Nestled in the Columbia River Gorge along a forested stretch of White Salmon's Jewett Creek is the home of a small group of Theravada Buddhist monks. The Pacific Hermitage is a branch of Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California.
Established in the summer of 2010, the Hermitage is a place of solitude for these monks who devote their lives to meditation and simple living. The monks walk daily through the town of White Salmon to accept donations of food, and are available to the community as a spiritual resource. They also teach and lead Buddhist meditation locally and in the region.
Abhayagiri Monastery is the first monastery in the United States to be established by followers of Ajahn Chah, a respected Buddhist master of the Thai Forest Tradition of Theravada Buddhism.
Ajahn spent the summer of 2007 together with Ajahn Karunadhammo in the Columbia River Gorge on retreat in an impromptu forest hermitage supported by the Portland Friends of the Dhamma. Later he was asked by the Abhayagiri community to lead the effort to establish the Pacific Hermitage in 2010.
Tan Thitābho was born in Tucson, Arizona in 1985. While attending the University of Arizona and working on a Bachelor of Fine Arts, he began reading about Buddhism and practicing meditation. At that time, a strong interest to ordain arose in him, and after discovering the western branch monasteries in the Ajahn Chah tradition, he came to visit Abhayagiri in August of 2004. Tan Thitābho continued to stay on at the monastery and after training for two years as an Anāgārika and Sāmaṇera, he received the higher ordination, becoming a fully ordained Bhikkhu on April 22, 2007. Tan Thitābho spent one year training in Thailand from 2009-2010 and is now living at Pacific Hermitage.