Book a Visit

 

Booking a Visit to Birken Forest Monastery ('Sitavana')

We welcome you for a visit to our peaceful forest monastery.  There are several ways to visit, either for the day or for a residential retreat.  Please click on the links below for information on how to book a visit.  In all cases, we kindly request that you notify us well in advance of your visit and wait for a formal confirmation from the Birken Office before visiting.  If you have any questions about the registration process, please email us at meditate@birken.ca. 

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Day Visits & Dana Meal Offerings

Personal Retreats

Scheduled Retreats

Silent Winter Retreat

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Day Visits & Dana Meal Offerings

Birken welcomes Day Visitors to the monastery throughout most of the year, except during scheduled closures, formal retreats and Silent Winter Retreat. Occasionally during the week guests have the opportunity to participate in Teatime Dhamma Talks with the Abbot and other members of the community at 5:00pm. You are welcome to arrive earlier in the day and join us for lunch, as well as to explore the monastery building and grounds on your own, but please keep to the main road and do not wander down the small paths to the cabins ('kutis'), which are private for monks and residents. If you do plan to come for lunch, please let us know well in advance so we may include you in our meal preparations.

Within the main building, the meditation sala on the ground floor is available for sitting meditation at any time of the day. You are also welcome to peruse our library or use the walking meditation hall, both located in the basement. Day Visitors may also participate in our daily evening group meditation from 7:00 - 7:50 pm. If it is your first time visiting the monastery, we recommend that you read through our Guest Guidelines to get a sense of proper monastery etiquette and our daily schedule. Please see below for details on how to book a Day Visit.

It is also possible to come for a Day Visit to offer a Dana Meal - a time-honoured, meritorious act of generosity going back to the time of the Buddha. If you wish to offer a lunchtime meal to the monastics, resident community and visiting guests, we rejoice in your generosity and will gladly schedule a date for your meal offering. Please make sure to email us at least three days in advance and we will give you an estimated meal count for your Dana Meal date. The meal is offered at 11:00 a.m. (11:30 a.m. during Daylight Saving Time) so please plan to arrive early for your meal time preparations. Also please consider this as the main meal of the day as no food is served at Birken after lunch.  Don't worry if you've never done it before - a kitchen steward will be on site to assist you as needed. For more information, please see our Offerings webpage.

How to Book a Day Visit / Dana Meal:  

If you plan to come for a Day Visit and/or Dana Meal Offering, you do not need to submit an online registration form.  We do, however, request that you consult the Birken 2017 Calendar and email us at least three days in advance (meditate@birken.ca) with your full name, the date and time of your visit, and the names of any others who will be joining you. We will then notify you if your planned visit conflicts with any scheduled closures or events here at the monastery. If you plan to arrive in the morning for a Day Visit, please make sure to let us know so we can advise the kitchen that you'll be here for the midday meal. For information on how to get to Birken, please see our Getting Here webpage.
 

 


Personal Retreats

Guests may visit the monastery for Personal Retreats throughout most of the year, except during scheduled closures, formal retreats and silent winter retreat. These are overnight stays of varying duration for self-guided meditators who wish to partake in the monastery's daily schedule of activities. In contrast to formal retreats, there is no formal meditation instruction given during Personal Retreats and the schedule is more open for individual practitioners to determine a practice schedule that best suits themselves and the community's needs. Guests have opportunities to join Ajahn Sona for teatime Dhamma talks occasionally during the week.

***Before booking a Personal Retreat, please make sure to review the following booking guidelines:

  • *Arrival & Departure Days*: All Personal Retreatants are asked to arrive and depart on Wednesdays, Fridays or Sundays, instead of any day of the week. This policy is designed to simplify the management of bookings and minimize the comings and goings at the monastery, thereby fostering a quieter, more settled atmosphere for all.  
     
  • Birken 2017 Calendar:  Please consult Birken's 2017 Event Calendar to determine a suitable period of time for your Personal Retreat. First-time visitors should not plan to come for a visit when Ajahn Sona is away at an Offsite Event. You will also notice that certain periods have been reserved for group visits by local sitting groups. Please note that we no longer maintain a Vacancies Calendar; you may submit a registration form for your desired dates and we will notify you if space is no longer available on those dates.
     
  • Length of Stay: Two night minimum. If you have no retreat experience and this is your first visit to a monastery, you may apply to stay for a maximum of five days. If you have not visited Birken in the recent past, you may apply to stay up to 10 days (or one week if you need Wednesday pick-ups and drop-offs in Kamloops). If you are a frequent visitor and have stayed for at least 10 days in the past, you may apply to stay up to two weeks. Longer stays require special permission from the Abbot. All guests are limited to 30 days of total retreat time at Birken, per calendar year.  
     
  • Transportation:  Please plan to arrive at Birken sometime between 1:00–4:00pm (by 2:30pm if requesting a pick-up in Kamloops). Participants leaving by bus/plane will depart the monastery after breakfast (about 8:30am). Prior to registration, you must determine how you plan to arrive and depart and include this information on your registration form (please wait to finalize your transportation arrangements until the Birken Office has confirmed your booking). Details of different ways to get to Birken can be found at our Getting Here webpage.
     
  • Guest Guidelines:  Prior to registering for a Personal Retreat, please make sure you have read the latest version of our Guest Guidelines 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: meditate@birken.ca
     
  • Helping Out:  It is customary for all guests to help out with light chores around the monastery throughout their stay. Please sign up for one or more on the 'Yogi Duties' board in the kitchen upon arrival. All guests are asked to assist with breakfast and lunch clean-up.
     
  • 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 leave the monastery prior to their scheduled departure date, will be subject to restrictions on future visits.  
     

How to Book a Personal Retreat:  

REGISTRATION WILL OPEN APRIL 1, 2017.

Once you have reviewed all the booking guidelines listed above, please submit an online PERSONAL RETREAT REGISTRATION FORM at least two weeks in advance of your desired visit dates, and then wait for a formal booking confirmation from the Birken Office.  If your form was submitted correctly, you should immediately receive a copy of your completed form by email. Please allow up to one week for a response to your application. If you have not heard back from the Birken Office within one week of submitting your registration form, please email us at meditate@birken.ca to make sure that we received your form.

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Scheduled Retreats

At certain times of the year, Ajahn Sona leads Scheduled Retreats at the monastery for both Absolute Beginners and Experienced Meditators.  These are formal, guided retreats where participants all arrive and depart on the same day and take part in a highly structured group schedule of mental cultivation. 

In 2017, Birken will host four Scheduled Retreats:

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  • Pacific Hermitage 14-Day Silent Retreat at Birken
    May 3 - 17, 2017

About this Retreat:  Every year, Birken hosts a Silent Retreat for a group of monks and lay retreatants from the Pacific Hermitage, our brother monastery in White Salmon, WA.  This is a private retreat, coordinated by the Pacific Hermitage, and is not open for general registration.

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  • Absolute Beginners Retreat
    July 14 - 16, 2017
    (Registration opens April 1, 2017; closes May 31, 2017) - REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

About this Retreat:  This is a retreat for Absolute Beginners - people who have never meditated, visited a monastery, or been on a meditation retreat. You don’t need to know anything about Buddhism or meditation. The retreat provides a gentle introduction to the art of mental cultivation, with lots of instruction and guidance, short meditation periods (10 to 20 minutes), lots of free time, and opportunities to talk. We start with the absolute basics: how to sit for meditation, experimenting with various postures and aids (cushion, kneeling stool, chair). Key aspects of the Buddha's teachings are presented, highlighting the benefits and importance of meditation to one's own well-being and liberation. There is an option for a light evening snack (contrary to the normal practice at the monastery, where only two meals are eaten: breakfast at 7:00am and the main meal at 11:30am.

The retreat starts at 5:00pm on Friday, July 14, with a teatime orientation from the Abbot, Ajahn Sona, and a chance to ask questions.

***Before registering for the Absolute Beginners Retreat, please make sure to review the following booking guidelines:

  • Transportation:  Please plan to arrive at Birken sometime between 1:00–4:00pm on Friday, July 14 (by 2:30pm if requesting a pick-up in Kamloops). The retreat ends at noon on Sunday, July 16, after the main meal.​ Prior to registration, you must determine how you plan to arrive and depart and include this information on your registration form (please wait to finalize your transportation arrangements until the Birken Office has confirmed your booking). Details of different ways to get to Birken can be found at our Getting Here webpage.
     
  • Guest Guidelines:  Prior to registration, please make sure you have read the latest version of our Guest Guidelines 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: meditate@birken.ca
     
  • Helping Out:  It is customary for all guests to help out with light chores around the monastery throughout their stay. Please sign up for one or more on the 'Yogi Duties' board in the kitchen upon arrival. All guests are asked to assist with breakfast and lunch clean-up.
     
  • 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 leave the monastery prior to their scheduled departure date will be subject to restrictions on future visits.  

 

How to Register for the Absolute Beginners Retreat
 

REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.

Once you have reviewed all the booking guidelines listed above, please submit an online ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS' RETREAT REGISTRATION FORM by no later than May 31, 2017, and then wait for a formal booking confirmation from the Birken Office.  If your form was submitted correctly, you should immediately receive a copy of your completed form by email. Accepted candidates will be notified by email in early June. All others will be notified that they have been placed on a waitlist.

Interested candidates who are unable to attend the retreat this year are invited to come another time for a Personal Retreat. If you have not heard back from the Birken Office by mid-June, please email us at meditate@birken.ca to make sure that we received your form.

  • Click here for Online Absolute Beginners' Retreat Registration Form​​

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  • 10-Day Silent Retreat for Experienced Meditators
    September 22 - October 1, 2017 (Registration opens
    April 1, 2017; closes June 30, 2017) - REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

About this Retreat:  This is a retreat for ‘Experienced Meditators’ – lay people 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. The retreat is conducted in silence: there is no conversation between participants during the duration of the retreat. Reading and listening to audio talks are also strongly discouraged. There will be opportunities to join Ajahn Sona for teatime Dhamma talks throughout the retreat. The retreat starts at 5:00pm on Friday, September 22, with a teatime orientation led by the Abbot, Ajahn Sona, and a chance to ask questions.

***Before registering for the 10-Day Silent Retreat, please make sure to review the following booking guidelines:

  • Transportation:  Please plan to arrive at Birken sometime between 1:00–4:00pm on Friday, September 22 (by 2:30pm if requesting a pick-up in Kamloops). The retreat ends after breakfast on Sunday, October 1. Participants leaving by bus/plane will depart the monastery after breakfast (about 8:30am). Others are welcome to stay until the afternoon, if so desired. Prior to registration, you must determine how you plan to arrive and depart and include this information on your registration form (please wait to finalize your transportation arrangements until the Birken Office has confirmed your booking). Details of different ways to get to Birken can be found at our Getting Here webpage.
     
  • Guest Guidelines:  Prior to registration, please make sure you have read the latest version of our Guest Guidelines 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: meditate@birken.ca
     
  • Helping Out:  It is customary for all guests to help out with light chores around the monastery throughout their stay. Yogi Duties are assigned for this retreat. All guests are asked to assist with breakfast and lunch clean-up.
     
  • 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 leave the monastery prior to the end of the retreat will be subject to restrictions on future visits.  

 

How to Register for 10-Day Silent Retreat:  
 

REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.

Once you have reviewed all the booking guidelines listed above, please submit an online 10-DAY SILENT RETREAT REGISTRATION FORM by no later than June 30, 2017, and then wait for a formal booking confirmation from the Birken Office.  If your form was submitted correctly, you should immediately receive a copy of your completed form by email. Ajahn Sona will review all 10-Day Silent Retreat applications and select those who can best benefit from this period of quiet practice. Accepted candidates will be notified by email in July and asked to reconfirm their commitment to attend the retreat. All others will be notified that they have been placed on a waitlist. 

Interested candidates who are unable to attend the retreat this year are invited to come another time for a Personal Retreat and can check back next year for more scheduled retreat opportunities. Please note that prior 10-day retreat experience is a prerequisite and 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. If you have not heard back from the Birken Office by late-July, please email us at meditate@birken.ca to make sure that we received your form.

  • Click here for Online 10-Day Silent Retreat Registration Form

 

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  • NEW THIS YEAR: 10-Day Metta Retreat for Experienced Meditators
    December 22, 2017 - January 1, 2018 (Monday) (Registration opens
    July 1, 2017; closes September 30, 2017) - REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

About this Retreat:  This is a retreat for ‘Experienced Meditators’ – lay people 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. The retreat is conducted in silence: there is no conversation between participants during the duration of the retreat. Reading and listening to audio talks are also strongly discouraged. There will be opportunities to join Ajahn Sona for teatime Dhamma talks throughout the retreat. The retreat starts at 5:00pm on Friday, December 22, with a teatime orientation led by the Abbot, Ajahn Sona, and a chance to ask questions.

***Before registering for the 10-Day Metta Retreat, please make sure to review the following booking guidelines:

  • Transportation:  Please plan to arrive at Birken sometime between 1:00–4:00pm on Friday, December 22 (by 2:30pm if requesting a pick-up in Kamloops). The retreat ends after breakfast on Monday, January 1, (PLEASE NOTE: this is an exception to our regular departure days.) Participants leaving by bus/plane will depart the monastery after breakfast that day (about 8:30am). Others are welcome to stay until the afternoon, if so desired. Prior to registration, you must determine how you plan to arrive and depart and include this information on your registration form (please wait to finalize your transportation arrangements until the Birken Office has confirmed your booking). Details of different ways to get to Birken can be found at our Getting Here webpage.
     
  • Guest Guidelines:  Prior to registration, please make sure you have read the latest version of our Guest Guidelines 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: meditate@birken.ca
     
  • Helping Out:  It is customary for all guests to help out with light chores around the monastery throughout their stay. Yogi Duties are assigned for this retreat. All guests are asked to assist with breakfast and lunch clean-up.
     
  • 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 leave the monastery prior to their scheduled departure date will be subject to restrictions on future visits.  

 

How to Register for 10-Day Metta Retreat:  

REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.

Once you have reviewed all the booking guidelines listed above, please submit an online 10-DAY METTA RETREAT REGISTRATION FORM by no later than September 30, 2017, and then wait for a formal booking confirmation from the Birken Office. If your form was submitted correctly, you should immediately receive a copy of your completed form by email. Ajahn Sona will review all 10-Day Metta Retreat applications and select those who can best benefit from this period of quiet practice. Accepted candidates will be notified by email in October and asked to reconfirm their commitment to attend the retreat. All others will be notified that they have been placed on a waitlist. 

Interested candidates who are unable to attend the retreat this year are invited to come another time for a Personal Retreat and can check back next year for more scheduled retreat opportunities. Please note that prior 10-day retreat experience is a prerequisite and 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. If you have not heard back from the Birken Office by late-October, please email us at meditate@birken.ca to make sure that we received your form.

  • Click here for Online 10-Day Metta Retreat Registration Form​​

 

2018 Winter Retreat

January-March is the annual period of monastic-centred retreat for the resident community of Birken. In 2018 Winter Retreat will be composed of two different retreat structures: the first will be a One Month Jhana Retreat, the second will be our traditional Winter Retreat.

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  • NEW THIS YEAR: One Month Jhana Retreat for Experienced Meditators
    January 10 - February 7, 2018 (Registration opens
    July 1, 2017; closes September 30, 2017) - REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

About this Retreat:  This is a retreat for ‘Experienced Meditators’ – lay people 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.

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.

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING PARAMETERS:

  • This retreat will conducted in absolute silence; there will be no conversation permitted between participants or residents during the duration of the retreat. 
  • All participants must agree to stay for the entire retreat (January 10 - February 7, 2018.) There will be no exceptions for late arrivals or early departures.
  • No reading will be allowed.
  • No journal writing or other creative projects.
  • No electronic devices of any sort.
  • No listening to Dhamma talks or other media.
  • All meditators will be assigned private rooms in the main guest house; kutis (cabins) will NOT be available during this time.
  • To support this intensive practice participants will have no yogi duties. All chores around the monastery will be carried by the resident steward community.

No further details about this retreat will be provided. Spaces are limited.

***Before registering for the One Month Jhana Retreat, please make sure to review the following booking guidelines:

  • Transportation:  Please plan to arrive at Birken sometime between 1:00–4:00pm on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 (by 2:30pm if requesting a pick-up in Kamloops). The retreat ends after breakfast on Wednesday, February 7, 2018. Participants leaving by bus/plane will depart the monastery about 8:30am. Prior to registration, you must determine how you plan to arrive and depart and include this information on your registration form (please wait to finalize your transportation arrangements until the Birken Office has confirmed your booking). Details of different ways to get to Birken can be found at our Getting Here webpage.
     
  • Guest Guidelines:  Prior to registration, please make sure you have read the latest version of our Guest Guidelines 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: meditate@birken.ca
     
  • Cancellations:  Last-minute cancellations are burdensome to the monastery and prevent other guests from the precious opportunity to visit. PLEASE NOTE: NO CANCELLATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER DECEMBER 1 FOR THIS RETREAT. Those who cancel after this date or leave the monastery prior to the end of the retreat will be subject to restrictions on future visits.  

 

How to Register for One Month Jhana Retreat:  

REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.

Once you have reviewed all the booking guidelines listed above, please submit an online ONE MONTH JHANA RETREAT REGISTRATION FORM by no later than September 30, 2017, and then wait for a formal booking confirmation from the Birken Office.  If your form was submitted correctly, you should immediately receive a copy of your completed form by email. Ajahn Sona will review all One Month Jhana Retreat applications and select those who can best benefit from this period of intensive 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. 

Interested candidates who are unable to attend the retreat this year are invited to come another time for a Personal Retreat and can check back next year for more scheduled retreat opportunities. Please note that prior 10-day retreat experience is a prerequisite and 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. If you have not heard back from the Birken Office by mid-October, please email us at meditate@birken.ca to make sure that we received your form.

  • Click here for Online One Month Jhana Retreat Registration Form​​

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  • Winter Retreat for Experienced Meditators
    February 7 - March 28, 2018 (Registration opens
    October 1, 2017; closes December 31, 2017)

During this time, Birken will accept a limited number of bookings from experienced lay 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.  Longer stays may be possible with special permission from the Abbot. 

All 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 December 31, 2017 as the Birken Office will be closed during Winter Retreat.

***Before registering for the Winter Retreat, please make sure to review the following booking guidelines:

  • Transportation:  Please plan to arrive at Birken sometime between 1:00–4:00pm (by 2:30pm if requesting a pick-up in Kamloops). Participants leaving by bus/plane will depart the monastery after breakfast (about 8:30am). Prior to registration, you must determine how you plan to arrive and depart and include this information on your registration form (please wait to finalize your transportation arrangements until the Birken Office has confirmed your booking). Details of different ways to get to Birken can be found at our Getting Here webpage.
     
  • Guest Guidelines:  Prior to registration, please make sure you have read the latest version of our Guest Guidelines 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: meditate@birken.ca
     
  • Helping Out:  It is customary for all guests to help out with light chores around the monastery throughout their stay. Yogi Duties are assigned for this retreat. All guests are asked to assist with breakfast and lunch clean-up.
     
  • 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 leave the monastery prior to their scheduled departure date, will be subject to restrictions on future visits.  

 

How to Register for Winter Retreat:  

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN.

Once you have reviewed all the booking guidelines listed above, please submit an online WINTER RETREAT REGISTRATION FORM by no later than December 31, 2017, and then wait for a formal booking confirmation from the Birken Office. If your form was submitted correctly, you should immediately receive a copy of your completed form by email. Ajahn Sona will review all Silent Winter Retreat applications and select those who can best benefit from this period of quiet practice. Accepted candidates will be notified by email starting in mid-October. All others will be notified that they have been placed on a waitlist. PLEASE NOTE: the monastery and office will be closed all of November. If you submit an application during this time we will respond to your request in December.

Interested candidates who are unable to attend the retreat this year are invited to come another time for a Personal Retreat and can check back next year for more scheduled retreat opportunities. Please note that prior 10-day retreat experience is a prerequisite and 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. If you have not heard back from the Birken Office by mid-January, please email us at meditate@birken.ca to make sure that we received your form.