2018 Monastic Thanksgiving Retreat

Led by the Abhayagiri Community

November 17-25, 2018 at Mount Madonna Center in Watsonville, CA (near Santa Cruz)

Abhayagiri Monastery in Redwood Valley, California and the Sanghapala Foundation invite you to join Ajahn Sudanto, Ajahn Karunadhammo, Ajahn Nyaniko, Debbie Stamp and others from the Abhayagiri Community for a 9-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. 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.

Registration/lottery will be open July 1-31, 2018 and applicants will be notified mid-August.
Additional details and relevant forms will be posted on July 1st for those interested in applying.
Please consult our calendar for more details.

Sat. June 2 Upāsikā Day & Sun. June 3 Community Work Day

We hope you can join us at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery for the next Upasika Day on Saturday, June 2, a day of community, Dhamma study, and meditation.

Our theme for the day will be “Devotion and Ritual: Chanting.” Luang Por Pasanno and senior monastics of Abhayagiri have graciously offered to lead us in an exploration of the practices, purposes and meanings of greater- and lesser-known chants in the Thai Forest tradition of Ajahn Chah, including practice with pronunciation , memorization, and chanting in a group.

Reading for the day is this article on the history and context of chanting: https://www.scribd.com/document/45666125/The-Chanting-Practice-of-Theravada-Buddhists

The day’s schedule will be:

10:30 a.m. Refuges and Precepts.
11:00 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)

More information about Upasika Days can be found here.

If you are unable to attend in person, you are invited to join in the live-stream through the following link: https://youtu.be/WG9DhaUvJeA

Additionally, the monastery will be having a Community Work Day on Sunday, June 3 with the opportunity for supporters to come and help us get ready for the opening ceremony of the Cloister Area later that month. You are cordially invited and encouraged to come for a day of having a good time together as we help prepare the grounds to receive our many soon-to-arrive monastic guests for the ceremonies of June 30 - July 1.

There will be both morning (7:30 am - 11:00 am) and afternoon (1:00 pm - 4:00 pm) work periods, and all are welcome for one or both of those sessions.

The tasks we will work on include trimming the grasses around our buildings, and people who have heavy duty line trimmers to bring and use would be greatly appreciated. Other tasks will include raking trails, tidying up the workshop, etc.

This work day will be in lieu of the usual Sunday afternoon program – note that Sat. June 2 will be an Upasika Day with a full afternoon program of teachings. If you are trying to decide whether to come on Sat (for the teaching afternoon) or Sun (for the work day), maybe consider coming for both!

Please consult our calendar for more details.

Monastery Fire Clearance Progress

While the October fires that devasted the Redwood Valley area and nearly consumed the monastery brought profound loss to our neighbors, they also revealed the deep faith of the monastery’s community. In the months following the event, many friends of Abhayagiri expressed concern, offered basic requisites, and helped set up a fund for fire clearance and maintenance in years to come. Supporters in Thailand also expressed heartfelt concern and support upon meeting Luang Por Pasanno and other community members during their trip abroad this past January.

Encouraged by such well-wishing and acts of generosity, the community has begun this past month to expand on existing fire safety measures both in and around the property. Most mornings since the start of April, monks and lay guests have donned patched work jackets, thick gloves, and walked into the cold morning air to begin cutting and hauling dead wood from near monastery buildings. By enlarging defensible space around the monks’ kutis, Bhikkhu Commons, workshop, Casa Serena, and other structures, the community increases monastery structures’ chance of survival and firefighter safety in the event of another fire. The steadily growing piles of debris to be chipped and poison oak rashes ornamenting most monks’ ankles and wrists testify to many weeks of hard but inspired labor.

“The fire clearance looks better than ever before,” comments Tan Suhajjo after spending several days dragging potential fuel away from the small huts used by monastics, “and this means our kutis and buildings are better protected than they ever have been.”

While Abhayagiri’s community has poured itself into the work, the monastery has also enlisted other organizations to help with the large amount to be done. Funds donated by Abhayagiri’s friends and supporters in the months following the fire have helped hire the Student Conservation Association (SCA), which has spent the past four weeks cutting and clearing brush to expand defensible space around huts and buildings and widening trails to improve firefighter access to the property. Camping in the monastery, the SCA’s five members have been a nice addition to the community, joining the monks for the occasional meal and teatime.

While the bulk of fire clearance work should be finished by the the beginning of July, measures will continue to be taken now and in coming years to maintain and improve on what has been done. The community hopes that by caring for the monastery and its forest, they might in some measure honor the generosity and faith which has preserved Abhayagiri as a refuge for all those who wish to come and devote themselves to the Buddha’s path of liberation.

For more pictures of fire clearance work, please visit our photo gallery.

Bhikkhu Ordination Ceremony for Sāmaṇera Guṇavīro and Sāmaṇera Tissaro

Sunday, May 13th: Bhikkhu Ordination Ceremony for Sāmaṇera Guṇavīro and Sāmaṇera Tissaro

All are welcome to attend the formal ceremony in which the Sāmaṇera Guṇavīro and Sāmaṇera Tissaro 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 depends on weather, but it will most likely start sometime after the meal between 1pm and 5pm.

Please see our calendar for more details.

June Reception Hall Celebration: June 29th - July 1st

Join us to celebrate the completion of Abhayagiri’s new Reception Hall with three days of Dhamma reflections and practice the weekend of Friday, June 29th, Saturday, June 30th, and Sunday, July 1st.

For the weekend leading up to the formal offering of the hall on Sunday, July 1st, senior teachers of the Ajahn Chah Tradition including Luang Por Liem, Luang Por Jundee, Luang Por Viradhammo, Ajahn Jayasaro, Ajahn Sona, Ajahn Kongrit, Ajahn Prateep, Ajahn Sudanto and Ajahn Achalo will join us at Abhayagiri to commemorate the completion of the new Reception Hall. The three days of celebrations will feature teachings from visiting monks throughout the day, periods of practice, meal offerings, and will culminate in a formal offering of the hall to the Abhayagiri Sangha on Sunday, July 1st. The result of six years of work, the building features a new meditation hall, kitchen, library, and other facilities, and will serve as a center for monastic and lay activities in years to come. We hope you can join us for the festivities. Details of the schedule will be posted closer to the event. Please plan on carpooling if possible, as parking is limited.

For a walkthrough of the new hall, see the video below:

Although we have no capacity for overnight guests at this time, all are welcome to come to Abhayagiri as day visitors.

Interview with Luang Por Pasanno in "A Day" magazine (Thai)

A Thai interview with Luang Por Pasanno has recently been featured in the Thai Magazine “A Day”. This interview can be read here: https://goo.gl/B3z4Us

Upāsikā Renewal Day: Readings from the new Ajahn Chah biography, with reflections from Luang Por Pasanno

We hope you can join us at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery for the next Upasika Day on Saturday, April 21st, 2018, a day of community, Dhamma study, meditation, and renewal. All are welcome, whether or not you have attended these teaching days before.

If you are unable to attend in person, you are invited to join in the live-stream through the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaG4FpK6L_M

Our theme for the day will be “Daily Life Practice: Readings from the new Ajahn Chah biography, with reflections from Luang Por Pasanno.” This day will include short audio-video clips of Ajahn Chah from the monastery’s archives, and lesser-known stories about Ajahn Chah as told by Luang Por Pasanno from his experience of many years living with Ajahn Chah in Thailand.

The day will also include readings from Stillness Flowing, the just-published, comprehensive English-language biography of Ajahn Chah by Ajahn Jayasaro, particularly from Chapter X, “Out of Compassion, Luang Por and the Lay Community.” Stillness Flowing is available electronically here: https://www.abhayagiri.org/news/240-stillness-flowing-available-march-1-2018 Copies of the hardback edition of the book are also available at Abhayagiri, as of this writing.

The day’s schedule will be:

10:30 am - Refuges and Precepts

11 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)

More information about Upasika Days can be found here.

Thai New Year's Celebration (Songkran) - April 15, 2018

Please join us at Abhayagiri for the Thai New Year’s (Songkran) ceremony this Sunday, April 15, 2018. The following program will take the place of the usual Sunday schedule.

10:30 AM – Monks go on almsround. Please only put rice in bowls. Other food offerings may be given at the kitchen table. Following almsround, monks will participate in the traditional ceremony of washing a Buddha image.

11:00 AM – Meal offering.

1:00 PM – Ceremonial washing of Ajahns’ hands, Paritta chanting, Dhamma talk, and a blessing of holy water.

Please plan on carpooling if possible as parking is limited. If possible, please be here well in advance of the 10:00 AM meal.

Farewell to Beth

On Sat. April 7th, there will be a farewell gathering for Beth Steff. There will be a meal offering at 11:00 a.m. followed by a ceremony to wish Beth well and express our gratitude for her service to the monastic and lay communities these past 6 years. Beth will be leaving the community to return to New Zealand. All are welcome.