Monks and laypeople practicing together has been traditional since the time of the Buddha. Shasta Abbey has a strong relationship with the local Mount Shasta community, and serves as the Buddhist Temple for the local congregation. Lay people regularly join in meditation and Morning Service at the Abbey, and attend and help with Sunday ceremonies and festivals. Local Lay Ministers help in giving tours, offering meditation instruction, offering the Dharma from their experience during Introductory Retreats.
Members of the local congregation help with many aspects of maintaining the fabric of the monastery – chopping and stacking firewood, sewing, organizing and keeping our monastic library current, and driving monks to meditation group meetings, airports and medical appoinments. Through participation in Friends of Shasta Abbey (FOSA), local congregation members’ skills in, for example, accounting, plumbing, shop management, and electrical experience are put to good use. This involvement occurs both on an on-going regular basis and with time limited special projects. Please contact the Guestmaster or the Prior if you are interested in offering your time and talents.
Monks offer the Dharma to the local congregation in a number of ways. Every Saturday afternoon there is a Dharma Talk in the Guesthouse for local congregation and lay residents. Each fall and spring, a monk from the Abbey participates with interested lay congregation in a Dharma-focused Reading Group. Monks address local colleges and community groups on aspects of the Dharma, as well as on Buddhist monastic life as lived at Shasta Abbey. An e-tree allows sharing of information, transfer of merit requests, and opportunities to help both at the Abbey and among the local Sangha members. Please contact the Guestmaster if you would like to receive or send e-tree notices.
Monks are available for spiritual counseling, and, of course, offer traditional religious services and support at significant moments in life such as weddings and blessings of unions, funerals and memorials, naming ceremonies and house blessings.
Congregation members and monks also take time to relax together, coming together at shared meals and outings including an annual Sangha Walk.