats and special events, free of charge, for five years now. The monks took a moment Tuesday night, after Ajahn Thanissaro’s (Geoff) talk, to express their deep gratitude to owners Kathy and Jim Kacena and give them the beautiful Buddha image shown below.
Ajahn Sudanto said that they came to White Salmon wanting to offer regular opportunities for the community to meditate and listen to Dhamma reflections, but had no idea where to do so or how they might pay for it. Then they stumbled upon Yoga Samadhi and received an enthusiastic welcome and offer of free space from Kathy. It just so happened that Kathy had been to several retreats steeped in Thai Forest Buddhism, so she was astounded and delighted to find the monks knocking on her door!
Thanks from the entire community, Kathy and Jim, for offering this beautiful space.
The stars aligned and circumstances converged recently in a way that allowed a small group of Gorge practitioners to enjoy a six-day retreat at Birken Forest Monastery, while at the same time taking Ajahn Sudanto and Tan Suhajjo up to Birken’s Kathina (alms-giving celebration similar to our Pah Bah) and a brief retreat of their own.
Seven lay participants made the journey. It was the first retreat for four of them. As with all retreats, this inward journey is quite different for each individual, but Birken provides a safe and quiet environment for whatever joy or struggles or anything in between that one experiences. If questions or troubles arise, one can schedule time to talk with Ajahn Sona (Abbot of Birken) or discuss things at tea time with the group and a monastic. As your time there lengthens, you increasingly feel the support of others as simply fellow humans with worries, happiness, sadness, expectations, joy and even noisy stomachs of their own!
Ajahn Sudanto said that one reason he takes groups to Birken is so that people can feel more comfortable going for a retreat on their own. Retreat opportunities fill up rapidly, and you may not be able to attend with a group, but you can contact Birken to arrange a time to visit on your own or with a friend.
Many thanks to Anna Siebenborn for planning and coordinating the trip. She planned the route, arranged the stops and meals on the way, and coordinated with the Birken stewards. Thank you Anna!
If you’re interested in a retreat, but are a bit timid, grab someone who has made that trek up into the Canadian foothills and ask them about it!