2019 Work Projects

2019 saw much development of the monastery infrastructure. In addition to repainting parts of the main cloister area and constructing and installing replacement bridges on our loop trail, various major projects were undertaken.

Solar System Upgrade

One of the most significant monastery infrastructure developments this year was an upgrade to the off-grid solar system in the upper part of the monastery. The batteries were replaced, a larger new inverter was installed and finally in November, the last major phase of this year’s upgrade was completed with the installation of 12 new solar panels.

This solar system meets several purposes of the monastery. The upper part of the monastery is not connected to the PG & E electrical grid and connecting it would be a significant and expensive undertaking. This robust off-grid solar electricity system is especially helpful in light of the electricity blackouts that Abhayagiri and others in northern California experienced this year and that may continue in the future. Furthermore, the use of active solar energy reduces carbon emissions, which is an act of compassion for current and future generations.

Fire Prevention

Since 2017, when fires in Redwood Valley reached the monastery boundary and forced the community to evacuate, Abhayagiri has been making concerted efforts to increase its fire safety. At the end of 2018, new signage was put in place throughout the monastery, as per the guidance of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). The signs provide numbers and directions to the various buildings and have been installed to help firefighters in the event of a fire.

During this past year, two local tree service companies have also been brought on to increase Abhayagiri’s fire safety. This work has been facilitated through donations to the Fire Prevention and Trail Maintenance Fund. These local companies have cleared underbrush along the main road that runs through the monastery, the internal roads on the women’s side of our property, as well as the area of the monastery that borders Tomki Road. A shaded fuel break was created along these internal roads, reducing fuel for 25 feet on each side of the road, removing dead trees, smaller trees and overgrown brush. Fire clearance was also performed in a 50-foot radius around our water storage tanks. Not only will this hold us in good stead in the case of a fire, it is also helpful for the trees and land, providing space and a clearing and cleaning out of the dead and overgrown trees and brush. Tan Pesalo coordinated the new signs, the work by these local companies, as well as various other fire safety projects at Abhayagiri, such as the purchase of a large amount of fire equipment. The new fire equipment, which was made possible through one generous donation, includes new fire hoses, weather-proof fire hose boxes, fire fighting equipment such as rhinos, mcleods, and backpack fire fighting pumps, as well as new valves for the fire hydrants around the monastery.

Upgrades to the Workshop
The workshop received multiple upgrades this past year. Ajahn Nyaniko completed improvements to the dust collection system, including moving the dust collector to a room outside the workshop and adding acoustic foam panels to the inside of that room, making the workshop itself much more quiet and peaceful. Ajahn Nyaniko also built a concrete fuel bunker on the north edge of the workshop, with help from Tan Suddhiko. The fuel bunker will increase fire safety by allowing us to store fuel in a concrete, fire resistant enclosure. The fuel bunker was completed with an impressive steel door, welded by resident welder monks. Also, during the spring, there was an extensive reorganization to the Upper Workshop.

New Water Tanks and Protective Structure

The large work project of the year was the construction of a protective shade structure for the water tanks on the ridge. These water tanks can hold a total of more than 20,000 gallons of water. Having such a large reserve of water is helpful to have in case of a fire, as well as for meeting the ongoing needs of the monastery. As part of that project, the existing tanks are being replaced, as they have deteriorated over time and were damaged in the 2017 fires. Ajahn Sek, Ajahn Nyaniko, and other bhikkhus and novices have been working to build the 56’x18’ structure. The frame is mostly up, and the project will likely be finished in the spring of 2020.

Exploration of Chedi Site
The monastics and guests of Abhayagiri continued work on the trail to the planned chedi site near the ridge and are currently exploring how and if a road for vehicle access might be built to reach it. The chedi is intended to be a sacred place and an object of reverence and can be a depository for sacred objects. Chedis are common throughout Thailand and much of southeast Asia.

Preparing for the Winter Retreat

With January 1st fast approaching, the community is wrapping up loose ends and preparing for the Winter Retreat. During the months of January, February and March there will be more emphasis placed on formal meditation and study. The communal work has both provided opportunities for cultivating positive spiritual qualities as well as set the stage for the benefits of formal meditation to be developed.

Bhikkhu Ordination Ceremony on Monday, December 2nd

All are welcome to attend the formal ceremony in which Sāmaṇera Jotimanto will enter the monastic Saṅgha as a bhikkhu. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 2pm on Monday, December 2nd.

Readings for Sunday, December 1 Upasika Day


We hope you can join us at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery for the next Upasika Day on Sunday, December 1, 2019, a day of community, Dhamma study, meditation, and renewal.

Please note that with the end of daylight savings time, we will take refuges and precepts at 10:30, and the meal offering is at 10:45 sharp.

Our theme and topic for the day will be “Meditation: Developing Skill In Reflective Meditation.” Luang Por Pasanno, Ajahn Karunadhammo and Ajahn Nyaniko have graciously agreed to lead us in an exploration of the Buddha’s teachings on bringing a specific theme into the mind for reflection during meditation, including choosing and developing fruitful themes and the benefits of this skill.

If you are so inclined, please read in advance:

The Mahanama Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya 6:10, available here: https://suttacentral.net/an6.10/en/sujato

Anguttara Nikaya 1:296-305, available inline here: https://suttacentral.net/an1.296-305/en/sujato

The Girimananda Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya 10:60, available here: https://suttacentral.net/an10.60/en/sujato

The Meghiya Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya 9:3, available here: https://suttacentral.net/an9.3/en/sujato

We hope you will also join us for the daily meal, beginning at 1o:45 a.m. It’s customary to bring a dish to offer to the monastics and to share with others. Our material support of the monastery community is an important aspect of our role as upasikas (literally, “those who sit close by”), and our generous offerings of food are a tangible means of extending this support.

Attendance at Upasika Days is open both to those who wish to make a formal commitment to the program and to those who simply wish to attend for the day. All are welcome. Please spread the word among those who may be interested.

The schedule for the day is as follows:

10:30 a.m. Refuges and Precepts

10:45 a.m. (sharp) Meal Offering (please bring a dish to share)

1-4:30 p.m. Study/Practice Session

4:30 p.m. Tea with the monastics (optional)

This is the last Upasika Day for 2019.

For directions on getting to the monastery, please visit www.abhayagiri.org. And if you’d like to carpool, please feel free to
utilize the “upasika@yahoogroups.com” email group as a means of contacting others planning to attend.

Upasika Program Purpose

To enhance individual practice and increase self-discipline through making a formal commitment to spiritual training.
To deepen both the intellectual and experiential understanding of the Dhamma.
To have more supportive contact with like-minded people and the ordained Sangha.
To be better equipped to communicate the Teachings to others.

Upasika Program Guidelines

Undertake to live by the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts, with the Theravada Forest Tradition as the focus of one’s practice.
Attend regular gatherings with other Upasikas, either at the Monastery or in your own homes.
Visit the Monastery and formally take the Refuges and Precepts at least quarterly.
Observe the Uposatha Days of the full and new moon in some fashion appropriate to your living situation.
Practice meditation daily.
Find some time each year to go on retreat.
*Attend at least one festival day or communal gathering at the Monastery each year.

Meal Time Has Changed to 10:45am

Please note that due to the change from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time on November 3rd, the Abhayagiri mealtime is now 10:45 am.

Ajahn Vīradhammo to Share Reflections this Saturday (Pūjā) and Sunday (Kaṭhina)

We are pleased to announce that Ajahn Vīradhammo, the abbot of Tisarana Monastery in Canada, has kindly offered to share Dhamma reflections this Saturday, November 2nd, 2019, during our regular Saturday evening pūjā starting at 7pm.

You can listen to his reflection here:

In addition, on Sunday, November 3rd, 2019, both Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Vīradhammo will share Dhamma reflections at the Kaṭhina ceremony following the offering of the robe cloth. The Kaṭhina ceremony begins at 10:30am and we encourage everybody interested in attending to arrive early.

We would like to reiterate that, even if a power outage is affecting the monastery, we will still proceed with the Kaṭhina ceremony as planned.

You can watch the ceremony here:

With good wishes,
The Abhayagiri Saṅgha

Abhayagiri Kaṭhina Still Set For Sunday, November 3rd

Abhayagiri Monastery, along with many others in Northern California, has been affected by the recent power outages and potential threats of wildfire. Nonetheless, we are still scheduled to hold our Kaṭhina this coming Sunday, November 3rd, starting at 10:30am. Even if the monastery is affected by a power outage, we will still be able to proceed with the ceremony as planned.

Only in the extreme cases of road closures or other unforeseen circumstances would the monastery consider cancelling the event. If such a situation arises, we will post an announcement on our website as soon as possible.

If you are planning to attend the Kaṭhina, please consider carpooling to the event. In addition, please plan on coming early and please check weather and traffic reports in advance.

Also, be sure to take into account that daylight savings will end on Sunday, November 3rd at 2:00 am, and cause clocks to roll back one hour.

With good wishes,
The Abhayagiri Saṅgha

Please Carpool for Kathina - Carpool Website Now Available

Abhayagiri Kathina is on Sunday, Nov. 3rd. Since parking at the monastery is limited, please cooperate with others and carpool to minimize the number of vehicles at the monastery.

In order to facilitate carpooling, the below website is available for drivers and passengers to coordinate with each other.

Carpool Website for Abhayagiri Kathina 2019

With good wishes,

The Abhayagiri Sangha

Ajahn Jayanto & Ajahn Anando to Offer Dhamma Reflections on Oct. 5th & Oct. 6th

Ajahn Jayanto and Ajahn Anando, the co-abbots of Temple Forest Monastery in New Hamsphire will be visiting Abhayagiri from Oct. 3rd through Oct. 7th. During that time, Ajahn Jayanto and Ajahn Anando have agreed to offer the Dhamma reflections for Saturday night on Oct. 5th and for the Lunar Observance on the evening of Sun., Oct. 6th, respectively.

For more information about Ajahn Jayanto and Ajahn Anando, please see Temple Forest Monastery’s Community Page.

Interview with Ajahn Pasanno in Tricycle Magazine

Tricycle Buddhist Review published an interview with Luang Por Pasanno about the significance of the royal title given to Luang Por Sumedho, Luang Por Pasanno, Ajahn Amaro and Ajahn Jayasaro. The interview also includes reflections on the Thai Forest Tradition.

Interview with Luang Por Pasanno in Tricycle

Abhayagiri Kathina 2019 - Nov. 3rd, 10:30am

People are welcome to join us for our annual Kathina celebration this year. The Kathina ceremony is very ancient, having been established by the Lord Buddha and observed in Theravada Buddhist countries to the present day. The hallmark of this ceremony is an unsolicited offering of cloth with which the Sangha will sew and dye a finished robe before the next dawn. That finished robe is then bestowed upon a senior monk chosen by the Sangha to be a worthy recipient.

The following letter from our board president Paul Catasus summarizes happenings at Abhayagiri and highlights the spirit of generosity which is emblematic of the Kathina.

Dear Supporters of Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery,

The past year has been an extraordinary one for our community. Given the maturity and stability of the Sangha, Luang Por Pasanno was able to take a much deserved one year sabbatical, handing over the leadership of the community to Ajahn Karunadhammo and Ajahn Nyaniko as our new abbots. He returned this July only to be promptly invited back to Thailand by the king where he was honored with a new “Chao Khun” title. This honor was also bestowed on Luang Por Sumedho, Ajahn Amaro (former co-abbot of Abhayagiri) and Ajahn Jayasaro. This beautiful acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication applied in growing the western Sangha is deeply appreciated. Luang Por Pasanno is now back at Abhayagiri as Guiding Elder for which we are all very grateful.

At the end of 2018, an anonymous donor contacted Abhayagiri seeking to help the monastery by providing housing for the care of senior monks. As it so happened, our board of directors was looking into acquiring an adjacent property precisely for this purpose. The purchase of Santi Vihara was completed at the beginning of 2019 through this donor’s unprecedented generosity. Abhayagiri is now in a much better position to expand and extensively care for the bhikkhu Sangha.

And grow the Sangha has. In the last year it welcomed three new samaneras: Jotimanto, Dhammavaro, and Candasilo and two samaneras took full bhikkhu ordination: Tan Rakkhito and Tan Cittapalo. With so many new monks and others returning, the plan is to build four or five new kutis starting next year.

In this expansive spirit, you are cordially invited to join Luang Por Pasanno, Ajahn Sek, Ajahn Karunadhammo, Ajahn Nyaniko and the rest of the extended Abhayagiri community on Nov 3rd, 2019 at 10:30am for the annual Kathina celebration. It is a rare opportunity to see old and new friends in an atmosphere of peace, joy and harmony to commemorate the end of this year’s Rains Retreat.

All good wishes on behalf of Sanghapala Board –

Paul Catasus, Board President

As Kathina is also a time when people offer monastery requisites other than cloth, we have compiled a Kathina Dana List for anyone curious about monastery needs.

May your contact with Abhayagiri bring benefit,

– Nyaniko Bhikkhu on behalf of the Sangha.