Birken Forest Visit
By George Longden
On the first weekend in June, in her capacity as facilitator for the Monday meditation group, Laurie DeBray led a group of 12 meditators on a visit to the Birken Forest Monastery. The Monastery is approximately 40 km southeast of Kamloops and is set amongst 80 wooded acres at 4000 foot elevation. Birken is one of the few Theravada Forest Monasteries in North America, so we are fortunate that it is so close and accessible.
The visit was structured like a retreat, with regular sitting and walking meditation, starting at 5:30 am, along with Dhamma talks and less formal teatime talks each evening with Ajahn Sona. For many, it was their first visit to the Monastery; for others it was a chance to reconnect. Each of us attending came away with a 'Pearl of Wisdom' to integrate into our daily lives.
My personal realization was finding clarity on how important morning meditation is to all the other aspects of my life. Since 1971 when I was first introduced to meditation, it has been like an old friend that has been there for the moments of great need in my life. Ajahn Sona's Dhamma talks on loving kindness provided many moments to reflect and ponder for me throughout the weekend.
For more information about the Monastery, visit their website:
. The website also features the largest collection of Dhamma talks in Canada and possibly the world, with over 4500 to chose from.