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Monastic Winter Retreat Begins

December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020

Winter is a time of greater seclusion and deeper monastic practice.

A Time for Silence, Reflection and Renewal

Each year at this time, monks of this tradition enter more deeply into solitary and silent study and meditation.  It’s an important time of reflection and renewal for them.

We can be helpful, during this time, by refraining from unnecessary conversation and requests for their time, even while offering alms food or meals.  During the retreat, meal offerings will be scheduled only on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.  The monks will rely on alms offerings Monday – Wednesday, and restaurant offerings on Friday.  While food offerings are welcome anytime before noon, Ajahn Sudanto and the monks will only be receiving guests after the meals on Saturday and Sunday.

In addition Saturday and Sunday alms rounds will be suspended for the duration of the winter, making meal offerings at the hermitage those days the sole source for meals during the winter retreat.

Three Monks Will Be in Residence

Ajahn Sudanto, Ajahn Sek and Venerable Khantiko will reside at the Hermitage throughout the winter.

Venerable Gunaviro returned to Abhayagiri Monastery on November 22. Thank you for spending several months with us!

Ajahn Sek

Ajahn Sek has now joined Ajahn Sudanto and Venerable Khantiko. We look forward to having him at the Hermitage through Winter Retreat.

Want to learn more about the resident monks? Click on “About Us.” You’ll also find background information about the Hermitage and the Thai Forest Tradition.

Tuesday Night Meditation Continues

Whether led by the monks or a community member, Tuesday night meditation at Yoga Samadhi will continue through winter.  December and January the gatherings will be community led, and with Christmas and New Year’s Eve suspended for the holiday vacation. Please watch the website and calendar for details or cancellations (weather sometimes becomes an issue). It’s also a good idea to sign up to receive our emails.

2019 Sanghata Focus: Long-Range Planning

3 Buddhist monks discussing planning

From the beginning, the Hermitage was intended to be both a monastic retreat and a source of support for lay practice. Now, with the early years of establishing the Hermitage behind us, the focus for Sanghata has changed to long-range planning and more fully realizing that original intention. We are working to shift monastic efforts away from start-up and administrative tasks and to ensure they have the kind of solitude and support necessary for monastic practice and retreat.

Ensuring a Secluded Setting

The Hermitage is surrounded by forest, but also by land that could see development. Because this could impact the Hermitage, Sanghata is searching for ways and opportunities to protect the quiet and secluded nature of the property.

New Abbot’s Kuti Will Offer More Quiet for Ajahn

We plan to complete the abbot’s kuti next summer. This will give Ajahn Sudanto some seclusion from daily Hermitage activities and allow him to take extended retreats at the Hermitage.

Down the Road, a Senior Monk Retreat House

In the future, we plan to build additional lodging for monastic retreats at the Hermitage.

The Year in Review

  • Water System Upgraded – A major water system project was completed. It increases storage and water pressure, and will serve future buildings. An automated irrigation system will reduce watering duties for the monks.
  • Hour-Long Sit Added to Tuesday Nights – Experienced meditators can now join the monks for an hour of silent meditation on Tuesday nights, just before the regular sit.
  • Birken Retreat is Largest Yet – Twenty-four meditators were able to attend the Pacific Hermitage’s retreat at Birken Forest Monastery this year.
  • Visiting Monks – Ajahn Jotipalo, Ajahn Kassapo, and Venerables Kovilo, Khantiko and Gunaviro all resided at the Hermitage during the year. Ajahn Seksan will stay for the winter.
  • Ajahn’s Travels – This Spring Ajahn Sudanto and Ajahn Caganando traveled to Japan, invited by a former White Salmon resident who currently lives there. In early September, Ajahn Sudanto attended the Annual North American Abbots Gathering at Arrow River Monastery in Canada.
Pacific Hermitage in White Salmon, WA
Buddhist monks at the Pacific Hermitage Pah Bah
Participants and the Pacific Hermitage Pah Bah

2019 Pah Bah: Your Generosity Makes the Hermitage Possible

Around 75 people attended the Saturday meditation retreat and 115 attended the Sunday Pah Bah. Thank you for your generous support! The Hermitage will greatly benefit from the over $35,000 donated. Thank you to the many people who offered their time, material goods, yummy food or skills to make the Pah Bah possible. Our sponsors this year were Charles Jasper and Nhan & Jan Luong. Thirteen monks attended the Pah Bah – our largest monastic gathering to date – including monks from Temple Forest Monastery and Abhayagiri Monastery.

Deep Gratitude to Scott & Joan for Ten Pah Bahs!

Scott & Joan Benge at the Pacific Hermitage Pah Bah

This was the 10th year that Scott and Joan Benge coordinated our Pah Bah. They’ve “written the book” on how to do this annual event!
We are so grateful to them for this contribution to the welfare of the Hermitage and for their unassuming way of managing this important annual event. Now it’s time for someone else to do it.


We’ve found some very capable hands to take over for Pah Bah 2020 — Chevy Pham.
If you have attended a Birken retreat lately, you know how well she coordinates events. Contact Chevy at pahbah@sanghata.net if you’d like to volunteer for the 2020 Pah Bah.

2020 Pah Bah: September 19 & 20, in White Salmon, WA
Reserve your lodging now!

The board of stewards for the Pacific Hermitage
From left to right: Scott Benge, Carole Melkonian, Krissy Martin, Dave Forslund, Anna Siebenborn and Debie Garner.

Sanghata: Board of Stewards for the Hermitage

Sanghata is a non-profit board that receives and manages all financial donations for the Hermitage. We help you support the Hermitage. The board also works with the monastics on planning, budgeting and coordinating events and projects.

Learn more at: sanghata.net

2020 Birken Retreat — April 29th to May 13th

Theme: Foundations of Mindfulness

The Sala at Birken Forest Monastery is a still, silent and beautiful place for meditation.

Application Period: Dec. 1 – Jan. 15

It’s become a tradition each spring — the Pacific Hermitage meditation retreat at Birken Forest Monastery in British Columbia, Canada. In total, up to 24 members of our lay community travel north to spend either one or two weeks in a beautiful setting so conducive to deeper meditation, investigation and reflection. Ajahn Sona, Abbot of Birken, gives reflections each night on the retreat theme.

If you’re interested in attending, please take a look at the retreat website. You’ll find information about the monastery, what the schedule is like and how to apply. Participants are selected from those who apply. Those accepted will be notified by January 30. Please direct any questions to retreat coordinator (Chevy) at the email address given near the bottom of retreat website home page.

Meet Our New Meal Dana Coordinators

Beginning December 6th, Kalyani and Joseph will be the new Meal Dana Coordinators for the Hermitage. Kalyani and Joseph are no strangers to offering meal dana themselves. They live in White Salmon and have been offering alms food to the monks for a number of years.

The email address for the Meal Dana Coordinator remains the same, no matter who is currently in that role. Contact dana@pacifichermitage.org to schedule meal offerings, find out about offering food to the monks while they are on almsround, or just ask general questions about offering food.

Many Thanks to Colleen Regalbuto!

Colleen has gracefully and conscientiously coordinated meal dana for two years! Thank you so much, Colleen. It’s not a very visible role, but it’s one that is vital for sustaining the monks at the Hermitage.

2019 November News

Last 2019 PFoD Visit  |  Hillsboro Visit  |  Ajahn to Winter at Hermitage  |  Comings & Goings

November Events

NOVEMBER 15 & 16 — Portland Friends of the Dhamma: Join the monks on Friday night and/or Saturday morning. Details at PFoD website.

NOVEMBER 17 — Hillsboro Meditation Hall: The monks will visit 9 am – 1 pm. Email for information.

TUESDAY NIGHT SITS — Community Meditation continues, every Tuesday night at Yoga Samadhi, White Salmon, WA. Cushions & chairs available.
– Silent Meditation, 5:15-6:15 pm. Be ready to sit at 5:15 pm and stay until 6:15 pm. For experienced meditators.
– Meditation and Dhamma Talk, 6:30-8:00 pm, all levels.

Ajahn Sudanto to Stay at Hermitage This Winter

Ajahn Sudanto will spend the entire Winter Retreat at the Hermitage this year.  That’s a change.  For the past several years, he’s spent at least part of the winter at Birken Forest Monastery.  Ajahn Sudanto will be joined by Ajahn Sek and Tan Khantiko.

Comings and Goings

  • Ajahn Sudanto and Tan Khantiko will remain at the Hermitage through winter.
  • Tan Gunaviro will leave in late winter and return to Abhayagiri.
  • Ajahn Sek will arrive from Abhayagiri in late November and stay through winter.
  • Winter Retreat begins December 1 and lasts through the end of March.