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What To Bring

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Visiting Arrow River

[arrow river sign]

Sign by Esko Parviainen

If you are thinking of making a visit to ARFH Please

  1. Read the relevant material in this section of the web-site
  2. Do not hesitate to ask a question.
  3. Make yourself aware of our policy on supporting the center with that which is freely given.
  4. Fill out the visitor's form .
  5. Please try and make your request well ahead of time. We have limited space and can very seldom accomodate last minute requests.
  6. If you require a pick-up from the airport or bus depot we request that you contribute $20 to cover the cost. Please pay the driver.

We eat together as a community for a single meal every day at 10:30 AM. We try and provide healthy balanced meals with some choice. Please note that we are unable to support specialized or eccentric diets and do not allow individuals to make separate meals for themselves. If you have some limited food allergies, please inform us ahead of time to check if we can manage with that.

What to Expect When you Visit Here

Physical Conditions

[buildings in field]

The Arrow River Forest Hermitage is located in Northern Ontario on 92 acres of forested land. We are fifty miles from the city of Thunder Bay in an undeveloped area off the grid. We have several buildings. Accomodations are best described as comfortable but rustic.

NOTE: There is no cell phone coverage in this area.

Go here for details about the facilities and environment.


At present Ajahn Punnadhammo is the only long-term resident monastic. Other monks or nuns may be staying here from time to time. There must always be one lay person serving as monastic steward, and often there are three or four additional people staying, especially in the summer. Sometimes a few more if people are willing to stay in tents or double up.

What Is Expected of Guests

Meditators are required to keep the eight precepts . Others are strongly encouraged to do so, but all must keep the five precepts in any case.
Dress and Deportment
Both sexes should dress modestly, especially in the meditation room. Guests are expected to behave in a restrained and gentle manner at all times.
Conditions here are rustic and can be very challenging for anyone who is not in good health. You should be capable of walking in rough terrain, handling firewood and buckets of water, using an outdoor toilet etc.
Care of the Facilities
It is expected guests will keep their kutis clean and will be conversant with fire-safety before using the wood-stove.
Helping Out
All guests should be willing to help out with community chores.
What to Bring
Guests should bring sufficient and proper clothing and footwear, their own medicines and toiletries etc. Please be sure to bring a clock or watch and a flashlight. It is helpful to bring a sleeping bag. We have posted a detailed list of suggestions for what to bring.

[interior of sala]

Various Reasons to Visit

As a small hermitage in a non-Buddhist country, Arrow River operates by dependence on a lay steward who lives here and takes care of the duties which monks cannot. This is an opportunity to live at the center for an extended period of time and to serve the Triple Gem. The duties are not time consuming and leave ample time for study and meditation. More information about stewardship at Arrow River.
Meditation Retreat
Arrow River occassionally offers group retreats but mostly we teach on an individual basis. Retreats of three-days to three-months can be scheduled by arrangement. More information about doing a meditation retreat at Arrow River.
Work Retreat
Other lay people are welcome to come and stay for short to medium periods if space is available. You can help with the on-going chores and meditate part-time. This is a good option for those not ready for more intense practise.

Duration of Stay

Work Retreat
As a general rule, visitors in this category will be accepted for a period of one-month only, with the possibility of extension, provided space is available, and by arrangement with the abbot.
Meditation Retreat
Length of stay will depend, in part, on previous experience. Those not having any prior experience with meditation retreats will be limited to three days only, allowing an additional day before and after the retreat, for a total of five days duration. In general, people with some experience will be allowed a stay of two weeks with ten days devoted to solitary practice, although longer retreats are possible with the abbot's permission. Note for retreatants: it is considered very important that you complete the time you commit for. All retreatants will be expected to attend daily interviews with the meditation teacher.
As it is useful to have continuity in this position, stewards will be accepted for an initial period of up to three months, with the possibility of extension, depending on space and other stewarding arrangements.

Fill out the Visitor's Form

Potential visitors to ARFH, please fill out the form for visitors. Thank you for helping us to keep organized.