Visiting Birken: 2023
Updated: September 1, 2023
After a three year closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as renovations, Birken Monastery has been slowly re-open to the public for personal retreats in 2023.
We are now waitlisting for September and October. Fill out the form below to be placed on the waiting list.
No Day Visits or In-Person Dana Meals will be permitted for all of 2023.
Personal Retreat Guidelines and Registration Form
About Retreats in September/October 2023:
We are now waitlisting for Personal Retreats in September/October. Fill out the form below to be placed on the waiting list.
Arrival & Departure Days:
Arrival days are on Saturday, departure day is on Friday on the dates above. No exceptions.
Length of Stay:
See dates above. No late arrivals or early departures.
Previous Birken visit pre-COVID of any length, or a residential 5-day retreat elsewhere.
Test the day before you depart for Birken, test again on day 4 (bring your own, or Birken has tests). Any Guest testing positive will be quarantined. Please have a plan for someone outside of the monastery to pick you up in the event you are unwell. Note that Birken is far from services and stewards cannot provide medical care. Social distancing in effect for the entire retreat. If you are feeling unwell immediately before the retreat, please notify the office at email@example.com as soon as possible to cancel your booking.
Birken Monastery is not responsible for medical care or expenses. Birken is very far from services, and stewards are unable to provide medical care. Guests should either have health insurance, or the resources to provide for those in the event of a medical emergency. Note: guests from other provinces or countries are not covered by BC Medical Services Plan, and are responsible for researching/obtaining the appropriate travel insurance, or paying out of pocket for medical expenses.
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. All guests are expected to abide by the Eight Precepts outlined in our Guest Guide.
Interviews & Teatimes with Ajahn Sona:
During your stay, Ajahn Sona will visit for one or two teatimes, which will be announced at the main meal. He may or may not be giving interviews.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is customary for all guests to help out with light chores around the monastery throughout their stay. Guests will be assigned duties during your stay.
We are unable to pick up guests in Kamloops. Arrivals and departures are by car, only. Please plan to arrive at Birken sometime between 1:00–4:00pm. There are cabs that have come all the way in to Birken in the past. Please visit Getting Here for more details.
Last-minute cancellations are burdensome to the monastery and prevent other guests from the precious opportunity to visit. To that effect, please only fill out the application if you are absolutely sure you can commit to coming. That said, as stated above, if you are unwell before the retreat, please notify the office to cancel your booking.