Registration for Silent Winter Retreat is now open

January-March is the annual period of monastic-centred Silent Winter Retreat for the resident community of Birken. Monastery duties are wound down and a more tranquil atmosphere is fostered, as the monastics and residents turn their attention towards personal practice. During this time, Birken will accept a limited number of bookings from experienced meditators who have visited Birken for extended stays in the recent past and who are willing to lend a helping hand towards the daily running of the monastery. All guests will be assigned light chores for the duration of their stay. Priority will be given to those who have attended previous winter retreats at Birken or who have been visiting Birken regularly over the last two years.

All arrivals and departures, whether you are driving, flying or taking the bus, MUST be on Wednesdays without exception. The minimum stay is one week; the maximum stay is two weeks.  Please read our lastest Bookings Guidelines and the Available Dates below when planning your retreat dates. (PLEASE NOTE: January dates are reserved for members of Birken's Upasika Program; March 8-15 is reserved for a private group retreat.) Longer stays may be possible with special permission from the Abbot. Ajahn Sona will review all Silent Winter Retreat applications and select those who can best benefit from this period of quiet practice.

All Silent Winter Retreat guests will be assigned to private rooms in the main guest house as kutis (cabins) will NOT be available during this time. All bookings must be finalized before January 1st as the Birken Office will be closed during winter retreat.

  • Guest Guidelines:  Prior to registering for Winter Retreat, please make sure you have read the latest version of our Guest Guide, outlining our daily schedule, monastery etiquette and other guidelines applicable to your stay: 
  • Contact with "the world":  In order to safeguard the retreat environment at Birken, guests do not have internet or cell phone access at the monastery at any time - please finalize your worldly affairs and travel arrangements before arriving.  It is expected that you will reside on the monastery property throughout your stay and not leave the premises to make phone calls or run errands, etc.  You may provide the monastery's email address to loved ones back home, for emergencies only:
  • Cancellations:  Last-minute cancellations are burdensome to the monastery and prevent other guests from the precious opportunity to visit.  Please notify us as soon as possible if you need to cancel your visit.  Those who cancel at the last minute or who leave the monastery prior to their scheduled departure date, will be subject to restrictions on future visits.


How to Register for Silent Winter Retreat:  

Registrations for Silent Winter Retreat 2017 are now open; registration closes January 1, 2017. Please submit an online SILENT WINTER RETREAT REGISTRATION FORM. If your form was submitted correctly, you should immediately receive a copy of your completed form by email.  Ajahn Sona will begin reviewing all applications in October and you will then be notified soon thereafter concerning the status of your registration request.


  • February 1-8
  • February 8-15
  • February 15-22
  • February 22-March 1
  • March 1-8
  • March 15-22
  • March 22-29 


(PLEASE NOTE: January dates are reserved for members of Birken's Upasika Program; March 8-15 is reserved for a private group retreat.)