News & Events

FINAL YEAR - Ajahn Sona's Offsite Teaching Events

Ajahn Sona

Over the years Ajahn Sona has led public talks and retreats outside of the monastery. 2016 marks the final year Ajahn Sona will offer such offsite retreats. Starting in 2017, with the exception of one prior commitment and his monthly visits to Kamloops, Ajahn Sona will be shifting his teaching schedule exclusively to Birken. He requests that no further invitations be extended to him either by email or in person. Thank you for your commitment to the Dhamma and for respecting Ajahn Sona's wishes.

This change of direction will open the door to many new opportunities for you to deepen your relationship with Birken. Besides continuing to share his teachings with individuals and groups who visit the monastery, Ajahn Sona will be focusing on new media outlets to share the Dhamma, including videos at his YouTube channel, audio podcasts and Ebooks of Birken publications, both to be launched later this year, as well as maintaining our extensive collection of audio Dhamma talks.

To learn more about Ajahn Sona's 2016 Offsite Events visit our Offsite Events page. To find out more about group bookings at Birken, or if you have any further questions, please email us at

The Dharma Bum | New Documentary Film about the First Western Buddhist Monk

 Dear Friends of Birken,

We wish to inform you of an exciting new documentary in the works. The Director of this documentary is now in the final phases of a crowdfunding campaign to bring this documentary into being.  If you feel inclined to support this important project, please visit:  The Dharma Bum crowdfunding page:
"The Dharma Bum" is a feature documentary film directed by Ian Lawton that unearths the adventure story of Laurence Carroll, a free-thinking atheist alcoholic Irishman born in Dublin in the late 1800s, who went on to become U Dhammaloka - the world's first Western Buddhist monk.  Legend has it that in the dawn of the 20th century, Laurence ordained as a Buddhist monk in a remote forest monastery in Burma, aka Myanmar, where he trained in ancient Buddhist practices, while maintaining an activism that denounced dogma, orthodoxy, the hypocrisies of the Church and his own Catholic upbringing.  Standing up to the British Colonialists who were spreading over Southeast Asia at the time, Dhammaloka was under constant police surveillance until his conviction for sedition. After traveling the world under multiple aliases, faking his own death, being an outspoken activist, spending 13 years as a monk, Dhammaloka mysteriously disappeared, without a trace.  Over the following century knowledge of his life was lost from history. Only recently has his groundbreaking story been unearthed.  When The Dharma Bum is released, it will provide audiences worldwide with the missing link in the origin story of Western Buddhism.  For more details, please see the Dharma Bum website (which features a brand new animated trailer):


2015 Birken AGM Minutes & Financials

Birken's 2015 Annual General Meeting was held on September 6, 2015, at the monastery.  The Minutes of the meeting, along with financial statements for our 2014-15 fiscal year, are attached below.   Any questions may be addressed to:

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

Notice: Birken's 2015 AGM to be held on Sept. 6, 2015

Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery's 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on Sunday, Sept. 6th at 4:00pm at the monastery

A draft agenda for this year's AGM is attached below.  The minutes of the meeting, along with financial statements will be posted on this page at a later date.

Please notify us by email at least one week prior if you plan to attend: 

Thank you!

Dhamma Talks from Pacific Hermitage Retreats at Birken

Every year, the monastics and lay supporters of Pacific Hermitage based in White Salmon, WA, visit Birken Forest Monastery for a ten-day retreat.  Below you will find links to Dhamma talks from this year's retreat (May 5 - 14, 2015) as well as links to talks from the 2014 and 2012 retreats. 





Dhamma Talks from 2014 Pacific Hermitage Retreat at Birken - by Ajahn Sona

Dhamma Talks from 2012 Pacific Hermitage Retreat at Birken - by Ajahn Sona & Ajahn Sudanto


May 5 - 14: Birken closed for 10-Day Silent Retreat with Pacific Hermitage Sangha

Please note that the monastery will be closed from May 5 - 14, inclusive, for our annual 10-Day Silent Retreat with our friends from the Pacific Hermitage Sangha.  During this time, we will not be accepting Day Visitors or Personal Retreatants.  Opportunities to visit will resume on May 15th. 


2015 Calendar of Events

Happy 2015 from Birken!  Bookings for Personal Retreats, Day Visits & Dana Meal Offerings for the period of April - December 2015 are now open.  Please see the VISITS page on this site for more information on how to plan a visit to the monastery, noting the following changes in effect this year:

***Starting in April 2015, all guests must plan to arrive and depart on Wednesdays, Fridays or Sundays (only), rather than any day of the week

***Starting in April 2015, Ajahn Sona will give private interviews and teatime talks on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays (only)

This year, Ajahn Sona will be leading two Scheduled Retreats at the monastery:
-July 17 - 19, 2015:  Absolute Beginners Weekend Retreat (registration open until May 31st)
-Sept 18 - 27, 2015:  Ten Day Silent Retreat (registration open until June 30th)
Please see the VISITS page on this site for information on how to register for one of these retreats.

Ajahn Sona will also be leading a few Offsite Teaching Events in Kamloops, Surrey, Victoria, Calgary & Canmore.  Please see the OFFSITE EVENTS page on this site for more information.

Birken is introducing a new Upāsikā Program this year - a structured program of spiritual training for dedicated lay practitioners.  For more information, please see the Upāsikā Program page on this site.  To register or find out more about this program, please email: 

To see an overview of events for the coming year, please see the EVENT CALENDAR page on this site.

We look forward to welcoming you to the monastery sometime soon! 

Birken CLOSED for Winter Retreat (Jan. 7 - Apr. 1, 2015)

January - March is the annual period of Winter Retreat for the monastics and resident community of Birken Forest Monastery.  Registration has now CLOSED for Winter Retreat and the Birken Office is now closed.  Email will be checked infrequently for urgent messages only.  Opportunities to visit the monastery will resume in April 2015. Please see the 'Visits' page for more info:

The Resident Community at Birken wishes you a peaceful winter and looks forward to reconnecting with you in the Spring!     

2014 Birken AGM Minutes & Financials

Birken's 2014 Annual General Meeting was held on September 6, 2014, at the monastery.  The Minutes of the meeting, along with financial statements for our 2013-14 fiscal year, are attached below.   Any questions may be addressed to:

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