The lay community of Sanghapala

The lay community associated with Ajahns Passano and Amaro and Abhayagiri Forest Monastery in Redwood Valley CA continues to grow as the new monastic presence takes root in northern California.

Many of us in the San Francisco Bay Area have worked together, and have sat together, over the years and a genuine community has evolved. While much of the "work" focus has shifted to Redwood Valley, where much remains to be done to nourish the physical development of the monastery there, it is important that the lay community in the San Francisco Bay Area retain and nurture our community of practice here where we live.

San Francisco Sittings

Lay practitioners are invited to attend a sitting in San Francisco on the first Wednesday of every month. Except for during the monastic retreat months, one or more of the monastics from Abhayagiri monastery will attend and will present a Dhamma talk, following the chanting and meditation. These gatherings are at 746 - 46th Avenue (between Balboa and Cabrillo) in San Francisco, from 7:30 - 9:30 pm, on the first Wednesday of each month.

These monthly gatherings are excellent opportunities to practice in community and to help support each other's practice. Please come!

East Bay Sittings

Lay practitioners have been meeting in the East Bay for weekly sittings since the beginning of 1997. Our "urban forest" meditation group meets at the Berkeley Thai Temple (Wat Mongkolratanaram). The address is 1913 Russell Street, near the corner of Martin Luther King Way, and is one block north of the Ashby BART station. We usually meet in the Thai Cultural Center, which is the building to the left as you enter the parking lot; please enter through the rear door, up a short flight of steps. We meet every Tuesday evening, from 6:30 - 9:30 pm. Please join us. Bring your own zafu, if possible.

We are very grateful to Acting Abbot Manat and the monks of the Berkeley Thai Temple for opening their facilities to us. Given our connection with the Forest Sangha tradition of northern Thailand, via the monastic communities of Abhayagiri and Amaravati, the Berkeley Thai Temple feels like a very appropriate home.

The Tuesday night gathering has adopted a new format, based upon member feedback. As always, we begin at 7:30 with chanting, followed by 40 minutes of sitting meditation. Then, we have a Dhamma presentation, which may be a discussion, a reading, a Dhamma talk, a guest speaker. Each week a group member volunteers to be responsible for "hosting" some type of Dhamma investigation and sharing. We finish with chanting and a bit of time for conversation and announcements, ending at 9:30.

We've also decided to have an occasional vegetarian potluck dinner, preceding our regular meditation format. For information about what's happening with the Tuesday night parisa, please check here often.

A new sitting group is forming in Concord! The Concord sitting group meets every Wednesday (except the first Wednesday of the month) from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in a parisa member's home. All are welcome!

If you are interested in attending and would like more information, please contact U Kondañña (Barry Kapke) at (925) 689-7238 or via e-mail at

We hope to nurture and support a growing and vital lay practice community in the Forest Sangha tradition here in the Bay Area. Please do join us, and please pass the word.

Sanghapala Mailing List

If you would like to receive notification by e-mail of announcements about local (northern Calfornia) sitting groups, lay community events, and monastic events, in the Forest Sangha tradition, please e-mail to:

The Upasika Community

If you would like information about The Upasika Community and how you can be involved, please contact Fred Kral ( or Ajahn Amaro (


If you are interested in ride-sharing, either in offering rides or needing rides, we'd like to try to encourage this. To carpool to Abhayagiri, to the San Francisco sitting, or to the weekly East Bay sittings, please contact Upasaka Kondañña (Barry Kapke), who will try to coordinate ridesharing, at (925) 689-7238 or email to

Supporting the Monastic Presence

Abhayagiri Monastery in Redwood Valley CA is the first monastery in the Thai Forest Sangha tradition of Ajahn Cha in North America. If you value the presence of monastics, and the rich opportunity to learn and benefit from the monastic lifestyle, please do what you can to support Abhayagiri. As a lay practitioner, there are many ways to help.

This Webspace is donated by DharmaNet International and is maintained by U Kondañña (Barry Kapke).

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