Register for 2016 Birken Retreat

Birken Retreat:  May 4-13, 2016

Birken1Registration is now open (Closed) for the Pacific Hermitage meditation retreat at Birken Forest Monastery, near Kamloops, BC.

Ajahn Sona, Abbot of the monastery, will lead the retreat.

At this time, the monastery can guarantee places for at least 12 lay participants.  We will fill those 12 slots and keep a waiting list of six to eight.  In past years, there have been enough cancellations or increases in available spaces that we’ve been able to accommodate all of those on the waiting list who still wanted to go.

If you’d like to go, please email Bob Miller at  We will keep registration open until the end of the month, but the guaranteed slots and waiting list often fill quickly.

Six people will likely need to share three rooms with another of the same gender.  Although staying in a meditation hut cannot be guaranteed, there may be an opportunity to request one as we get closer to the date.

Carpooling is a good way to get there.  We’re looking for volunteers to drive.

If you are interested but feel a bit anxious, please feel free to contact Bob Miller (email above) or others who have already been to Birken so that they can reassure you about what a wonderful and valuable experience it is.

UPDATE: Registration is now closed. Details:

2015 Pah Bah :-)

Program for the ceremony

Some 150 people gathered in White Salmon on September 20 to offer support to the Pacific Hermitage.  They came from near and far — as near as “just down the road,” to as far away as Thailand.  The Pah Bah sponsors, Pichit Wathanapaisal and Kanchana Umpai, came all the way from Illinois.  Donations totaled over $38,000 this year, with individual donations ranging from $1 to $10,000.  Many, many thanks!

The Hermitage Can Be Here Only With Your Support

In the Thai Forest Tradition, monks and nuns are not allowed  to earn or even handle money, and they can only accept what is freely given. These rules have a purpose — they set up an interdependent relationship between lay supporters and a monastic community.  A monastery can exist only where a community values the spiritual leadership, example and Buddha’s teachings enough to support a monastic community.

Four Basic Requisites

The Buddha said monks need only four very basic things:  food, shelter, clothing and medicine. Food must be offered to the monks each morning, either on their alms rounds or as a meal offered at the Hermitage.  Monetary donations provide the monks with shelter Continue reading “2015 Pah Bah :-)”

The Calendar Tab

The Calendar tab is your portal to Hermitage Event and Meal Dana (offering) information.  Read about it (below), then give it a click (above).
How does It Look to You?

When you click on the Calendar tab, the way the Event and Meal Dana information is displayed will depend on if you’re using a computer, tablet or phone:

  • On a computer, you’ll likely see a list of Hermitage Events on the left side of the screen and a list of Meal Dana information on the right.
  • On a phone or tablet, you’ll probably see the list of Hermitage Events first, with the Meal Dana information below that.  (And there’s also a real calendar–see below.)
Meal Dana Calendar

To see Meal Dana information in a more traditional calendar view, look below the list of Hermitage Events and click on ← Meal Dana Calendar  Here’s some more information:

  • The monks rely on scheduled meal offerings for their Saturday and Sunday meals, and alms food Monday – Friday.  (Occasionally someone offers a meal on a weekday.)
  • A bold date on the calendar means there is a meal offering or some important information (such as, the monks will be away for the meal) for that date.  Hover your cursor over a bold date or click on it for more information.
  • All weekend dates need meal offerings, so if one is not boldit means that a meal offering is needed.  Please contact the meal dana coordinator (Debie) if you’d like to offer a meal on one of those days.
Get Familiar!

Please poke around and get a little more comfortable with the new calendar tab and this way of displaying the information.  We may be able to modify the calendar a bit in the future, but this is our current way of letting people know of key events, when meals are needed and when the monks will not be at the Hermitage during meal time.

Here’s a Challenge:  There are many dates in September and October when the monks will be gone.  See if you can find that information through the Calendar tab!

Fallen Garden Party 2015

Gathering firewood and prepping the gardens for winter.
Gathering firewood and prepping the gardens for winter.

From Fallen Trees to Firewood

Thanks to the hard working crew who showed up for the final Garden Party of 2015! They skillfully cut, split and stacked firewood from trees that had succumbed to nature over the last year or so. The Hermitage should be cozy this Winter!

Fall Gardens and Winter Rooftops
In addition, the party-goers groomed our gardens in time for the arrival of our Pah Bah guests and visitors, and helped make the roof over our remodeled shrine room ready for Winter Rains. Most of the remodeled exterior was painted as well.

Much Gratitude to Hermitage Supporters!
Thank you to all who worked and played in the garden with us this Summer! We enjoyed nutritious meals, spiffed up the grounds, got ready for Winter, and had some nice tea-time chats.