News & Events

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')

Notice: Birken's 2014 AGM to be held on Sept. 6, 2014

Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery's 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on Sat. 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!

Birken Forest Monastery ('Sitavana') |


NWDA Summer 2014 Edition: "Ajahn Sona and the Company of Solitude - Reflections from a Year of Solitary Retreat"

The Northwest Dharma Association Newsletter has just released its Summer 2014 issue which contains a follow-up, post-retreat article by Ajahn Sona entitled: "Ajahn Sona and the Company of Solitude - Reflections from a Year of Solitary Retreat".  

NWDA also published a pre-retreat interview with Ajahn Sona about his year-long solitary retreat in its Winter 2012 Issue entitled:  "A Year of Living Peacefully:  Ajahn Sona's Upcoming Solitary Retreat".

Sun., June 22: Open House & Summer Work Bee at Birken!

On Sunday, June 22, 2014, Birken will be hosting an Open House and Summer Work Bee at the monastery from 9:00am - 4:00pm.  The day will include a period of outdoor work (gardening and light landscaping projects) in the morning, a pot-luck lunch, and a teatime Dhamma talk and Q&A period with Ajahn Sona in the afternoon.  There will also be some free time for silent meditation or exploring the monastery and its grounds.  

All are welcome to attend - newcomers and oldtimers alike!  This is an excellent opportunity for newcomers to demystify monastery life and to get to know Birken's resident community and other local practitioners.  It is also a opportunity for all friends of Birken to engage in meritorious acts of generosity by lending a hand to spruce up the monastery grounds and making food offerings to the resident monastics.  Information is listed below - please plan to arrive by 9:00am.  No registration is required.  We hope to see you on June 22nd!  


When:  Sunday, June 22nd, 9am-4pm
Where:  Birken Forest Monastery (see 'Getting Here' for directions).  
Rideshares:  Participants may wish to make use of our 'Rideshare Board' to coordinate rideshares.  
What to Bring:  Prepared food dishes for pot-luck lunch; Hats; Work Gloves; Sunscreen & Bug Repellent
9:00am - 11:30am:  Group Outdoor Work Period
11:30am - 12:30pm:  Potluck Lunch Offering
(Please bring a dish or two to share with the monastics and other visitors)
12:30pm - 2:00pm:  Lunch Cleanup & Free Time 
2:00pm - 4:00pm:  Teatime Dhamma Talk and Q&A Session with Ajahn Sona

(Please note:  all day visitors are welcome to stay for the evening meditation at 7:00pm as well)

Any questions:  please email us at  

Ajahn Sudanto on solitary retreat at Birken until April 2015

Birken is pleased to announce that we have a new Silent-Sage-in-Residence!  Ajahn Sudanto, the Abbot of our brother monastery, Pacific Hermitage, has just joined us for a ten-month period of solitary retreat in silence and seclusion here at Birken.  If all goes well, he will be tucked away in solitude in his kuti until April 2015.  We ask that all visitors to Birken take special care to respect Ajahn Sudanto's seclusion during his stay.  If you happen to see him around the monastery or grounds, please kindly avoid all contact as a gesture of respect.  

Birken Closed for Private Ten-Day Retreat with Pacific Hermitage Sangha (May 11 - 20, 2014)

Please note that the monastery will be closed from May 11 - 20, 2014, while we are hosting a ten-day retreat for the Pacific Hermitage Sangha and community.  There will be no visits permitted during this time.  The Birken Office will re-open on May 21st.  Thank you!

Commemorating the End of Ajahn Sona's Year-Long Solitary Retreat: April 5th-6th Events at Birken

On April 5th, the day that marks his 60th birthday, Ajahn Sona will formally end his year-long solitary retreat and the monastery will return to its regular schedule.  All friends and supporters are invited to visit Birken during the weekend of April 5 - 6 to pay respects to Ajahn Sona and join in the serene celebrations.  Overnight stays will be permitted as of April 1st; please note that space will be limited and priority for overnight bookings will be given to long-term friends and supporters during the first week of April.  Everyone (including newcomers) is welcome to visit for the day events taking place on April 5 - 6.  

We are also pleased to announce that bookings are now open for the early Spring period.  As the monastery is still currently in Winter Retreat mode, we will only be taking bookings for the period of April 1 - May 9 at the moment.  The full calendar for 2014 (including Scheduled Retreats at Birken and in other cities) will be posted in April, at which time bookings will open for the rest of May through December.

Please visit our VISITS page for more information on events taking place over the April 5-6 weekend and bookings guidelines for the period of April 1 - May 9, 2014.  

We look forward to welcoming our beloved teacher, Ajahn Sona, back from his year of quiet contemplation and to welcoming all of you to Birken for a visit sometime soon!