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  vims1retreat@gmail.com 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.