Visiting Birken: Spring Re-opening
Updated: May 24, 2023
After a three year closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as renovations, Birken Monastery will slowly re-open to the public for retreats in May and June.
- The Annual Pacific Hermitage Retreat will take place from May 1-15 as well as a weekend retreat for supporters from Vernon, BC from May 26-29. These are closed retreats and the only activities for the month of May.
- During the month of June, there is space for a limited number of overnight guests who have visited Birken previously for Personal Retreats the week of June 3-9 and June 24-30. THESE RETREATS ARE CURRENTLY WAITLISTING. Use the form below to be place on the waiting list.
- No Day Visits or In-Person Dana Meals will be permitted for all of 2023.
- We will evaluate our capacity for Personal and Scheduled Retreats during these initial two months, and will post information regarding Summer and Fall in this space mid-June
Personal Retreat Guidelines and Registration Form
About Retreats in June 2023:
Week 1: Saturday, June 3-Friday, June 9
Week 2: Saturday, June 24-Friday, June 30
There are a limited number of openings for personal retreats during the month of June. Selection will be roughly “first come first served”, with weight placed on those who have been visiting Birken for many years. The office will notify you either way within one week of your application if we have space. Please scroll down for application form.
Arrival & Departure Days:
For the month of June, arrival days are on Saturday, departure day is on Friday.
Length of Stay:
See dates above. No late arrivals or early departures.
Previous Birken Personal or Formal Retreat (pre-COVID) of at least 7 days. This will change later in the year, but initially, we would like guests already familiar with the layout and rhythm of the monastery.
Test on arrival, test again on day 4 (Birken to provide 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 as soon as possible to cancel your booking.
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.
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: email@example.com
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 tasks on the ‘Yogi Duties’ board in the kitchen upon arrival. All guests are asked to assist with breakfast and lunch clean-up.
For these initial retreats in June, 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. 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.
Registration Info:Personal Retreat Registration Form – June 2023
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Support the Monastery
Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery is a registered Canadian charitable society and is supported entirely by donations or ‘dāna’ (generosity). All teachings, accommodations, and meals are offered free of charge. It is left to the good will and discretion of visitors and well-wishers to decide how they might support the work of the monastery.
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Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery
7000 Smith Lake Forest Srv Rd.
Knutsford, BC | V0E 2A0 | Canada