News & Events

Registration Opens Today: 10-Day Metta Retreat & One Month Jhana Retreat

This year introduces two new retreats for experienced meditation practitioners:

10-Day Metta Retreat: December 22, 2017 - January 1, 2018 
This is a retreat for ‘Experienced Meditators’ – those who have had a regular meditation practice for some years and have previously attended a 10-day residential retreat. Priority will be given to those who have visited Birken for a Personal Retreat or Scheduled Retreat of at least 10 days in the recent past. The retreat includes some instruction, as well as extended meditation periods (2 to 3 hours), allowing meditators to alternate sitting and walking meditation at their discretion. For more information and to register, see our Book a Visit page under "Scheduled Retreats".

One Month Jhana Retreat: January 10 - February 7, 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.  For more information and to register, see our Book a Visit page under "2018 Silent Winter Retreat".

Registration for both retreats will remain open from July 1-September 30, 2017. Ajahn Sona will review all applications and select those who can best benefit from these periods of quiet practice. Accepted candidates will be notified by email in early October and asked to reconfirm their commitment to attend the retreat. All others will be notified that they have been placed on a waitlist.

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

Resident Kitchen Steward Opening

We are pleased to announce that we have a new opening for one Kitchen Steward at Birken Forest Monastery starting in early August. 

In non-Buddhist countries, remote monasteries like Birken depend on the voluntary help of long-term Resident Stewards.  Stewards live at the monastery full-time and volunteer their services free of charge.  This is an excellent opportunity for practitioners who are looking for a simple life devoted to the Buddha’s teachings, meditation and meritorious acts of service to the Sangha, in the company of like-minded individuals who are also committed to these ideals.


KITCHEN STEWARD:  Kitchen Stewards are responsible for preparing meals for the resident community (set menus/recipes are provided), managing kitchen facilities and supplies, attending to various household chores, driving to Kamloops for weekly shopping / errands, etc. Cooking experience would be an asset, although it is not required; on-the-job training is provided. All candidates must hold a valid Class 5 Canadian driver's license (or its equivalent) before arriving. Meal preparation duties are shared with other kitchen stewards on a rotational basis. Resident stewards are typically expected to work approximately 3-4 hours per day.

Suitable Candidates Will Possess:
-  Interest in deepening their practice of the Buddha's teachings in a supportive environment
-  Commitment to abide by the Eight Precepts while at the monastery
-  Stable personality
-  Good physical and mental health
-  Willingness to learn and adapt; ability to live and cooperate harmoniously in community
-  Class 5 Canadian driver’s license or its equivalent in good standing

How to Apply:  If you are interested in serving as a Kitchen Steward at Birken Forest Monastery, please fill out our Resident Steward Application. Please send a follow up email to to confirm we have received your application and include your current resume. We are ideally looking to fill this position in early August.  All candidates should be able to commit to serve for a minimum period of three months.  Long term stays are subject to a probationary period and require periodic approvals by the Abbot as well as the other members of the resident community. 

If you have not been to Birken before, you will be invited for a two-week trial visit at the beginning of your steward service to assess mutual suitability.  We also ask that all candidates read through our GUEST GUIDE to get a sense of daily community life here at the monastery, before applying.  Please don't hesitate to email us if you have any questions!

Dhamma Talks from this year's Pacific Hermitage Retreat at Birken


Every year the monastics and lay supporters of Pacific Hermitage based in White Salmon, WA, visit Birken Forest Monastery for a silent retreat. Earlier this month they joined us for 14 days (May 3-17), each evening listening to Dhamma talks by Ajahn Sona with a focus this year on metta, loving kindness.

Below is a link to those Dhamma talks as well as one to talks from the 2016 retreat.





Dhamma Talks from 2016 Pacific Hermitage Retreat at Birken - by Ajahn Sona


Birken Forest Monastery Reopens April 14

Registrations are now open for Day Visits, Dana Meal Offerings, and Personal Retreats starting April 14, as well as most of our scheduled retreats for 2017.

Please see our Book a Visit page for details and to register. Our Guest Guidelines have been revised so please be sure to read them prior to requesting a visit.

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

Closed for Silent Winter Retreat


Birken is now closed for our Silent Winter Retreat, the annual period from January-March when monastery duties wind down and a more tranquil atmosphere is fostered. It's a time when the monastics, residents, and a few guests turn our attention towards personal practice amidst a landscape of snow and all encompassing silence.