Update From the Hermitage: The Virtual Retreat Starts Today

The Online Retreat

Focused on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the virtual retreat offered by Ajahn Sudanto and Ajahn Sona starts May 1st and continues through May 10th. It is open to all, registration is not required, and you can find more information here. We look forward to practicing with those of you who are able to join.

Our Connected Sangha

Ajahn Sudanto has so generously offered his time and efforts to connect with us online and share the dhamma, and our sangha is flourishing. There are many offerings on the Pacific Hermitage YouTube channel:

  • Morning and evening chanting and meditation,
  • Dhamma reflections,
  • Daily 8:00 a.m. Coffee with Ajahn Sudanto sessions, and
  • Saturday afternoon Teatime at 4:00 p.m.

In the interactive sessions, Ajahn shares reflections, and encourages questions of a practical nature about applying Buddhadhamma and practice to our lives and the issues that arise.

Since we’re coming together online and are not bound by geography, people are joining us from across the globe to right here in White Salmon. We will be very happy when we can again visit the Hermitage in the future, and we are also very grateful that we can connect online now. There are many of us who already can’t imagine not starting our day hearing Ajahn’s reflections and answers to our questions at 8:00 a.m. (clinging!).

Note: From May 2 – May 10 during the retreat, the regular Pacific Hermitage YouTube programming will occur as part of the retreat on the Ajahn Sona channel only, so there will not be programming on the Hermitage channel. The only exception is that the daily 8:00 a.m. Morning Coffee with Ajahn Sudanto will still occur on the Hermitage channel.

“…This is the entire holy life Ānanda, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship. When a bhikkhu has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path.”


New & Upcoming

We are very pleased that Ajahn Karunadhammo, co-Abbott of Abhayagiri, will be joining us at the Hermitage this summer. He will arrive on June 8th, and is happy to have the time to return for the summer period.
It has been wonderful having Ajahn Sek here over the winter and spring, he will be returning to Abhayagiri via the transportation that brings us Ajahn Karunadhammo that same week.

Dana volunteers Joseph and Matt at the Hermitage to meet Ajahn Sudanto

Around the Hermitage

The Meal dana process has stabilized for now, and the monks are well cared for by the efforts of the community and the meal dana coordinators. If you have any questions about the process or how you can share support, please email dana@pacifichermitage.org.

Plans for Ajahn’s new kuti continue, with help from a new member of the community and dana volunteer, Matt. A recent transplant from Florida and practitioner in the Thai Forest tradition, Matt has a background in architecture, and is assisting with the design drawings for Ajahn’s new kuti. Welcome Matt!

Work is underway upgrading the equipment to support a simple and improved ability to live stream and stay connected online.

“Nothing ever completely matches our expectations, and this can be a source of great suffering for us.”

– Ajahn Sudanto
Morning Coffee with Ajahn Sudanto

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.


April 7 Hermitage Update


Staying Connected with Our Sangha

The monks are healthy and well, and committed to staying connected in these times. Thank you to the more than 1,600 people who have subscribed to the Pacific Hermitage YouTube channel. Ajahn Sudanto has begun live streaming events:

  • We can now join the monks daily for chanting and meditation, live at 5:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • Ajahn is looking at various options for online events including more interactive Q&A discussions, so watch for updates (and select “All” notifications on the YouTube channel).

A Virtual Retreat

Ajahn Sudanto and Ajahn Sona are offering a virtual retreat May 1 – 10, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness. The retreat is open to all, registration is not required, and you can find more information here, and even more on Birken.ca.

The Latest on Meal Dana

The meal dana coordinators and the sangha have met the changing conditions with an outpouring of support. As of today, the options for offering meal dana are below (varies by geography and day of week).

Local White Salmon (Mon-Wed):

  • local sangha members bring to meal dana coordinators (or offer restaurant meals).


  • (Thurs-Sun): Portlanders can offer restaurant meals through one of the designated local restaurants on the meal dana coordinator list.
  • (Bi-weekly on Saturday): Chevy is making a bi-weekly trip from Portland bringing homemade frozen meals to White Salmon. They will be stored in local homes until needed (alternate Mondays and as needed). If you would like to participate, please contact the dana coordinators.

New processes have been put in place to care for the health and safety of all, and only one person, Joseph, actually offers to the monks.

If you have any questions about offering a meal, please contact meal dana coordinators Kalyani and Joseph directly at dana@pacifichermitage.org.

As previously noted, the laity has accumulated a two-month supply of food to store at the Hermitage, which the vinaya allows for in the type of situation we’re facing. This does not change the current meal dana process in place, it is a backup plan. The monks cannot mix alms with the emergency pantry provisions; such provisions would only be used if all other options became unavailable.

Many thanks to Anna for doing the shopping and managing this process.

Would You Like to Volunteer?

Kalyani and Joseph’s six-month commitment as meal dana coordinators is nearly finished, so there is opportunity for someone to volunteer for that role. It entails scheduling and coordinating the offerings of various groups that provide meals, and ensuring that the Monks receive meal offerings every day.

This is a wonderful opportunity to serve the Monks and the lay community. To learn more about what’s involved, please email dana@pacifichermitage.org.

“What are some practical ways to be the source of your own inner light? One is to really put aside the obsession with self and turn towards selfless giving and selfless generosity…looking for opportunities to give, to serve, to be selfless, to be kind, and give to others quite naturally brightens our mind, and brightens our life, brightens our relationships, and is something that should be attended to, not neglected. Every day, in some little way…looking for opportunities to give and to be kind, is something for me, brings that extra kind of brightness.” – Ajahn Sudanto.

Mindfulness in the Time of Pandemic: Online Retreat from Birken Monastery

May 1-10, 2020: Everyone is Welcome

As we step gently into these shifting times, and find our footing amidst uncertainty, Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery and Pacific Hermitage will premiere our first web-based virtual meditation retreat, centered on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Ajahn Sona, Ajahn Sudanto, and other resident monks will lead meditators around the world towards a deeper understanding and practice of Right Mindfulness in all areas of our lives.

  • The schedule will follow a typical retreat format; morning and evening chanting and meditation, group sittings, and Ajahn Sudanto’s teatime Q&A live-streamed.
  • Daily talks from Ajahn Sona will premiere on YouTube nightly after evening meditations.
  • All are welcome to participate in the virtual retreat. Participants can submit questions for the teatime Dhamma Q&A.
  • The retreat will be live-streamed through Ajahn Sona’s YouTube Channel.
An invitation from Ajahn Sona

Please join us for this very special online retreat. No registration is required, subscribe to Ajahn Sona’s YouTube Channel and the Pacific Hermitage YouTube Channel for notifications of all upcoming retreat events.

NOTE: after subscribing, please click on the bell icon just to the right of the word “Subscribed”, and select “All” to receive all notifications of live streams and new uploads.

For retreat schedule and details visit: https://birken.ca/online-mindfulness-retreat-from-birken/

If you have other questions, please feel free to contact the coordinators of this virtual retreat at bookings@birken.ca and retreat@pacifichermitage.org.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.

March 30 Coronavirus Update

The monks receiving the community’s food offerings delivered by Joseph & Kalyani.

The Monks Are Well and Grateful

For the well-being of all, the monks are not walking alms and the Hermitage is not accepting visitors during the Coronavirus pandemic. The monks are doing well, and are humbled by the generosity and outpouring of support from the community.

Thank you to Kalyani and Joseph

The efforts of our meal dana coordinators, Kalyani and Joseph, are helping support meal offerings that care for the safety and well-being of all. The new meal dana process is working well. If you have any questions about offering a meal, please contact them directly at dana@pacifichermitage.org. There are currently cases of the virus in White Salmon and Klickitat county and Kalyani and Joseph are in a high-risk group, please be aware if you are showing any symptoms.

Ajahn is grateful to Kalyani and Joseph, and to all who offer support to the Hermitage. You can listen to the monks rejoice in the power of this goodness with the daily Anumodana chant here.

Responding to Changing Conditions

Though the new meal dana process is working well, we know that conditions may change, sometimes unexpectedly. To plan for the health and safety of all, the Hermitage is accumulating and storing a two-month supply of food. The vinaya does allow for doing so in the type of situation we are facing. This does not change the current meal dana process in place, it is an additional action and backup plan.
We are not in need of assistance in shopping for the food supply at this time. If you would like to offer financial dana in support, you can offer on the Sanghata website, Sanghata.net/donate. Any unused food remaining after the crisis has passed will be donated to local food banks.

Staying Connected with Our Sangha


Ajahn Sudanto is committed to staying in touch with the lay community, and has begun posting on the new Pacific Hermitage YouTube channel. Ajahn expects to be doing livestream events soon, at times with Q&A, puja, dhamma, and meditations. Please SUBSCRIBE, making sure to click the bell to select ‘All’ notifications. This is a way for us to stay connected and practice together during these times. We are hoping to reach 1,000 subscribers (YouTube provides some very helpful features at this level), so please share this wonderful news with all.

“I find solace and grounding in the core insights of the Buddha on impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self. This time and the challenges it brings will soon come to pass. It’s supremely helpful to reflect on this again and again through your day as a point of mindfulness and reflection. It’s an antidote to the habits of fear and anxiety that are rooted in framing our experience as stable, satisfactory, and self which implies a level of control beyond the true nature of the world”

– Ajahn Sudanto