Author Archives: june

Retreat Etiquette Guidelines for Monastic Retreats

The following are guidelines for being in the company of ordained monastics – both monks and nuns:

  • It is respectful to place your hands in anjali (prayer pose) when greeting or speaking to a monastic.
  • It is respectful to fold your legs and not point the soles of your feet at a monastic, or towards the altar.
  • It is respectful to wear clothing that is not too tight or revealing.
  • If a monastic is sitting, please do not stand over them; sit below or at the same level.
  • If you are walking beside a monastic, let them pass by you or offer for them to go ahead of you.

Media tech support opportunity

We are looking for people interested in working with audio and computer media. Perhaps you know, or would be willing to learn how to set up microphones and PA equipment? The media team would also like help with recording talks at retreats and special events using our digital recorder. If you own a PC or Mac, we would appreciate help with trimming audio files, uploading them to the website and linking them to webpages. All software, training and support will be provided. You’d work as part of the team.
Bruce MacRae, Rod House and Lawrie Thicke would love to hear from you, if you’re interested in one or more of these three areas. For more info, email them c/o


Guest teacher Kate Dresher from Washington State will lead the Sunday Night Sit.

Kate Dresher photoKate Dresher has been practicing meditation since 1998 and was authorized to teach by her root teacher, Michele McDonald, in 2010. She has studied with both Asian and Western meditation masters, most notably Venerables Chanmyay Myaing Sayadaw and Sayadaw U Vivekananda, and practiced for a time as a nun in Burma.  She has also trained to offer spiritual care, as a Buddhist chaplain, for those facing difficulty or loss. Kate is involved in teaching metta and vipassana retreats primarily in the Northwestern U.S. and British Columbia, where she resides. She emphasizes practicing right where we are as a doorway to the natural unfolding of wisdom and love. She is inspired by people’s wish for happiness and freedom.

2014/05/24 Non-residential retreat with Eve Decker

Home in the Present Moment
Music and Dharma Retreat with Eve Decker
Saturday May 24 2014 9:00 – 4:30 pm
Sunday May 25  2014 9:00 – 4:00 pm
Goward House
2425 Arbutus Road, Victoria BC

 Eve Decker

Experience a replenishing weekend of teachings with Dharma teacher and musician, Eve Decker who will lead an experiential two-day retreat of sitting and walking meditation, listening and participating with dharma-related songs, and deepening our connection to the teachings of the Buddha.
This retreat is suitable for both beginners and experienced meditators.
Buddhist teachings, including the practice methods of mindfulness and lovingkindness offer us a doorway to refuge and peace, found in the present moment. This weekend offers rest, reflection and learning through meditation, music, and Buddhist teachings such as the four Noble Truths, impermanence, and compassion.

About Eve:
Eve is a long-term student of the dharma and teaches in the San Francisco Bay area. She began practicing Vipassana/Insight Meditation and Metta meditation in the early 1990s. She trained in mindfulness based social action through the two-year Path of Engagement program and in 2012 became a certified Community Dharma Leader.  Both programs are offered by Spirit Rock Meditation Center, California.

Eve is also a performing artist. She co-founded and toured with the American feminist folk trio Rebecca Riots from 1993 – 2009.  In 2006, Eve released a solo CD, “Commentary on Perfections of the Heart”, 10 original songs based on the Buddhist teachings of the Ten Paramis.  She has recently released a CD, “Simple Truth”, a culmination of years of inner exploration of her meditation and music practices.

Participants at Eve’s retreat with Victoria IMS in 2012 asked that Eve return to Victoria. Many found a new pathway to the teachings through the combination of music and instruction.

Eve will perform on May 23rd, at the Garry Oak Room, Victoria, BC  7pm.
For more information – click here.

2012/06/24 Ajahn Sona One Day Retreat and Meal Offering

Guilt, Self-Loathing, Compassion and the Colour Blue
Sunday, June 24, 2012   9 am – 4:00 pm.
Goward House, 2495 Arbutus Rd. Victoria, BC

We are honoured to have Venerable Bhikkhu Sona – abbott (Ajahn) of Sitavana – Birken Forest Monastery return to offer teachings in Victoria.

Ajahn Sona ordained as a Theravada monk under Ven. Gunaratana, at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia, where his first years of training took place.  Ven. Sona further trained for over three years at Ajahn Chah’s forest monasteries in northeast Thailand, particularly Wat Pah Nanachat. He returned to Canada in 1994, and established the first Birken Forest Monastery. Ajahn Sona offers the Buddha’s timeless teachings in a profound and refreshing way.

LUNCH:This retreat will include a “dana – meal offering”  at 11 a.m. open to anyone who wishes to participate.   Please see information below for what to bring to offer to Ajahn Sona and to share in the “pot luck” lunch.
COSTS: In keeping with the monastic code, Ajahn Sona offers the dhamma freely and receives no money. If you would like to make donations to the Birken Forest Monastery that supports Ajahn Sona, they will issue receipts for tax purposes. Suggested donation to Victoria IMS: $20 for venue rental, accommodation and organizational costs.  Cheques and cash accepted.
Sitting Gear
Please bring your own cushion and mat for sitting. Chairs are available. Consider bringing a mat for under your feet as we ask that you not wear shoes or slippers in the meditation area.

Food Offerings/Pot Luck:
You are welcome to offer vegetarian dishes or meat/fish and any kind of non-alcoholic drink.Those with food allergies will  appreciate labels on dishes.

  • Fruit is best served in cut up pieces. This includes tomatoes.
  • No raw fish please
  • If bringing chocolates, please check that they do not have alcohol fillings.
Utensils, Plates, Cups 
  • Serving Dish or bowl and utensils for serving your offering.
  • Your own plate, cup, cutlery.
    We cannot use the kitchen supplies at Goward House except for their kettles. There is a cooler/fridge. Please consider bringing your dish in a cooler if you own one.
While Ajahn Sona is very comfortable and understanding of our cultural norms, we ask that you consider practicing with monastic etiquette for this retreat.
What to Wear and Not Wear
Moderate dress wear is appreciated. Please, no tank tops or shorts.
Greeting Monastics
Placing your hands together (palms facing) in anjali is a sign of respect and a way of greeting a monastic.  It is considered impolite to have the souls of your feet pointing at a monastic. Please try not to hover over or stand above a monastic.
Supporting a Meditative Environment
Please leave electronic devices at home or ensure they are turned off. Water bottles and thermoses can be placed on shelves for use during breaks. We request that you remain in silence, except for when needing to ask a specific question.
Please email us at if you have any questions.

“During the Buddha’s time, he established a unique and radical relationship between the monastics and the lay community, which continues today in the Theravadan tradition. The monastic code requires the ordained Sangha to live in dependence upon the laity for all their physical needs. Monks and nuns do not grow or prepare their own food, and they can only accept food that is freely offered by laypeople. This tradition has been successfully implemented for more than 2500 years.”    Pacific Hermitage.

2013 Awakening Joy online course with James Baraz and App

James Baraz, a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center  leads an annual on-line experiential course Awakening Joy beginning February 2012. Register at

The  course uses dharma principles and practices to cultivate 10 wholesome states over a 5 -month period (Jan-May). It’s a way to bring practice into daily life with the intention of greater well-being. When people actually do the practices, they work.  The book, Awakening Joy, is coming out in paper-back in November 2012.

The course is done as a nourishing experience and fun. No failing, no guilt, no pressure. Doing it with dharma friends in a group makes it even more powerful. Though not essential, the added dimension of sangha creates a feeling of connection that enriches the experience. Many dharma communities have formed Awakening Joy groups.

If you’re doing the course online, you’re welcome to offer any amount that works for you as an alternative to the suggested donation. I want to share the course with anyone who really wants to take it.   To register go to the website and click on Sign Up button.

“I don’t read a lot of self-help or inspirational books, but even if you never read anything in this genre, this book is one you should try. Baraz teaches a very popular course and has an online lecture series on this. Melinda and I actually went to one of his seminars. He’s a very nice guy, and Awakening Joy is very good.”  Bill Gates  –