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Retreat Calendar 2015





Annual 2015

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Upcoming Events
Dharma ChakraFriday, January 2 - February 1, 2015 The Monastery is closed as we take this time of renewal.

Dharma ChakraMonday, February 2, 2015 The Monastery reopens.

Dharma ChakraThursday, February 5, 2015 11:30am Surangama Ceremony

Dharma ChakraFriday through Sunday, February 6 - 8, 2015 Introductory Retreat What is Serene Reflection Meditation? And how is it helpful in meeting the demands of daily life? How important is it in the practice of Buddhism? An Introductory Retreat introduces guests new to Shasta Abbey to the Serene Reflection (Soto Zen) practice in a monastic setting. It provides down-to-earth help for taking this practice back into daily life outside the monastery gates. Within the monastic schedule, and in silence as much as possible, Introductory Retreats offer meditation instruction, short periods of seated meditation, Dharma Talks and informal discussions with time for questions. The retreat concludes with an informal tea for retreat guests, monks and our local congregation.

pdfIntroduction to Serene Reflection Meditation Various articles Read/Download


Dharma ChakraSunday, February 8, 2015 10:30am Festival of the Buddha's Renunciation
This ceremony honors one of the key events in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha - the leaving home of the young Prince Siddhartha in the 6th century BCE on his quest for the answer to suffering. Gautama, his family name by which he was known before his awakening, left his palatial home and family in the city of Kapilavastu in northen India at the age of 29 to begin a six-year search that eventually led to his enlightenment beneath the Bodhi tree. The ceremony reminds us of the necessity in training to "let go" of the familiar and dare to launch into the unknown, not just once, but in each moment of meditation. A picture on the altar often shows Siddhartha on his horse Kanthaka leaping over the palace walls in the secrecy of night.

audioFestival of the Buddha's Renunciation   Listen/Download

audioOn Renunciation Rev. Master Hubert Nearman    Listen/Download


Dharma ChakraWednesday, February 11 - Thursday, February 12, 2015 Great Renewal of Vows In four sessions over these two days we read the entire Brahma's Net Scripture. Morning sessions begin at 10:30am and afternoon sessions at 3:00pm.


Dharma ChakraSunday, February 15, 2015 10:30am Festival of the Buddha's Parinirvana (Death) This most solemn ceremony of the Buddhist year celebrates the historical Buddha Shakyamuni's entry into eternal meditation - Parinirvana. A picture or scroll on the altar usually depicts the Buddha lying on His right side beneath twin sala trees, surrounded by grieving disciples and a host of other beings. The ceremony dramatically illustrates the seeming darkness that engulfs us at the death of a great teacher (or our own death), the assurance of his or her "return" to the world, and the underlying certainty that the True Light, the Unborn Buddha Nature, can never die. During the ceremony the celebrant's assistants move with incense through the congregation, collecting up wishes and hopes for the return of the Light of the Dharma, both externally and internally in our own hearts.

audioFestival of the Buddha's Parinirvana   Listen/Download

audioThe Buddha's Last Words Rev. Master Meian Elbert    Listen/Download

audioThe Teaching of the Parinirvana Ceremony
Rev. Master Ando Mueller Listen/Download


Dharma ChakraTuesday, February 17 - Thursday, February 19, 2015 Silent Meditation Retreat
The focus of this retreat is very much on meditation: there are six or seven periods of meditation each day. Meals are eaten in silence. There are no Dharma talks or spiritual counseling. Monks are asked to put aside monastic office responsibilities as much as possible to go deeply into the heart of meditation. Lay participants likewise are invited to deepen their meditation in this quiet and reflective time. Committed practitioners who have spent time at the Abbey may consult the Guestmaster about attending a Three Day Meditation Retreat.


Dharma ChakraSunday, February 22, 2015 10:30am Festival of Avalokiteshwara
Avalokiteshwara, "Regarder of the Cries of the World", is the Bodhisattva of Compassion and mercy dedicated to assuming whatever form is necessary to help living beings on their way to the Other Shore - Nirvana. Appearing sometimes male, sometimes female, in accordance with this vow, Great Compassion is ultimately beyond all opposites. She holds with one hand a lotus blossom, symbol of training and enlightenment, and pours out froma vase in the other hand the sweet water of Compassion upon a troubled sea of suffering existence. Avalokiteshwara represents our willingness to train ourselves for the benefit of others and to help beings however we can.

audioFestival of Avalokiteshwara Bodhisattva    Listen/Download

audio On the Bodhisattva of Compassion Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett Listen/Download


Dharma ChakraThursday, February 26, 2015 10:30am Renewal of Vows Ceremony


Dharma ChakraFriday, February 27 - March 1, 2015 10:30am Continuing Practice Retreat
This retreat is offered for anyone who has been to at least one Introductory Retreat at Shasta Abbey. Dharma talks and discussions will focus on strengthening our meditation practice and deepening our understanding of how to bring the Bud- dha’s teaching into our daily lives at home, at work, in our relationships and in our communities. Private spiritual counseling will also be offered.


Dharma ChakraSunday, March 8, 2015 10:30am Festival of Samantabhadra Samantabhadra is the personification of Great Love, particularly as it is expressed through the activity of one who has taken the Bodhisattva vow. Her name means Full of Virtue, Universal Love, or Universal Goodness. Samantabhadra rides a white elephant with six tusks: the white elephant is a symbol of purity and the six tusks can represent the six paramitas or perfections which a Bodhisattva cultivates on his or her way to Buddhahood.

audioSamantabhadra Rev. Master Chosei Swann Listen/Download

audioFestival of Samanatabhadra Bodhisattva    Listen/Download


Dharma ChakraTuesday, March 10 - Thursday, March 12, 2015 Silent Meditation Retreat
The focus of this retreat is very much on meditation: there are six or seven periods of meditation each day. Meals are eaten in silence. There are no Dharma talks or spiritual counseling. Monks are asked to put aside monastic office responsibilities as much as possible to go deeply into the heart of meditation. Lay participants likewise are invited to deepen their meditation in this quiet and reflective time. Committed practitioners who have spent time at the Abbey may consult the Guestmaster about attending a Three Day Meditation Retreat.

Dharma ChakraSunday, March 15, 2015 10:30am Festival of the Spring Equinox
The equinoxes are considered the times when things hold the most potential for change because all things are then equal - the best times for finding the Eternal. The Equinox ceremony is that of Feeding the HUngry Ghosts.

audioFestival of the Spring Equinox    Listen/Download

audioOn the Spring Equinox: Opportunity for Change  
 Rev. Master Ando Mueller   Listen/Download


Dharma ChakraSunday, March 22 - Sunday, March 29, 2015 Keeping of the Ten Precepts Retreat

All things, earth, trees, wooden posts, bricks and stones, become Buddhas once this Refuge is taken.
From these Precepts come forth such a wind and fire that all are driven into enlightenment
when the flames are fanned by the Buddha's influence.
This is the merit of non-action and non-seeking, the awakening to True Wisdom.

from Great Master Dogen's Shushogi


The annual tradition of Jukai at Shasta Abbey is an opportunity to formally become a Buddhist or to renew one's commitment. Monks and laity participate in five solemn and beautiful ceremonies over the course of a week of meditation and Dharma talks, clarifying what it means to receive and live the Buddhist Precepts. Dharma Talks and articles on the meaning of the Precepts and Becoming a Buddhist are available here.

audioWhat It Means to be a Buddhist Reverend Master Daizui MacPhillamy Listen/Download