Shasta Abbey is a Buddhist monastery in the Serene Reflection Meditation (Soto Zen) Tradition. A monastery of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, it was founded by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett in 1970 as a training place for Buddhist monastics and a place of practice for lay people. We offer the Dharma to all who wish to come.
There are four ways to come to the Abbey for the first time: having a tour of the grounds, attending a Sunday festival, coming for meditation instruction, or participating in an Introductory Retreat. Please call ahead or email the Guestmaster in advance if you wish to have a tour.
Please see the First Visit section
for the appropriate next steps if you are new to the Abbey.
The means of training are thousandfold, but pure meditation must be done.
Great Master Dogen Rules for Meditation
We particularly welcome those who would like to attend our retreats. We ask that all attend an Introductory Retreat before participating in any other retreats. Introductory Retreats provide an opportunity to learn more about the practice of Serene Reflection (Soto Zen). 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 your questions. They also provide down-to-earth suggestions for taking this practice into one's daily life outside the monastery gates. We ask that you attend an Introductory Retreat before signing up for any of the other retreats on our schedule. Please contact the Guestmaster with any questions you have about these retreats, or to make arrangements to come to one.
Throughout the year we offer a range of retreats that focus on the fundamentals of Buddhism, Buddhist Scriptures and Sutras, and aspects and questions arising out of contemporary practice. Please see Introductory Retreats for this year's offerings. Contact the Guestmaster to make arrangements to attend a retreat. You may find it helpful to see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ.) page.
Lay trainees who have attended an Introductory Retreat and would like to deepen their practice are welcome to come for an extended period of time as a lay resident at the Abbey. Lay residents join in the daily activities of meditation, working meditation, ceremonies, Dharma talks and discussions. Please talk to the Guestmaster to see if this is right for you
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If you are coming for a retreat, particularly an Introductory Retreat, please plan to arrive between 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. unless you have made other arrangements with the Guestmaster.
By Bus: The Greyhound bus stops in a somewhat rural bus station in Weed, CA, a town about four miles away. We would be glad to pick you up in Weed, at the bus station or another location, anytime between 8:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Please phone the Guestmaster before starting your travel to make arrangements for pick-up. Please call when you get to the station to let the Guest Office know you've arrived.
By Train: The Amtrak train stops in Dunsmuir, CA, about 20 miles away. Coming from the north, the train is scheduled to arrive in Dunsmuir about 12:30 a.m. If you are coming from the south, train is scheduled to arrive about 5 a.m. In our area, Amtrak often runs far behind schedule: the train can arrive from 1/2 hour to 7 hours late. You can get schedule updates by phone before departing. If your train arrives during the night, we suggest that you might like to stay at a motel in Dunsmuir for the night. We would be glad to pick you up in Dunsmuir anytime between 8:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Please phone the Guestmaster before starting your travel to make arrangements for pick-up. Please call when you get to the stationto let the Guest Office know you've arrived.
By Air: There are airports in Redding, CA and Medford, OR. Please arrange to make bus connections from these towns to either Mt. Shasta or Weed. Car rental service is available at both airports.
Shasta Abbey is 3 miles north of the town of Mt. Shasta, California, as you travel on Interstate 5. Please check
Google Maps for directions from your location. Please note that during snow season a heavy snowfall sometimes closes Interstate 5 temporarily to cars without chains or 4 wheel drive. In winter, it is advisable to check on weather and road conditions: at www.mountshasta.com or Caltrans 1-800-427-7623 or California Highway Patrol in Yreka: 530-842-4438
or for Oregon road conditions, call 503-588-2941.
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Meditation Clothes: Loose-fitting clothing for meditation: For both men and women, please bring loose-fitting, comfortable clothing for meditation and ceremonial. Slacks, trousers and long skirts are acceptable, preferably of a subdued color. Sweats, athletic clothing, tank tops, T-shirts with slogans and other forms of distracting clothing are not suitable. We request a respectful attitude of mind in the wearing of clean, modest clothing. The Guest Office has meditation clothing available for those who have nothing suitable.
Work Clothes: Please bring a change of clothing for work, including a sturdy pair of shoes.
Incidentals: Sleeping apparel, a watch, indoor slippers, flip-flops or other shoes which can be worn in the shower, a towel, and personal toilet items sufficient for your stay. Because we take our shoes off in most of our buildings, shoes that slip on and off easily can be helpful.
Winter Clothing: During the colder months of the year, which generally run from November to May, we recommend bringing a warm winter jacket, water repellent boots, gloves, a warm hat, warm socks, long underwear and sweaters. Winter temperatures range from 20 to 30 degrees Farenheit. Regardless of the time of year, it is advisable to bring some warm clothing because cool or even cold days can occur in any month.
Phone Card (optional): If you may need to make phone calls, you may want to bring a phone card. The Abbey does not have a pay phone.
Books: Lay trainees coming to Shasta Abbey for the first time can benefit from the writings of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. In particular we recommend the book Zen is Eternal Life, the book Serene Reflection Meditation and the booklet Introduction to the Tradition of Serene Reflection Meditation, which contains material covered during the lectures given at introductory retreats. We request that guests do not bring reading material other than Shasta Abbey Press publications. Many of these publications may be ordered online from Village Books Mt. Shasta (http://www.villagebooks-mtshasta.com/bookfromshas.html).
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Health and Accessibility
Illness: We request that guests postpone their visit if they have, or have been in close contact with anyone who has, a contagious disease of any kind. THIS INCLUDES COLDS AND FLU. The Guestmaster will be glad to help arrange an alternative time of visiting for anyone who must cancel for this reason. If you have questions as to the possible contagiousness of the illness, please consult your doctor and call the Guestmaster.
Physical Challenges: When applying for a retreat or resident stay, please inform us of any physical disabilities, limitations, allergies or other conditions that may require special arrangements. Should you become ill while you are at the Abbey, please let the Guestmaster know.
Allergies: Please inform the Guestmaster of any food or other allergies and/or sensitivities.
Wheelchair Accessibility: All of the buildings accomodating retreats are wheel-chair accessible, and a covered cloister goes to most buildings at the Abbey.
Hearing Assistance Hearing Assistance units are available.
Insurance: Shasta Abbey does not have group insurance for lay trainees and is not responsible for any illness or accidents which guests may incur during their stay with the exception of those which are directly due to our own negligence. Please have medical insurance or funds available for possible medical emergencies.
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Telephone: If you are calling the Abbey, and know the three digit extension of the monastic office or monk you would like to reach, you may enter it at the prompt. Otherwise, please leave your message in the general mailbox and it will be forwarded appropriately. When monastic responsibilities keep us from answering the telephone, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible. If while at the Abbey you need to make a phone call, please make arrangements with the Guestmaster. We ask that you not use cell phones while at the Abbey.
Cell Phones: To minimize distractions while at the Abbey, please check with the Guestmaster before using your cell phone. We ask that you not use lap top computers, please. Lay trainees are welcome to use the telephone in the Vimilakirti Hall (Guest House), but we ask that calls be made and received during rest periods whenever possible. We suggest that guests bring phone cards for personal calls. Shasta Abbey does not accept collect calls.
Mailing Address: During your stay lay trainees at Shasta Abbey may have their mail forwarded or addressed as follows:
3724 Summit Drive,
Mt. Shasta CA 96067-9102
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Application and Cost
Retreat Application Form: To apply, please fill out the secure online application form, or print the form and send it to us by letter, fax or e-mail. Please be sure to have your completed application to us at least ten days before the retreat. We appreciate your consideration in notifying us well in advance of any cancellation. Please await confirmation of your application before making travel plans.
Cost: Shasta Abbey does not charge a set fee for attendance at any retreat. Instead, we live by and try to foster the Buddhist practice of dana — mutual giving or generosity — for all who attend retreats or train as lay residents. We ask those who join the monastic community, whether for a weekend retreat, a week or a longer period, to make an offering that is prudent, according to their means, to help support the monastery and the spreading of the Buddhist Dharma.
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Typical Introductory Retreat Schedule:
Arrivals for Introductory Retreats are generally between 1:30 and 3:00 PM on Friday. The retreat itself starts with an orientation at 3:30 PM. Because this introduction is an essential element of the retreat, arriving at alternate times must be arranged and confirmed by the Guest Office. The retreat ends with an informal tea which begins at after the Dharma Talk on Sunday afternoon. During this tea, guests are welcome to stay or depart as needed. Please click below for a pdf of our typical Introductory Retreat Schedule.
Typical Introductory Retreat Schedule
Schedule for Longer Retreats: The daily schedule for longer retreats is similar to that of an Introductory Retreat. Check the calendar for arrival and departure days. Each week-long retreat may have its own specific prerequisites. Arrival time is between 2:00 and 4:30 p.m. on the first day of the retreat.
A Typical Longer Retreat Day:
5:00 am Rising
5:30 am Meditation
6:20 am Morning Service and Morning Office
7:30 am Spiritual Reading
8:30 am Breakfast
9:15 am Community Working Meditation
10:45 am Retreat Dharma Talk
12:00 pm Formal Noon Meal
12:50 pm Quiet Rest Period or Help with Kitchen Clean-up
2:45 pm Evening Service and Meditation
3:30 pm Retreat Dharma Talk or Dharma Discussion
5:00 pm Formal Medicine Meal
5:50 pm Quiet Rest Period or Kitchen Clean-up
6:45 pm Discussion
7:45 pm Meditation
8:05 pm Walking Meditation
8:10 pm Meditation
8:30 pm Evening Office
9:00 pm Lights Out
(This schedule may vary.)
Monastic Week: The monastery follows a schedule wherein we are on a renewal schedule on Mondays amd Thursdays. These are the days on which monks have the opportunity to rest, make medical appointments and the like. So whenever possible, please schedule day visits to the Abbey on other than these days.
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Altitude: Shasta Abbey is located at 4000 feet elevation.
Summer: During the summer months weather in the mountains of northern California is usually warm or hot during the day and can be a little cool at night. Therefore you may want to bring summer clothing with some layers so that you are prepared for cooler evenings and mornings. For our occasional rainy periods, it’s a good idea to bring a warm sweater or jacket and hat.
Winter: Winter temperatures range from 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit so please bring appropriate winter clothing.
Regardless of the time of year, it is advisable to bring some warm clothing given that cool or cold days can occur in any month. For the most recent report, see at www.mountshasta.com/weather.
Allergens: If you have airborne allergies, be aware that Shasta Abbey is located in a cedar and pine forest.
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Please go to the annual calendar to check the retreat dates scheduled for the year. Those coming to train at the Abbey for the first time are asked to begin their stay with an Introductory Retreat. Please click here for a Retreat Application.