News & Events

2018 AGM Report

Birken's 2018 Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday, November 4, 2018 at the monastery.  The Minutes of the meeting, Resolutions, along with Financial Statements for our 2017-18 fiscal year, are attached below. Any questions may be addressed to:

Next year's AGM will be held on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 4pm.

Anumodana for your continued support throughout another great year!
-Birken Forest Monastery ('Sitavana')

NOTICE: Birken Forest Monastery's 2018 AGM

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held Sunday, November 4th at 4:00pm at the monastery. 

A copy of the AGM draft agenda can be found below. The minutes of the meeting, along with financial statements will be posted here later in November.

If you plan to attend, please notify us by email no later than October 28.
We look forward to welcoming you to Birken.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.

Registration Opens Today: Winter Retreat & Jhana Retreat

Although fall has just officially arrived, it's time once again to turn our attention to the quiet solitude of winter at Birken. This year there are two silent winter retreat opportunities for experienced meditators who have visited Birken for extended stays in the recent past.

January 2 - February 20, 2019; March 20 - April 10, 2019
Registration Closes March 27, 2019

Spacious time for self-guided meditation periods amidst the silence of snow and tranquil surroundings. All arrivals and departures MUST be on Wednesdays without exception. Guests will be assigned light duties. The minimum stay is one week; the maximum stay is two weeks.

Please note that the following dates are NOT available for Winter Retreat bookings:

  • February 20 - 27, 2019 (Reserved for Upasika Group III Winter Retreat)
  • February 27 - March 20, 2019 (Reserved for monastery closure dates and Jhana Retreat)


March 3 -17, 2019
(Registration Closes November 30, 2018)

Optimal conditions for jhana meditation practice will be maintained during this very special retreat. Individualized jhana instruction from Ajahn Sona will be provided to each meditator, as well as extended meditation periods throughout the day, with a focus on solitary practice in each meditators' room. NOTE: Unlike our Winter Retreat, the Jhana Retreat begins and ends on Sundays.

For more information about both retreats and to register, please see our Book a Visit page under "2019 Winter Retreat".

We look forward to welcoming you to Birken.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.

Pah Bah Potluck Lunch & Ceremony - Sunday, September 16 at Birken

Pah Bahs are Buddhist fund-raising events initiated by members of the lay community to offer support to a monastery. The Thai community of Birken supporters helped to organize this event. Traditionally it's the time of year when requisites (i.e. robes, food, housing, and medicines) are offered to the monastic community. Everyone is welcome to attend this free event. Donations are appreciated, but not required.

Your Generosity Will Help Landscape the Abbot’s New Kuti

Thanks to the generous donations of our supporters, we are in the process now of building the Abbot's new kuti (meditation hut). Donations received from this year’s Pah Bah will aid in landscaping the area around that kuti. Any funds leftover from the project will be used to beautify the monastery common grounds.

You may bring your donations to the event, contribute by mail or online through Interac, PayPal, or Canada Helps. Please reference "Pah Bah" on your donation so we may apply your gift to this project. Click here for more information about how to give.

Schedule for Sunday, September 16

11:30am - Potluck Dana Meal
Please arrive no later than 11:00 am. If you’re bringing a potluck dish, please take your food to the Birken kitchen, ready to serve, in your own serving bowl/plate, with your own serving utensil. The meal will be offered to the monastics at about 11:30 am.
1:30pm - Robe offering ceremony and Dhamma talk by Ajahn Sona

Please email us by September 10 if you intend to come to the Pah Bah.
Let us know how many of you will be coming and if you plan to bring a potluck dish that day as well.

For more information, please email us.

We look forward to welcoming you to Birken.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.

Birken in Kamloops has come to an end...

Like all things in this life, our gatherings in Kamloops are also impermanent. Last year Ajahn Sona made the decision to step away from all travel in his teachings. That decision is now extending to Kamloops as well. Our Birken in Kamloops gathering in June 2018 was the final one.

Ajahn Sona's aspiration to bring the Dhamma to more and more people via his YouTube Channel requires his mindful attention to the details of these Dhamma talks, as well as his presence at Birken for these high quality video recordings to reach a global audience. Coupled with this creative intention is also his desire to spend more time at the monastery.

This opens up a tremendous opportunity for all of you to now visit us at Birken, whether it be for a day visit, to offer a dana meal, or come for a Personal or Scheduled Retreat. Information about all of these ways to be a part of Birken can be found at our Book a Visit page.

Also in the coming weeks we will be combining the Birken in Kamloops mailing list with our main Birken Forest Monastery mailing list. Should you wish to unsubscribe at anytime, just click on the "unsubscribe from this list" link at the bottom of these newsletters.

We look forward to welcoming you soon to Birken Forest Monastery.

May you all be well, happy, and peaceful.

Steward Needed at Arrow River Monastery near Thunder Bay

Ajahn Punnadhammo, abbot of Arrow River Monastery near Thunder Bay, is in need of a new steward.

From Ajahn Punnadhammo:

On April 28 we are going to ordain a young man, James Koskela, as a samenera. While this is a joyous occasion, it does raise a practical issue. James has been serving long term as our steward (driver and cook) and after taking the samenera vows he won’t be able to fulfill those duties (especially shopping). This leaves us in need of a steward. We did have someone lined up for the position, but it didn’t work out. So we are suddenly short handed.

If you know anyone who might be interested, or can spread the word, please point them in this direction. More information about Arrow River and stewardship can be found here – person acting as steward should have a valid driver’s license and be willing to make at least a two month commitment, preferably longer.

The person acting as steward should have a valid driver’s license and be willing to make at least a two month commitment, preferably longer.

An Update on Sister Mon's Permanent Residency - We Need Your Help Before April 20


We need your help to support Sister Mon's Permanent Residence Application - Deadline is April 20th
Since our last update in August 2017, we have been in touch with many supporters and a number of local politicians to garner support for Sister Mon's Permanent Residence (PR) application. We have also retained a new immigration attorney who is advising us to pursue the Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations (HCC) route for Sister Mon's PR application.(Click here for a full update of both recent good news and new challenges.)


Now, we need your grassroots support! Please contact your local political leaders and ask them to write letters of support for Sister Mon’s PR application. Links to MLAs and MPs by region is included at Sister Mon's Petition Update webpage for your convenience. Also included on that webpage is an outline of “talking points” that may be helpful for you in guiding communications with your political leaders. The most important thing is to call. Your action could make an enormous difference to the process! Together we are a strong community.

In Sister Mon's HCC application, we would like to include as many letters as possible from government officials and Birken supporters (that means you!). Please forward copies of your personal letters of support as well as the signed letters you receive from your MLAs and MPs to us at: by no later than April 20, 2018.

Also, please sign this petition if you haven't already, share the link with your social networks, and forward this email  to your family  and friends asking them to also call or write to their local politicians and sign the online petition.

Again, to each and every one of you who has signed this petition, left comments or contacted your local leaders: Anumodana! Thank you very much! Remember that change begins in our hearts and minds.

Registration Opens Today at Birken

Registrations are now open for Day Visits, Dana Meal Offerings, and Personal Retreats starting April 11, as well as our Absolute Beginners' Retreat (July 20-22) and 10-Day Silent Retreat (September 28-October 7), our first two Scheduled Retreats for 2018.

Visit our Book a Visit page for more details and to register.

We look forward to welcoming you to Birken.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.

Stillness Flowing: The Life and Teachings of Ajahn Chah - now available online




Stillness Flowing, the new English biography about the life and teachings of Luang Por Chah, authored by Ajahn Jayasaro, is now available to the public.

This important work details the life and teachings of Luang Por Chah, also known as Ajahn Chah, and has been in the making for over two decades. This biography is based on the 1993 Thai biography of Luang Por Chah entitled Upalamani which was also authored by Ajahn Jayasaro. It includes translations from Upalamani, in particular many of the anecdotes and reminiscences of Luang Por’s disciples, as well as a significant amount of social, cultural, historical and doctrinal information to provide context to an audience that may be unfamiliar with Thai culture and its Buddhist heritage.

Click on the link below to download a PDF version of the book. If you would like to download an ePUB or Mobi version of the book, please visit the Abhayagiri Monastery website at this link.


Spring Work Projects at Birken

Spring Indoor Work Projects at Birken - We need your help!

We need volunteers to assist in painting washrooms, stairwells, and other areas inside the main building, plus a few plant lovers to aid in repotting many of our beautiful indoor plants. All materials will be supplied.

Would you like to help? If you can provide your skills sometime between March 28-April 8, please email us soon. You are welcome to come for just a day, or stay overnight, depending upon space availability.

Please notify us at least one week in advance of your planned visit so we may prepare enough delicious food for all of you.

Anumodana! We rejoice in your generosity and great merit.