Posted on 4/21/13
On Tuesday, April 9, Rev. Master Jisho was celebrant at the Memorial for James and Mary Kiel, parents of Larry and Hue Kiel. Members of the congregation, as well as the community of monks, attended. Following the ceremony, Rev. Master Jisho and Marie Mitchell accompanied Larry, Hue and members of their family to spend some time on Mount Shasta.
When they returned the family shared a convivial lunch with the monks and our lay residents.
On Wednesday, April 10, Rev. Master Haryo was celebrant for the Memorial for Rev. Master Chushin Passmore who died
in early March in Wales. Rev. Master Chushin was ordained by Rev. Master Jiyu in 1977 and trained at Shasta Abbey until the 1980s, and we welcomed him to the Abbey several times in later years. The Memorial included some of the beautiful ceremonial music written by Rev. Master Chushin, as well as a recording of him singing his invocation, All Is One.
Rev. Master Meiten, Founder and Prior of the Vancouver Island Zen Sangha visited with us during the week from April 4 through April 11. It was a delightful visit that included celebration of her 87th birthday, complete with cake and ice cream!
Posted on 4/4/13
On Wednesday, February 27, Rev. Master Ando gave the Precepts to Daniel William Dirck before he returned to his home in Chicago.
RM Serena visited with the Chico Serene Reflection Meditation Group March 6 - 7. She stayed at the Sky Creek Dharma Center, talked with the Group on Wednesday evening, and had an early brunch with Group members on Thursday morning.
RM Daishin led a retreat with the Bear River Meditation Group on Saturday, March 16, giving a talk on the Four Wisdoms.
Rev. Renee offered the animal shelter blessing for the animals and staff at the Siskiyou Humane Society. We try to do this once a month, and all present, animals, staff and monks, seem to benefit greatly from the blessing and offering of merit.
At Jukai this year, during the week of ceremonies that make up the Keeping of the Ten Precepts Retreat, we welcomed sixteen new lay ordinands into the family of the Buddhas and Ancestors, including Marjorie Lovering Black, Natalie Jo Camino, Laura Masin Clark, MaryAnn Katharine Czermak, Camari Forslind, Jonathan David Geisert, Christopher William Hart, Rebekah Lynn Hedemann, George Herschel McMullen, Judith Anne McMullen, Walter Stanley Powers, Linda Carol Sanchez, Robert Joseph Sanchez, Martin Robert Sochet, Trinity Nicole Treat and Jennifer Leigh VanVolkinburg. All who participated in this year’s Jukai, monks and laity alike, appreciated the opportunity to renew their commitment to the Precepts and re-dedicate themselves to the practice. We congratulate our new lay Buddhists on this taking this serious, yet joyful, step in their training. We will have pictures here soon.
Posted on 2/27/13
On Saturday, February 23 Rev. Master Meian was celebrant at a Memorial for Luke Lambert, 26, who died in January. More than 50 people attended, including his mother, Linda, who lives in Mount Shasta. Luke’s father, Roy Lambert, a former congregation member, died a year ago.
We are sorry to tell you that after much reflection, Rev. Berthold Olson returned to lay life on Sunday, February 24. He was a monk with us for 22 years and had been practicing in this tradition since 1976. We are grateful for his many years of monastic training, his generous teaching and his many offerings to the monastic and lay Sangha, and we wish him well as he takes this next step in his training. He intends to visit the Abbey from time to time, and we will always be glad to see him.
On Tuesday, February 26, Rev. Master Shiko was celebrant at the funeral for Marilyn Sparks. Her husband, Roger, brought her ashes from Vancouver, Canada, where they have been part of the Lions Gate Priory congregation for many years. It was a beautiful ceremony, and as always, we were honored to be asked to do it.
Posted on 2/11/13
Sherry Ackerman and Polly Robinson presented a lovely concert of holiday music and Buddhist poetry for us on Thursday, December 27. The recorder music and the readings were very well received. We are most grateful for this generous offering of time and talent.
Over the Christmas holidays our area received close to 4 feet of snow! Our New Year Celebratory Retreat was certainly snow-covered, but with a significant shoveling effort out by our big bell, all were able to ring in the New Year shortly after midnight.
We are most grateful for the opportunity to spend January in quiet reflection and reduced activity. Thank you for the generosity that allowed us to take this much appreciated renewal time. Now we are happy to begin our spring training term with all that it brings us.
We congratulate Rev. Master Oswin Hollenbeck as he takes on the position of OBC Executive Secretary. And we are delighted that Rev. Master Scholastica is “returning” to the Shasta Abbey community.
Over the weekend of February 8 - 10 twenty-two lay people participated in our first Introductory Retreat of 2013. We appreciated their keenness in keeping to the retreat schedule, as well as the help they gave the Abbey in stacking wood and helping in the kitchen, sacristy and the guesthouse.
Posted on 12/21/12
At evening tea on 13th December Rev. Master Meian, with the blessing of Rev. Master Haryo and the other masters of the monastery, named Rev. Serena Seidner as a Master of the Order and presented her with a Master's tassel. We congratulate Rev. Master Serena as she takes this next step in her training.
Rev. Master Daishin and Rev. Enya visited the Bear River Meditation Group for a Potluck and Giving Ceremony on December 17th. The Group gathered at the Applegate Community Center for a delightful meal. Following this, Rev. Master Daishin was celebrant at the annual Giving Ceremony in which offerings to the Abbey are made. The offerings came in many forms: food for both Abbey monks and animals, clothing, toiletries, office supplies and more. Rev. Master Daishin then gave a Dharma talk. We are very grateful for the hospitality shown to the visiting monks, as well as for the most generous offerings provided.
We wish you joy for the holidays and blessings in the New Year.
Posted on 12/12/12
The monastic community held the traditional Rohatsu Retreat from December 1 - 8 in preparation for the Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment on December 8th. We put down our various monastic responsibilities to sit singlemindedly, as
far as possible for seven days, celebrating the Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment on the 8th, which was the end of our Fall Monastic Term. We are grateful for your kindness and the generosity that allows us to take this “sweet time of meditation.
We are delighted that as of December 1st, Rev. Margaret Clyde has officially
taken up residence here. She had been at the Portland Priory since 2009.
Posted on 10/22/12
Alex Platt entered the postulancy on September 25th. We wish him all the best as he takes this step toward monastic ordination.
The October 5 -7 Introductory Retreat was held in beautiful weather for 11 lay guests. The retreat participants were quite keen throughout the weekend which ended with the Festival of Bodhidharma Bodhisattva, Rev. Master Jisho’s Dharma Talk, Looking At What The Mind Really Is, and tea at the picnic area.
A number of monks were traveling during the first two weeks in October:
*Rev. Master Meian and Rev. Master Daishin attended the Soto Zen Buddhismt Association Conference at Great Vow Monastery October 3 - 7. There were almost ninety participants, and many of the discussions focussed on the training of Soto Zen Buddhist priests in the West. It was a pleasure to reconnect with old friends from other lineages and meet new ones. Rev. Amanda accompanied our two monks and was able to spend time with Rev. Master Meiko at the Portland Buddhist Priory.
* Rev. Master Jisho and Rev. Berthold, seven Roman Catholic Benedictine and Trappist monks, six other Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist monks met at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas from October 8-12, 2012 in a interfaith gathering: Monks in the West III. Sponsored by Monastic Interreligious Dialogue and four Buddhist organizations and monasteries, this retreat was the third in a series of dialogues that began in 2006. Participants enjoyed conversation, liturgy, meditations, meals and walks, as well as a visit to Abhayagiri Forest Monastery. Topics included how monks and lay trainees are formed in our different traditions, the aging of monastic communities, senior monk burnout and the right use of technology. Future gatherings are planned and the exchange was both refreshing and strengthening of the resolution to serve both God and the Buddha with wisdom and compassion.
*Rev. Master Meian and Rev. Valora visited the Chico Meditation Group on October 12-13, for a potluck meal on Friday evening followed by a Dharma discussion, and meditation, Morning Service, breakfast and a discussion on Saturday morning.
*Rev. Astor led a half day retreat on October 13 for the Bear River Meditation Group. The day began with meditation and the Avalokiteshwara Bodhisattva ceremony. She then shared photos from the Sakyadhita Conference held last June in Thailand. The theme of the conference was "Leading to Liberation". It was attended by about 200 female monastics from around the world, most from Eastern Asia. The conference was held in a large garden temple in the midst of Bangkok. Reverend Astor also shared some of the many experiences she had that relate to Dharma practice. The morning retreat was followed by lunch and a walk along the North Fork of the American River..
*Rev. Master Ando visited the Susanville Group at the Zephyr Forest Dharma Center over the weekend of October 12-14. She offered a retreat on Saturday.
We offer our heartfelt congratulations to Rev. Master Astor and Rev. Master Scholastica who were named Masters of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives on October 19.
Posted on 9/25/12
On Saturday, September 22, the Friends of Shasta Abbey (FOSA) organized a workday at the Abbey. We are most grateful for all the help in moving firewood and cleaning the grounds, as well as putting up the last two solar panels
of our new Guesthouse building. FOSA also provided a tasty lunch which we all enjoyed together outside at the picnic tables.
Rev. Vivian is visiting Throssel Hole Buddhist Monastery for six months. This is a wonderful opportunity for her to get to know our Dharma family better.
We’ve welcomed RM Oswin from the Eugene Buddhist Priory and his disciple Rev. Allard, who will be with us here at the Abbey for the next year. We are grateful to have them train here with us.
Posted on 8/28/12
Rev. Master Daishin was celebrant for the funeral for Albert William Spence III held on August 15. One of Mr. Spence’s daughters and two of his grandsons from Northern California, as well as a dear friend from Maine, attended and spoke of how deeply moved they were by the ceremony.
On August 17, the 49th day since her death, we celebrated a Memorial for Rowena Muirhead, a much loved former monk here at the Abbey. Rev. Master Meian was celebrant.
On Saturday, August 18, monks and lay friends enjoyed an invigorating walk by Lake Siskiyou followed by a picnic lunch by the side of the lake. The smoke held off and the morning was pleasantly cool. The annual Sangha Walk has become a delightful tradition that we all look forward to.
Rev. Master Daishin, Rev. Master Jisho, Rev. Scholastica and Rev. Enya attended John Kieres’ ordination at the Eugene Buddhist Priory on August 19. Rev. Master Oswin gave his first monastic disciple the name Houn Allard, which means Noble Steadfastness within the Dharma Cloud. We congratulate both Rev. Master Oswin and Rev. Allard and wish them many years of training together.
During the week of August 19 - 26 Rev. Master Kinrei, the Prior of the Berkeley Buddhist Priory, led the Teachings of Great Master Bodhidharma Retreat. 18 retreat guests, and a number of our local congregation members, attended the Dharma Talks and discussions, and participated in the retreat schedule. The Dharma Talks are available online by clicking here. We are very grateful for Rev. Master Kinrei’s generous teaching during this retreat.
On Saturday, August 25th, we had a funeral for our cat Yum Yum, who died of kidney failure at the age of 14. Her fellow resident of the Sangha House, Katisha, died on August 7th, so it’s been a double loss.
Posted on 8/18/12
Two Chinese bikkhunis, Ven. Fa Weh and Ven. Zu Zai, visited the Abbey from August 3—7. They participated in the Abbey schedule, coming to monks’ tea and offering a lovely meal to the community. They did a bit of sight-seeing, including taking a boat ride on Lake Siskiyou with Rev. Alethea, Rev. Vivian, and Rev. Chandra. We were very grateful for their training with us, and for their generosity.
On Tuesday, August 7, Rev. Master Haryo returned to the Abbey after being at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey since August of last year. We welcome him back with joy!
On Wednesday and Thursday, August 8 and 9, Rev. Berthold visited the Chico Serene Reflection Meditation Group. He offered a Dharma Talk to the group, and enjoyed picking 300 pounds of plums with members of the group at Roger Trent’s orchard. Needless to say, there were many monks waiting at the Abbey kitchen to help unload this very kind offering when Rev. Berthold returned to the monastery.
On Saturday, August 11, we welcomed two busloads of Vietnamese visitors from the Bay Area. The 110 visitors arrived mid-morning and went immediately to the Buddha Hall to offer bows and chanting and to hear a Dharma Talk given by Rev. Master Daishin. The group then had a picnic lunch with the community and left the Abbey mid-afternoon. We are most grateful for their visit, as well as for their generous offerings to us. This has been an annual event for the last few years, and we all greatly enjoy the visit. It is a great blessing for us all.
On Monday evening, August 13, Sherry Ackerman, Pauli Robinson and Ron Hart presented a chamber music recital for Rev. Master Hubert. Rev. Alethea, Rev. Vivian, Rev. Chandra, Rev. Helen, Rev. Amanda and Rev. Bridin also attended. The elegant concert was held at Sherry’s home and included recorder dances and three pieces by William Byrd for clarinet, harpsichord and recorder. Following the musical presentation all enjoyed a tasty blackberry dessert and herbal teas.
Posted on 7/24/12
We are making great progress with our new Guesthouse building. Rev. Master Daishin and Rev. Master Chosei, with help from our lay friends, completed the basic roof and have finished the basic structure of the porch and entryway.
On Saturday, July 21st, Rev. Master Ando offered a full day retreat for the Bear River Meditation Group that included periods of meditation and ceremony, a Dharma talk on The Scripture of Great Wisdom with open discussion and questions, and a potluck lunch. Ten group members attended the event held at the Applegate Community Center.
On Monday, July 23rd, Rev. Helen spent the morning at the Shasta Methodist Camp talking about Buddhism with 30 Methodist pastors and congregation members from Northern California and Nevada. The group ranged in age from teens to a sprightly 70. They asked insightful questions and, in true Wesleyan spirit, sang the Dedication of Merit, The Metta Sutra, and May All Beings Be Happy with gusto and joy!
Posted on 7/17/12
We are making progress with our new Guesthouse
building. Our externs sacristans, Rev. Master Daishin
and Rev. Master Chosei - with help from our lay friends
- have put up the walls and are working on the roof
of this new addition to our Guesthouse.
Over the past few years the Abbey has been working to increase
our use of solar energy, and our target for this year was our Guest House, Vimalakirti Hall. Our intent was to add solar panels to the
existing array on the roof. Sounds simple. Upon investigation we
learned that in order to add that much weight to the roof we
would have to do a considerable amount of excavation inside the
building to provide the necessary foundation support. That was
not an attractive choice since it would make part of the guest
house unusable during the summer, so we began to look at
alternatives. The first was to build a large structure to hold the
panels, a simple but not particularly attractive solution. Then
someone suggested that we add a small building next to the guest house, put the panels on the roof, thus
creating two offices for the Guestmasters and freeing up the current offices for use as guest rooms. Lemons
into lemonade! Construction is now underway and we are all very pleased to have found a solution that offers
us a beautiful new building and increases the number of guest room.
On Saturday, July 7, Rev. Master Jisho was celebrant for an animal funeral for Steve and Eloise Larsen’s dog, Ernie, who died after a long illness. Ernie was a little pug with a big heart, who endeared himself to many of us.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, July 10 -11, Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, of Chico Hospital for Cats and the Cat Hospital of Portland offered a clinic for the Abbey cats. We are grateful for her professional expertise and her compassionate care.
From Tuesday, July 10 through Sunday, July 15 seventeen lay friends ranging in age from young to old took part in the Introduction to Silent Meditation Retreat. The retreat started with meditation instruction, and throughout the retreat there were opportunities to ask questions about meditation and to check meditation postures. Participants heard Dharma Talks that introduced them to the basics of Buddhism, and they spent time in working meditation helping with firewood, in Sacristy and the Guesthouse, and in the kitchen. We are grateful for their contributions to the upkeep of the monastery.
Rev. Master Oswin recently came for a 12-day visit, and Rev. Alethea is staying with us for about a month. As always, we have enjoyed having our fellow monks come and spend some time with us.
Posted on 7/07/12
Members of the Bear River Meditation Group - Jan Phillips, Andrea Spark and Pam Johnson - spent 4 days at the Abbey from June 28 - July 1 to help reorganize our library. They installed new shelving and rearranged the old, making books more accessible. They put in new lighting, as well as a backup system for the library computer. There is still further work to do but the library now is a much more spacious and welcoming place to read and study the Dharma. We are very grateful for this most generous offering.
On July 3, Rev. Amanda was celebrant for JoAnn Keifer’s dog Boo’s Memorial. Boo, who was 15-years old, died at the end of June. Following the ceremony participants had tea and 4th of July cupcakes with lots of the frosting that Boo so much enjoyed.
On July 4 we celebrated Independence Day with the Festival of the Fourth of July in the morning, and then a festive picnic in the afternoon. Over 50 people joined us in the picnic area to enjoy a potluck meal and the delights of the Sangha treasure.
Posted on 06/26/12
We hope you can join for our two Meditation Retreats in July. Please check the calendar or contact the Guestmaster with any questions you have about these upcomng retreats.
July 10 – 15, 2012
Introduction to Serene Reflection Meditation 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.
July 25 – 29, 2012
Serene Reflection Meditation Retreat
“Just sitting” — meditation — is one of the pillars of Soto Zen Buddhism. It is a powerful means of transforming the three poisons of greed, anger, and delusion in order to bring compassion, love, and wisdom to our daily lives. This retreat provides formal meditation periods throughout the day, as well as opportunities to ask questions about your meditation posture and practice.
Posted on 06/25/12
Our dear old dog, Moggi, died on June 16th. Rev. Enya was with him as he died peacefully at the Compassionate Friend Hermitage. Moggi was one of Miriam King’s dogs who came to us when she died and left her property to us to become the Hermitage. He was a bright and cheerful presence here at the Abbey over the many years he was with us, despite old age and and poor health in his latter years. A number of monks went out to the Hermitage for his funeral, with Rev. Master Daishin as celebrant, and he was buried there, at his former home.
During the week of June 17-24 twenty four lay friends stayed at the Abbey for The Teachings of Reverend Master Jiyu Kennett Retreat. Several others stayed in Mount Shasta and came to the Abbey for the retreat activities. During the retreat, Rev. Masters Meian, Daishin, Jisho, Ando, Shiko and Kodo offered reflections on her teachings, her training and her life, with particular emphasis on their relevance to our daily practice in 2012. Informal discussions were also held that also included those senior teachers as well as Rev. Master Chosei, Rev. Astor, and Rev. Scholastica. On Saturday we held a Memorial Ceremony for Reverend Master Jiyu, including a Stupa circumambulation, and an evening presentation that included video clips of Reverend Master and the Great Enlightenment slideshow. The retreat ended on Sunday, June 24, with a social brunch for all retreat participants and lay congregation from Mount Shasta. The whole week was an expression of deep gratitude on the part of all who attended. The retreat Dharma Talks are available by clicking here.
The new Order of Buddhist Contemplatives' website is avaiable at http://obcon.org/. It is an excellent source of information on the OBC, as well as offerings ofthe Dharma in a range of essays and audio Dharma Talks.
Posted on 06/17/12
This is a sketch of the new solar office building currently under construction nex to the guest house.
Over the past few years the Abbey has been working to increase our use of solar energy, and our target for this year was our Guest House, Vimalakirti Hall. Our intent was to add solar panels to the existing array on the roof. Sounds simple. Upon investigation we learned that in order to add that much weight to the roof we would have to do a
considerable amount of excavation inside the building to provide the necessary foundation support. That was not an attractive choice since it would make part of the guest house unusable during the summer, so we began to look at alternatives. The first was to build a large structure to hold the panels, a simple but not particularly attractive solution. Then someone suggested that we add a small building next to the guest house, put the panels on the roof, thus creating two offices for the Guestmasters and freeing up the current offices for use as guest rooms. Lemons into lemonade! Construction is now underway and we are all very pleased to have found a solution that offers us a beautiful new building and increases the number of guest room.
Posted on 06/15/12
On May 31, 2012, Rev. Vivian Gruenenfelder flew to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for a visit with Rev. Zuiko Redding, resident teacher at the Cedar Rapids Zen Center. Rev. Vivian was guest at the Center's Saturday night potluck, and gave the Dharma talk on Sunday morning. She also participated in the Sunday afternoon Dharma class for children, and on Monday evening spoke with the congregation about Shasta Abbey and our monastic practice. On Tuesday, 5 June, she and Rev. Zuiko drove to the Milwaukee Zen Center, where they were hosted by Rev. Tonen O'Connor and participated in the schedule with their congregation. On Wednesday evening Rev. Vivian spoke with the congregation about Shasta Abbey and monastic practice here. This was a time of very rich mutual exchange between monks and lay congregations who have deep respect for each others' lives and practices.
On June 6 and 7th Rev. Serena visited the Chico Serene Reflection Meditation Group and gave a talk on "All-acceptance is the key to the Gateless Gate" at the Sky Creek Dharma Center.
On Thursday, June 7th, Rev. Berthold met with the local Mount Shasta congregation to discuss the work of the OBC’s Interim Board. He reviewed how the board got formed at the 2010 conclave at Shasta Abbey, the work it did last year, how the 2011 conclave at Throssel went, and how it was coordinating the work coming from the decisions the monks made in response to the FaithTrust Institute’s recommendations for us. In a lively discussion the group focused on the work of the Lay Sangha Dialog and Communication working group and the differences between the European and North American lay sanghas. All who attended appreciated this opportunity to better understand the OBC.
On the evening of June 9th Reverend Master Jisho and Rev. Helen attended the Solemn Evensong and banquet in celebration of the 125th anniversary of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Mount Shasta and the Episcopal mission in Northern California. We appreciated the opportunity to offer congratulations to our friends and neighbors on this festive occasion
Posted on 06/05/12
Rev. Scholastica attended Rev. Brian Monzel’s Head Novice Ceremony at Lions Gate Buddhist Buddhist Priory on Dragon Flower Mountain in British Columbia, Canada. Rev. Brian is a monastic disciple of Rev. Master Koten Benson. Rev. Scholastica also traveled to Victoria, British Columbia, to the Vancouver Island Zen Sangha where she visited with the Resident Teacher, Rev. Master Meiten. Rev. Scholastica also had tea with, and got to know, the local congregation.
Rev. Master Jisho, Rev. Master Kodo and Rev. Master Ando visited Wallowa Buddhist Temple where they assisted Rev. Master Meido and Rev. Clairissa in a special monastic ceremony. On the way to and from Wallowa our monks had a chance to visit our monastic families at the Portland Buddhist Priory and the Eugene Buddhist Priory. We are grateful
for the generous hospitality offered at both temples.
Rev. Astor and Rev. Scholastica led the June Introductory Retreat for twenty seven attendees. All appreciated the meditation instruction and Dharma Talks, and were very helpful to the monastery as they put manure around the
fruit trees, chopped and stacked firewood, and helped out in the kitchen, Guest House and sacristy. It is through
the efforts of all who come to the monastery and shae in our working meditation that we are able to maintain the
fabric of the monastery and make this a peaceful and beautiful place to be.
Posted on 05/25/12
“On this glorious Wesak Day...” over the weekend of May 18 - 20 we held our Wesak Celebratory Retreat in honor of the birth, life, enlightenment and death of the Buddha. On Friday evening our lay friends offered a delightful evening of music and poetry. On Saturday afternoon we held the Vigil of Wesak Ceremony in which Rev. Master Meian renewed her commitment to offering the Dharma as Abbess here at Shasta Abbey. On Saturday evening the community, with Rev. Master Ando conducting, sang the joyous invocations of the Ceremony of the Eve of Wesak. In addition, readings were given by members of the lay Sangha and monks from Sir Edwin Arnold’s The Light of Asia. On Sunday we celebrated the joyous Wesak festival, followed by Rev. Master Meian’s Dharma Talk on Wesak: Openness of the Heart and the ringing of the Great Bell at the start of the Buddhist New Year. We then convived together under clear skies and warm sunlight at our Wesak picnic. After the picnic a number of us shared eclipse glasses we were given to view the rare solar eclipse visible in Mount Shasta, which turns out to have been one of the best viewing sites in the country. And we got our picture in the Mount Shasta Herald! Please click here to see it.
Rev. Renee and Rev. Chandra offered the Siskiyou Humane Society Animal Shelter Blessing on May 25th. The animals respond to this blessing, as do the Shelter staff. We are grateful for the opportunity to share the Dharma in this way.
A number of monks are visiting other temples of the OBC to attend ceremonies and visit our monastic families.
Posted on 05/13/12
Rev. Berthold attended the Interim Board Meeting at Pine Mountain Buddhist Temple, April 18-22. For five days the members of the interim board met together at Pine Mountain Buddhist Temple in southern California to review the Board’s operations and to look to its work in the coming year. Rev. Master Saido, Bob McGraw and Rev. Alicia flew over from the UK, Pam Hunter Johnson drove down from northern California, and Rev. Master Jigen joined the meetings from the UK via Internet connection. All agreed it was time well spent. Unfortunately Rev. Master Phoebe was not able to be with the group because of her mother’s death.
Rev. Astor gave the Precepts to Doreen Domb on Friday, May 11. Doreen is a member of the Bear River Meditation Group and Group members Pam Johnson and Andrea Spark attended this joyful event.
Friends of Shasta Abbey (FOSA) held a Work Day on Saturday, May 12, to decorate and spruce up the Abbey for Wesak. The Temple now sparkles with colorful flags as we prepare for Wesak - the start of the Buddhist New Year and the glorious celebration of the Buddha’s birth, life, enlightenment and death. We will celebrate Wesak next weekend, May 18-20.
Rev. Vivian and Rev. Amanda visited the Sky Creek Dharma Center, Chico over the weekend of May 11 - 13. Rev. Vivian gave a Public Dharma Talk on May 11 on "Buddhism and Gender: Embracing the Feminine."10 people attended.
The next day Rev. Vivian and Rev. Amanda led a day-long retreat on Women in Buddhism.
Zephyr Forest Sangha in Susanville, CA, welcomed Rev. Scholastica over the weekend of May 11 -12. She gave a Dharma Talk on Compassion on Friday evening, and then on Saturday she led a half-day retreat that included a Dharma Talk, again on aspects of Compassion, meditation and spiritual counseling.
This weekend also marked the end of an era. On Friday morning our huge, rusty 10,000 gallon water tank, which lived for about twenty years by the Visitors’ Gate, was taken away for scrap metal. It was originally intended to provide emergency water in case of a fire, either on the Abbey grounds or nearby; but it proved unusable. We have had a long story of trying to find it a better home than with us, and we are happy that it can now serve a good purpose. Pictures will be avalable soon!
Posted on 05/06/12
We welcomed 21 attendees to the April Introductory Retreat. The enthusiastic group participated in the retreat schedule and celebrated the Festival of the Birth of the Buddha with us. They appreciated Rev. Master Meian’s Sunday Dharma Talk on Practicing No Separate Self.
Rev. Master Jisho visited the Bear River Meditation Group on Monday, April 9. Ten members attended the regular Monday Group meeting to meditate and recite the Surangama Litany. Rev. Master Jisho then spoke on this important Sutra and its relevance to our daily life. The following day he spoke at Professor Christine Vona’s Asian Culture class at Sierra College and answered questions about Buddhist practice.
The monastic community held the Spring Monastic Retreat from April 24 through April 30. We put our monastic responsibilities aside to focus on our meditation practice. We are very grateful for this opportunity. We also celebrated the end of the Spring 2012 Term with Rev. Veronica’s Head Novice ceremonies. In the morning she gave a Dharma talk
on the merit of first mind, and how we may keep to the mind of the beginner. In the afternoon we had her Head Novice Dharma Ceremony, during which she answered questions on a passage from Dogen’s “Instructions to the Chief Cook”:
A generous mind is one that is as firm as a rock and as limitless as the ocean, completely lacking in discrimination ... we must make our own personal understanding of this mind clear by writing it down, fully comprehending and learning it in everything we do in our ordinary life. We congratulate Rev. Veronica on her most successful completion of this Term.
On May 3rd Rev. Helen addressed Professor Kathy Krauss' World Religions Class at Rogue Community College in Grant's Pass and answered questions about Buddhist practice. The group of nearly 40 students asked insightful and intersting questions, and had the opportunity to experience our meditation practice for themselves.
On May 4th, eight monks attended the opening of the Heart Shrine Relic Tour at Tara’s Refuge in Mount Shasta. It was an interfaith event, at which members of several local religious groups made short presentations. Our monks sang the Dedication of Merit. It was a beautiful and joyful event.
On Saturday, April 7th, we held a funeral for Sam, Rosemary Dyke’s 19 year old cat, who died on April 5th. Rev. Helen was celebrant.
We have begun the planning for an addition a new building about 30 feet by 18 feet, close to the Guesthouse, that will provide support for the extra solar panels needed to supply the new Guesthouse boiler, as well as to provide more space for the Guesthouse offices. In doing so, we will open up two more rooms for guests in the Guesthouse itself. The work itself should start in early summer, and will be done in two phases: this year we will erect the building and install the solar panels, and next year we will work on the interior and finish the exterior.
During the week of March 25 – April 1 we held the Keeping of the Ten Precepts Retreat (Jukai). Jordan Clary, Trisha Elbert, Dan Evans, Michael Fritsch, Fran Gearhard, Uli LaRochelle, Michael Levy, Robert Moore, Kathleen Noonan, Joe Pulcinella, Don Reed, DeDe Spicher, Robert Uhl took this opportunity to take the Precepts and formally become a Buddhist. Others of our lay friends from as far away as Seattle took this opportunity to renew their commitment to Buddhist practice. Monks and laity participated 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. No matter how many times we may have attended the Ten Precepts Retreat, each year it seems to strike us anew with its beauty and joy.
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
Rev. Master Chosei led RM Rev. Master Daishin, Rev. Chandra, Rev. Renee and Kai Wang on this month’s Alms Round through the streets of Mount Shasta. For 2,500 years since the time of the Buddha, Buddhist monks have walked the Alms Round. This practice is said to create a field of merit for all sentient beings, an opportunity to show the true qualities of the heart. Freely giving from a generous heart loosens the grip of selfishness. Both donor and recipient are enriched by this practice. We are very grateful to be able to carry on this tradition in Mount Shasta. We are indebted to the officials and the community of Mount Shasta for allowing us to practice the ancient way of the Buddha. We walk,
with no expectations. Notice is given in advance in the Mount Shasta Herald. We also note the Alms Round day on
our monthly calendar.
Rev. Master Ando visited the Chico Serene Reflection Meditation Group on March 7 and 8. She spoke at the
Sky Creek Dharma Center on Wednesday. She alsomet with individual members of the Group for spiritual counseling.
On March 8th, twelve members of the Bear River Meditation Group went up to Shasta Abbey for a long weekend
retreat together. The time together included meditation, ceremonial, work periods and a number of Dharma talks
and discussions. The group met with Rev. Master Meian to ask questions that concerned their practice, the Abbey
and Buddhism in general. The group also had an afternoon Dharma talk and an evening tea with the meditation
group chaplains, Rev. Master Daishin, and Rev. Astor and Rev. Vivian. They participated in the Surangama Ceremony
held on Saturday and the Meditation Sunday events.
Rev. Helen, Rev. Amanda and Rev. Bridin were named Teachers of Buddhism on March 9. We warmly congratulate our three new Teachers on this next step in their training.
Rev. Master Meiko Jones arrived on March 16 with her German shepherd Doshin for a six-week stay. We are very
happy to have her here with us. When monks visit each other’s temples, we greatly enjoy being together and
Rev. Master Daishin Yalon led a retreat for the Bear River Meditation Group assisted by Rev. Bridin Rusins on Saturday, February 11. He spoke on “Sandokai”, one of our Morning Service scriptures. This teaching on the merging of unity and diversity (“all is One, and all is different”) was written in the 8th century by our 8th Chinese Ancestor, Sekito Kisen. The retreat was attended by 19 Group members and friends. The day included meditation periods interspersed with ceremony, Dharma, discussion and refreshments offered by our members, and was enjoyed by all. Thanks to all in the Group who provided generous hospitality for our monks.
Our first introductory retreat of the year was held over the weekend of February 10 - 12, when we celebrated the deeply meaningful Festival of the Buddha’s Parinivana. It was led by Rev. Master Shiko and Rev. Berthold and includedmore than 20 lay friends new to our practice.
Rev. Master Meian was celebrant for the Memorial Service for Roy Lambert, a long-time friend of the Abbey, held on February 25. About 175 family and friends attended this ceremony and enjoyed tea and conversation afterwards.
In January the monastery was closed. During this time the monastic community had an opportunity to rest, spend time together, study the Dharma and relax a bit. We started the Spring 2012 Term on February 1. Rev. Veronica entered the Meditation Hall as Head Novice with Rev. Valora as the Head Novice’s Assistant for the term. We wish them well as they take this important step in their training.
Jade Coyote entered the community as a postulant on February 3rd. We also wish her the best as she explores monastic life more deeply.
During this term we have begun a different weekly schedule: Monday is our regular rest day, and Thursday afternoons are also for rest. Sometimes this will change due to retreats, but this is our general schedule for now.
Rev. Chandra Ellis, from Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, arrived on February 13th for a stay of four and a half months. We are very happy to have her here training with us.
The Shasta Abbey Ethics Committee has changed its name to The Shasta Abbey Ethics Refuge. Rev. Master Jisho Perry, Rev. Vivian Gruenenfelder, Rev. Amanda Robertson, Gene Cleaver, and Eloise Larson continue on as members of the Refuge. Our stated purpose is 'to offer a Dharma refuge to anyone who has a current ethical concern within the Shasta Abbey Sangha, and to promote trust, truthfulness and harmony within the fourfold Sangha.' We are currently in the process of talking together to develop guidelines for our responses to concerns. We are happy to hear from anyone with a concern, a suggestion, advice, or questions. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, or any individual on the Refuge may be contacted directly.
The monastic community spent December 1 through the 8th in retreat preparing for the Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment on December 8th, the traditional commemoration of the awakening of Shakyamuni Buddha. During
this retreat, we put aside most monastic responsibilities to reflect on the teachings of Buddha and deepen our
training. We are grateful for the support of the Sangha that allows us to be able to take this time.
On the evening before the retreat started, about 9:30 pm, a strong windstorm in the area resulted in one of the tall trees on the property breaking off and crashing into the roof of the Bodhidharma Hall, one of our residences for monks. The tree hit the south side of the building, damaging the roof, the attic and the gutters. Thankfully no one was hurt, but there was some damage as framed pictures and plants fell to the floor. We submitted a claim to our insurance company and are pleased to know they will cover the costs of repairing the damages.
During the retreat we became aware of the presence of a bear on Abbey grounds, particularly around the compost area and the kitchen. We have taken steps to encourage our ursine friend to move on. We wish him well.
On December 17th Rev. Master Daishin was celebrant for the Memorial Service for Rosemary Mitchell, Marie Mitchell’s mother. And on December 20th Rev. Master Ando was celebrant for the Memorial Service for Anneliese Weiss, Uli LaRochelle’s mother. Memorials are offerings of merit that benefit those who offer the ceremony, as well as those for whom the ceremony is offered. Please contact Sacristan at email@example.com to make arrangements for a memorial if this seems good to do.
On December 18th the Four-fold Sangha held the Lay Donors’ Offering ceremony. This ceremony has its roots in the traditional ceremony held at the end of the Rains Retreat in the time of the Buddha. The monastic community received the generous offerings of our lay friends in a ceremony that included the passing of all the gifts by all in attendance.
Thank you for all the wonderful donations that you gave to us at the Offering Ceremony
and for your kindness and generosity during the past year.
We hope that you and your families will have an enjoyable holiday season
and that the coming year will bring you peace and happiness.
May your practice of the Buddha’s Way continue to help you and all those around you.
We look forward to another year of training together with you.
With Gratitude, The Community of Shasta Abbey