Hermitage Birken Retreat

Birken Meditation Hall

This May, Pacific Hermitage Retreat at Birken Forest Monastery

This treasured tradition – the Pacific Hermitage meditation retreat at Birken Forest Monastery – will return in 2024. Applicants can apply for a one week session, which are scheduled for May 4-11th and May 18-25th. The Theme is Keeping the Big Picture in Mind, and as always, Ajahn Sona will offer reflections each night on the theme.

Members of the community interested in attending can request to participate by filling out this application – requesting either one or both of the two sessions. Please register by March 18th 2024, and those accepted will be notified by March 25. Also:

  • Details about coordinating carpools will be shared after this time.
  • With the recent renovations at Birken, each participant will have a single room.

If you have any questions, please email Ajahn Sudanto at hermitage@abhayagiri.org, and put “2024 Birken Retreat” in the subject line.

Birken Monastery is a beautiful setting quite conducive to deeper meditation, investigation and reflection. What a joy that this tradition returns!

Cancelled:Tuesday Night Meditation

Given the high likelihood we’ll have significant ice or freezing rain tomorrow night, Tuesday January 16th, we’ve decided to cancel the two meditation sessions we host at Yoga Samadhi.

We’ll resume the following week provided the weather is suitable.

Thank you for your understanding, and may you all be safe and warm!

Autumn Update

Fall view of Hermitage House and new wood sheds.
Fall view of Hermitage House and new firewood sheds.

Comings & Goings

As is customary, with the end of the Vassa there will be some comings and goings at the Hermitage. Tan Parimutto will return to Temple Forest Monastery on November 8th, and Tan Suddhiko will depart for Abhayagiri in early December. The community has been so grateful for their kind presence!

Ajahn Sudanto will be traveling to Thailand and Japan from early November to early January. We hope his journeys will be of great benefit and we look forward to his return.

We’re very excited that Ajahn Nyaniko, Abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery, will be visiting the Hermitage from December 1st – 7th. Also arriving from Abhayagiri on December 1st will be Tan Cittapālo and Tan Dhammavaro, who will both remain at the Hermitage through the winter. We look forward to welcoming them all! As always, there are opportunities to offer a meal on the weekends (calendar here) and join the monks on Tuesday evenings at Yoga Samadhi. Additionally, Ajahn Nyaniko will offer a daylong at Portland Friends of the Dhamma on December 3rd, details here.

A Beautiful Pah Bah

It was a great joy that so many in the community could attend this year’s Pah Bah on September 16th & 17th. Joining the Hermitage’s resident monks – Ajahn Sudanto, Tan Suddhiko, and Tan Parimutto – were ten monks from three different monasteries, including:

  • From Abhayagiri: Luang Por Pasanno, Ajahn Sek, Ajahn Nyaniko, Ajahn Karunadhammo, Tan Jotimanto, Tan Dhammavaro, and Anagarika Max.
  • From Temple: Ajahn Anando and Ajahn Caganando
  • From Clear Mountain: Ajahn Nisabho

The weekend activities included a half-day meditation event on Saturday, and the meal offering and Pah Bah ceremony on Sunday. These auspicious occasions have occurred since the time of the Buddha, and they celebrate the interdependence of monastics and laity. The generous support of the community will contribute to a Monks’ Retreat House at the Hermitage in the future. Anumodana!

You can see more photos from the event by viewing this photo album.

2023 Garden Party Season

This year’s Garden Party season concluded in October with many in the community joining in to stack wood for the winter. Two newly built wood sheds were completely filled! Much gratitude for all those who worked diligently and with such care all year, taking care of the land and preparing the wood for the winter. Anumodana, may these generous acts be of great benefit.

The Abbot’s Kuti

Many Hermitage visitors have had the chance to see progress on the Abbot’s kuti along the way, and it is now close to complete. While there is still some finishing work to do, it’s expected to be completed by mid November.

The Wood Stacking Party Is Fast Approaching

Mark Your Calendars for October 7 & 8

As is our tradition, the final Garden Party of the year is preparing for the winter by readying the wood needed to fuel the wood stove (a.k.a. the Woodchuckers’ Ball).  This year, the majority of the work will be stacking the wood in a newly constructed wood shed.

There is quite a large pile of wood to stack, and having many folks in a line to pass the firewood will make light work of it – no special skills are needed.

The community stacking wood in a prior year

The Details:

  • Dates: Saturday, October 7th & Sunday, October 8th
  • Time: 1:00 – 3:00 pm both days, followed by tea

Note: These are separate events from the meal offerings. If you are thinking of joining earlier for the meal, please contact the meal dana coordinators as usual, dana@pacifichermitage.org.

This is a wonderful opportunity to joyfully offer generosity. And it’s a great day for the community to gather at the Hermitage while the weather is still good, and also to see Tan Suddhiko and Tan Parimutto before they return to Abhayagiri and Temple monasteries after the vassa. Anumodana!

The Pah Bah is Fast Approaching: Sept 16 & 17

An Auspicious Occasion

Since the time of the Buddha, Pah Bah celebrations have offered a chance for monastics and lay people to celebrate our interdependence. The Pacific Hermitage’s Pah Bah weekend is just around the corner on September 16 & 17 in Underwood, Washington.

The Sanghata Foundation is delighted to welcome Luang Por Pasanno, Ajahn Sudanto, Ajahn Sek, Ajahn Karunadhammo, Ajahn Anando, Ajahn Nyaniko, Ajahn Caganando, Ajahn Nisabho, the Pacific Hermitage monks, and visiting monks from Abhayagiri and beyond. All events will be held at the Underwood Community Center, 951 School House Rd, Underwood, WA.

Schedule & Details

Saturday Sept 16

  • 1:00 – 5:00 PM: Meditation Retreat

There will be structured periods of sitting and walking meditation, and Dhamma reflections. This is a lovely opportunity to settle into the weekend and connect with the community. Please bring a zafu or cushion if you need one, as there are not enough for all.

Sunday Sept 17

  • 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM: Meal Offering
  • 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Pah Bah Ceremony and Dhamma Reflections

If you are attending the Sunday meal, please bring a dish to share to the venue’s kitchen, and be settled into your seat by 10:30. Otherwise, to attend the afternoon’s event please arrive by 12:30.

The monks will be available in the afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday to talk with guests and take photos, and share updates about the new Abbot’s Kuti.

Donations will support the development of the “Monks’ Retreat House” project.

We are excited to be working on this new project supporting elders in our lineage. The primary purpose of this two-story dwelling is to comfortably accommodate senior monks for visits and periods of solitary retreat. Features include an accessible sleeping room with an en-suite bathroom, separate living space for an attendant, a kitchenette, restrooms, and an elegant meditation and gathering space with expansive views of the forest.

Join Us

You can attend any or all of the days’ events. Families are welcome! There is a big field, sports courts, and a playground for kids.

If you are interested in helping or volunteering on either of the days, please contact jessicaswanson@gmail.com

Learn more or donate at PacificHermitage.org.