2017 Abhayagiri Thanksgiving Retreat - Registration Closed

2017 Monastic Thanksgiving Retreat

Led by Luang Por Pasanno and the Abhayagiri Community

Registration is closed. This article is left up for informational purposes.

November 17-26, 2017 at Angela Center, Santa Rosa, CA

Abhayagiri Monastery in Redwood Valley, California and the Sanghapala Foundation invite you to join Luang Por Pasanno and the Abhayagiri Community for a 10-day retreat over the Thanksgiving holiday.

We will create a monastery environment during our time together, and we offer you this opportunity to explore the Dhamma in a setting that differs somewhat from a typical meditation retreat. We will all live the monastery life, following the Eight Precepts, taking only what is offered, and attempting to reflect on our every activity as part of our practice. This will include noble silence, morning and evening chanting, sitting and walking meditation, a work period, and daily Dhamma talks and teachings.

The retreat will be held from Friday afternoon, November 17th, through mid-day Sunday, November 26, 2017, in the Ursula Hall at the Angela Center in Santa Rosa, California. The closest airports are Santa Rosa, Oakland and San Francisco, with shuttles available to Santa Rosa. Because of the length of this retreat and the adherence to the Eight Precepts, you must previously have sat at least one five-day meditation retreat. Retreatants are requested to attend the entire retreat, from the opening taking of the Precepts on Friday evening to the closing ceremony on Sunday morning.

The facility is wheelchair accessible. We are unable to accommodate special dietary or environmental needs. We will eat a light breakfast and, in keeping with this monastic tradition, the daily meal (vegetarian) is eaten before noon; there is no evening meal or use of kitchen. Incense and candles are used at the morning and evening chanting periods.

The retreat will be offered solely on dana (freewill donations); there is no set fee.

Due to the popularity of this retreat, registration is via lottery and a deposit is required for registration. (For those who attend the retreat or are on the waiting list, or who cancel by October 25th, the deposit can be refunded upon request or it can be offered as a freewill donation to Abhayagiri Monastery. The deposit cannot be refunded to those who cancel after October 25th.) Out of respect for others, please register only when you can make a clear and wholehearted commitment to attend.

Registration is closed. This article is left up for informational purposes.

To register for the retreat print and fill out the pdf registration form and mail it along with the $100 deposit check to Cyndia Marcous, 72 Fernwood Drive, San Anselmo, CA 94960. There is no email registration this year.

Dhamma Talks Moved to Sunday Afternoons

Starting Sunday, June 11, the regular weekend Dhamma talk will move to Sunday afternoon. The program will begin at 2 pm with chanting followed by meditation. After a short break, one of the senior monks will give a Dhamma talk. There will be no evening puja Sunday night. We have yet to decide what will happen when the lunar observance day falls on Sunday.

Evening puja will begin at 7 pm on Saturday nights with no Dhamma talk. If Saturday is a lunar observance day, we’ll follow the usual program starting at 7:30 pm.

We’re making this change because we think that more people will be able to come on Sunday afternoon than on Saturday night. Now that Abhayagiri has a larger, climate-controlled Dhamma Hall that will remain cool during summer afternoons, we can comfortably host large afternoon gatherings. We’re open to feedback as to whether this is a good idea, but we’d like to try it out for a while and see how it goes.

July 23 Joint Birthday Celebration for Luang Por Sumedho and Luang Por Pasanno

–Live Stream– You can watch the live stream here: https://youtu.be/YsiewdqCjXg

–Schedule update– We invite you to join us on Sunday, July 23 for a joint birthday celebration for Luang Por Sumedho and Luang Por Pasanno. This will be Luang Por Sumedho’s 83rd year of life and his 51st rains retreat as a bhikkhu (fully ordained monk). The schedule for the day will be as follows:

Sunday, July 23

  • ~10 a.m. Luang Por Sumedho to receive visitors informally in the Dhamma Hall
  • 11 a.m. Meal Offering People are welcome to bring a dish to share.
  • Luang Por Sumehdo will rest after the meal
  • 2 p.m. Chanting and meditation
  • 3 p.m. Luang Por Sumedho to give a Dhamma Talk

Luang Por Sumedho plans to visit Abhayagiri from July 17 to July 24. Abhayagiri’s guest accommodations are full during these dates.

A brief biography of Luang Por Sumedho, the most senior Western disciple of Ajahn Chah, is included below:

Luang Por Sumedho was born in Seattle, Washington in 1934. After serving four years in the US Navy as a medic, he completed a BA in Far Eastern Studies and a MA in South Asian Studies, and then served two years in the Peace Corps in Malaysia. In 1966, he went to Thailand to practice meditation at Wat Mahathat in Bangkok. Not long afterwards, he went forth as a novice monk in remote Nong Khai. A year of solitary practice followed. Although fruitful, it showed him the need for a teacher who could more actively guide him.

Luang Por Sumedho received full ordination in 1967. A fortuitous encounter with a visiting monk led him to Ubon province to practice with Luang Por Chah. He took dependence from Luang Por Chah and remained under his close guidance for ten years.

In 1975, Luang Por Sumedho, established Wat Pah Nanachat, International Forest Monastery where Westerners could be trained in English. In 1977, he accompanied Luang Por Chah to England and took up residence at the Hampstead Vihara, with three other monks.

Luang Por Sumedho was made an Upajjhāya (ordination preceptor) in 1981. Since then he has given upasampada (Bhikkhu precepts) to more than a hundred aspirants of many nationalities. Luang Por Sumedho was integral in establishing the Forest Sangha tradition in the United Kingdom. He was central in establishing Amaravati Buddhist Monastery and Chithurst Buddhist Monastery. He remained as senior incumbent at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire until November 2010, at which time he handed over the duties of abbot to Ajahn Amaro. Luang Por Sumedho is now based in Thailand where his monastic life began in 1966.

July 15 Benefit for the Mindfulness Care Center in SF

Ajahn Pasanno and the Abhayagiri Community will lead a benefit day for the Mindfulness Care Center in San Francisco on Saturday, July 15 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. The morning will consist of sitting and walking practice with a Dharma reflection. There will be a meal offering to the monastics at 11:00 am. In the afternoon Ajahn Pasanno will tell stories from his early years training under his teacher Ajahn Chah in Thailand.

All contributions for the day will benefit the Mindfulness Care Center, a 501(3)(c) Nonprofit. The MCC/Mindfulness Care Center exists through acts of generosity. The MCC’s main benefactor Muriel Wanderer recently passed. The Mindfulness Care Center’s programs, workshops and classes offer pathways for healing stress, unresolved anxieties and PTSD. The MCC offers their classes on a dana/donation raise with scholarship opportunities for their longer programs.

Mindfulness Care Center
42 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 503-1971

Bhikkhu Ordination Ceremony for Sāmaṇera Sampanno and Sāmaṇera Suddhiko

Saturday, June 17th: Bhikkhu Ordination Ceremony for Sāmaṇera Sampanno and Sāmaṇera Suddhiko.

All are welcome to attend the formal ceremony in which the Sāmaṇera Sampanno and Sāmaṇera Suddhiko will enter the monastic Saṅgha as bhikkhus. The ceremony will take place at the ordination platform. We currently do not know the start time as it is depending on weather, but it will most likely start sometime after the meal between 1pm and 5pm.

Please see our calendar for more details.

Original House Demolished

After over 20 years of holding a central place in the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, the original house was demolished on May 16th, 2017.

Additional pictures can be seen here:

Upāsakā Day: June 4, 2017

We hope you can join us at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery for the next Upāsakā Day on Sunday, June 4, a day of community, Dhamma study, meditation, and renewal. The event will begin at 10 AM with the taking of precepts.

The group session will be livestreamed at https://youtu.be/Ij8MV7h00KQ starting at 1PM.

Our theme for the day will be Sutta Study: Two Kinds of Thought, and The Removal of Distracting Thought. Luang Por Pasanno and senior monastics of Abhayagiri have graciously offered to lead us in an exploration of how to skillfully work with thought in meditation and otherwise.

The readings for the day include Majjhima Nikaya 19, the Dvedhavitakka Sutta (Two Kinds of Thought), available here: https://suttacentral.net/en/mn19 and Majjhima 20, the Vitakkasanthana Sutta (The Removal of Distracting Thoughts), available here: https://suttacentral.net/en/mn20

New Sāmaṇeras: Guṇavīro, Tissaro and Ṭhitasukho

On May 6, 2017, three ordinations took place at Abhayagiri. Former anagārikas Jeff, Dorian, and Hector went forth as sāmaṇeras Guṇavīro, Tissaro, Ṭhitasukho, with Luang Por Pasanno as their preceptor.

In the tradition, taking ordination as a sāmaṇera is a way of further devoting oneself to the training in preparation for full Bhikkhu ordination.

In case you missed it, a video of the ordination was recorded and is available for viewing:

We also have photos from the event that are available in our gallery:

Thai Documentaries of Luang Por Pasanno in Thailand, December 2016

Luang Por was in Thailand in December, 2016 and was featured in several Thai-language documentaries. You can watch these videos via the following links:

  1. รายงานพิเศษ - งานอาจาริยบูชา พระโพธิญาณเถร (ชา สุภัทโท)
  2. เทปการแสดงธรรมธรรมโดย พระโพธิญาณวิเทศ (ปสันโน ภิกขุ) ณ มูลนิธิบ้านอารีย์
  3. รายงานพิเศษ - มรดกธรรม พระโพธิญาณเถร (ชา สุภัทโท)

Sāmaṇera Ordination Ceremony for Anagārikas Jeff, Dorian, and Hector

On May 6th, 2017, all are welcome to attend the formal ceremony in which Anagārikas Jeff, Dorian, and Hector will take the brown robes of a novice (sāmaṇera).

This event will be livestreamed. The program will begin with evening puja at 7:30 PM. The ordination ceremony will likely start between 8:15–8:45 PM.

The ceremony will take place in the new reception hall. Please see our calendar for additional details.