Tuesday, December 1 through Thursday, December 10, 2015 The Monastery is closed for the Winter Monastic Retreat.
Friday, December 8, 2015 10:30am Festival of the Buddha's Enlightenment This important festival celebrates Shakyamuni Buddha's moment of spiritual awakening under the Bodhi tree in ancient India as he gazed at the morning star rising in the eastern sky. In Zen monasteries, Rohatsu, the winter weeklong monastic retreat commemorating that event, usually precedes it.
Friday, December 11, 2015 Monastery reopens.
Sunday, December 13, 2015 10:30am Transfer of Merit Ceremony The offering of merit is a tradition that goes back to the time of the Buddha himself. In this ceremony we offer merit to all those in need, known and unknown.
Creating Merit Rev. Master Meian Elbert Listen/Download
Merit is Just a Word Until You Give It Away Rev. Master Oswin Hollenbeck Listen/Download
Ten Ways of Transferring Merit Part 1 Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett Listen/Download
Ten Ways of Transferring Merit Part 2 Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett Listen/Download
The Transfer of Merit and Willingness Rev. Master Meian Elbert Listen/Download
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 10:30am Renewal of Vows Ceremony We renew our commitment to the Precepts as we take the Bodhisattva Vows in this twice monthly ceremony.
The Scripture of Brahma's Net -The Precepts Listen/Download
Sunday, December 20, 2015 Ceremony of Offering and Gratitude 10:30am Gratitude is a hallmark of Buddhist practice. Please join us as we receive with gratitude the offerings of our donors.
Thursday, December 24, 2015 7:00pm Festival of the Eve of Enlightenment This festive ceremony of readings and invocations, celebrating the Buddha's Enlightenment, is followed by a celebratory tea in the Skandha Hall.
Ceremony of the Eve of the Buddha's Enlightenment Link to Ceremony Invocations
Friday, December 25, 2015 10:30am Festival of the Buddha's Enlightenment This important festival celebrates Shakyamuni Buddha's moment of spiritual awakening under the Bodhi tree in ancient India as he gazed at the morning star rising in the eastern sky. In Zen monasteries, Rohatsu, the winter weeklong monastic retreat commemorating that event, usually precedes it.
Festival of the Buddha's Enlightenment on December 25th Link to Ceremony Invocations
Sunday, December 27, 2015 10:30am Festival of the Avatamsaka The focus of this festival is the Avatamsaka(Flower Garland) Sutra, regarded as the crowning work and expression of Mahayana Buddhism. This Scripture describes in detail the site of the Buddha's enlightenment, especially the countless beings present. Pre-eminent is Vairochana Buddha through whom most of the teachings are voiced. Also prominent are Maitreya, Manjusri, Samantabhadra, and other Bodhisattvas who exemplify and embody the extent of the Bodhisattva vow of training.
The Avatamsaka Scripture: The Larger View Rev. Master Meian Elbert Listen/Download
Festival of the Avatamsaka Scripture Listen/Download
If you have previously attended an Introductory Retreat, we invite you to join us for this retreat of meditation, ceremonies and celebration when we gather together as members of the Buddha’s family to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new year. During this retreat, we reflect on and offer gratitude to the Buddhas and Ancestors for their teaching and help in the past year and we ask for their continued help in the year to come. After our potluck on New Year’s Eve, we meditate and hold a Vigil for Maitreya, the Buddha Who is to Come, as well as the midnight New Year’s Ceremony, followed by ringing in the New Year with the great bell. The retreat ends on January 1, and you are welcome to stay overnight until January 2
Wednesday, December 30, 2015 10:30am Renewal of Vows We renew our commitment to the Precepts as we take the Bodhisattva Vows in this twice monthly ceremony.
The Scripture of Brahma's Net -The Precepts Listen/Download
Thursday, December 31, 2015 9:45pm Vigil of Maitreya New Year's Eve Ceremony
Thursday, December 31, 2015 11:30pm New Year's Eve Ceremony The New Year Ceremony provides an opportunity to reflect on the past year and to establish our direction for the year ahead. The celebrant "revolves" the Scripture of Great Wisdom, the Heart Sutra. This revolving reflects the movement of the heart of training within us, as the Teaching is "turned and given" to beings in all directions. Celebratory juice is offered as part of the ceremony. Afterwards the temple's main bell is rung 108 times by all present, signifying the myriad ways of breaking the Precepts and simultaneously the 108 ways of observing them - the means to enlightenment.
Festival of the New Year Listen/Download
Friday, January 1, 2016 10:30am Festival of Maitreya Maitreya- the Buddha Yet To Come - is the Buddha who will follow Shakyamuni Buddha in the future. The Maitreya Festival is traditionally celebrated on the first day of the new year. January 1 was also Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett's birthday, so the ceremony had a special significane for her.
Festival of Maitreya Bodhisattva Listen/Download
Hymns to Maitreya Reverend Master Daizui MacPhillamy Listen/Download
Saturday, January 2 through Monday, February 1, 2016 The Monastery is closed. We are most grateful for this opportunity for rest and renewal for the monastic community.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016 The Monastery re-opens.
Wednesday through Friday, February 3 - 5, 2016 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.
Series: Serene Reflection Meditation Series 1 Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett Link to List of Talks
Meditation and Practice: Our Great Wish Rev.Master Astor Douglas Listen/Download
Sunday, February 7, 2016 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 palace home and family in the city of Kapilavastu in northern 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 of "letting go" of the familiar and dare to launch into the unknown, not just once, but in each moment of meditation.
What Is Renunciation? Rev. Master Meian Elbert Listen/Download
On Renunciation Rev. Master Hubert Nearman Listen/Download
Renunciation and the Mind Rev. Master Meian Elbert Listen/Download
Friday through Sunday, February 12 - 14, 2016 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.
Orientation to Shasta Abbey Retreats
Typical Introductory Retreat Schedule
Reflections on Aspects of Meditation Rev. Master Daishin Yalon Listen/Download 10/11/09
More Reflections on Aspects of Meditation Rev. Master Daishin Yalon Listen/Download 10/25/09
Everyday Mind is the Way Reverend Master Daizui MacPhillamy Listen/Download
Introduction to Serene Reflection Meditation Various articles Read/Download
Sunday, February 14, 2016 10:30am Festival of Avalokiteshwara Bodhisattva Avalokiteshwara, "Regarder of the Cries of the World", is the Bodhisattva of Compassion and Mercy. She is dedicated to assuming whatever form is necessary to help living beings on their way to the Other Shore, Nirvana. Appearing sometimes female, sometimes male, in accordance with this vow, Great Compassion is ultimately beyond all opposites. She often holds with one hand a lotus blossom, symbol of training and enlightenment, and pours out from a 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.
Opening Up To Compassion Rev. Master Meian Elbert Listen/Download
A Subtler Compassion Rev. Master Daishin Yalon Listen/Download
Wednesday, February 17, through Thursday, February 18, 2016 Great Renewal of Vows
Sunday, February 21, 2016 10:30am Festival of The Buddha's Parinirvana This most solemn ceremony of the Buddhist year celebrates the historial Buddha Shakyamuni's entry into eternal meditation - Parinirvana. The ceremony dramatically illustrates the seeming darkness that engulfs us at the death of a great teacher (or our own death), the assurance of the Teaching's "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 community and the congregation, collecting up wishes and hopes for the return of the Light of the Dharma, both externally in the world and internally in our own hearts.
The Teaching of the Parinirvana Ceremony Rev. Master Ando Mueller Listen/Download
Reflections on the Scripture of the Buddha's Last Teachings Rev. Master Jisho Perry Listen/Download
Within All Darkness There Is Light Rev. Master Kodo Kay Listen/Download
Friday, February 26 through Sunday, February 28, 2016 Continuing Practice Retreat
Buddhist Precepts - Guides for Everyday Life Retreat The Precepts are an integral part of our Buddhist practice and are guidelines for how to live our lives in tune with our True Nature. Dharma talks and discus- sions will focus on how to understand more deeply what the Precepts are, and how, together with meditation and mindfulness, they show us the way to the cessation of suffering. We will also explore how to put them into practice in our daily lives and what it means to formally take the Precepts at Jukai.
A History of the Precepts Reverend Master Daizui MacPhillamy Listen/Download
On the Precepts Reverend Master Daizui MacPhillamy Listen/Download
Sunday, February 28, 2016 10:30am Festival of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva 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 the symbol of purity in the East and the six tusks represent the six paramita practices which a Bodhisattva cultivates on her or his way to the Other Shore, Buddhahood.
Samantabhadra Rev. Master Chosei Swann Listen/Download
A Turn of the Head is the Other Shore Rev. Master Kodo Kay Listen/Download
Samantabhadra Pervades All Things Rev. Master Meian Elbert Listen/Download