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 information below on the various types of retreats offered, including Introductory, Refuge, Celebratory, Meditation, and Week Long Retreats as well as Extended Stays and Residential Training. Check the monthly calendar or 2017 Retreats for the dates of the retreats in this year’s offerings. Please complete the Retreat Application Form and contact the Guestmaster to make arrangements to attend a retreat. You may find it helpful to visit the page of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). 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.
Introductory Retreats begin to provide some answers to the questions that bring us to Buddhist practice. These retreats offer guests new to Shasta Abbey an introduction to the Serene Reflection (Soto Zen) practice in a monastic setting. They provide down-to-earth suggestions for taking this practice into one’s 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 your questions. There is also the opportunity for private spiritual counseling.
At an Introductory Retreat you will likely share a room. A tour of the monastery is given at the start of the retreat. If you are coming to stay at Shasta Abbey for the first time or are new to our practice, we ask that you attend an Introductory Retreat before signing up for any of the other retreats on our schedule. Please complete the online Retreat Application Form or download the application form in pdf and return it by mail, fax, or email. Should you have any questions please contact the Guestmaster or see the frequently asked questions (FAQs) page that might answer some of your questions or concerns. For more information on all upcoming retreats, please go to the 2017 Retreats Calendar. We ask that those coming to an Introductory Retreat arrive between 1:30 and 3:00 p.m.
Throughout the year we offer Refuge Retreats that focus on the fundamentals of Buddhism, meditation and contemporary practice. They include periods of seated meditation, working meditation, ceremonies and chanting, silent meals and time for quiet reflection. Refuge Retreats are open to those who have attended retreats at Shasta Abbey or at a temple of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. We ask that those coming to a Refuge Retreat to arrive between 2:00 and 4:30 p.m.
Celebratory Retreats offer a more relaxed schedule and provide opportunities for monks and lay friends to spend informal time together. Those who have previously attended an Introductory Retreat are welcome to attend.
Three-Day Meditation Retreats
In September, October and November in 2016, the monastic community holds a Three-Day Meditation Retreat. The focus 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.
Throughout the year we offer seven-day retreats that focus on the fundamentals of Buddhism, Buddhist scriptures and sutras and aspects and questions arising out of contemporary practice. Week-long retreats offer periods of seated meditation, working meditation, ceremonies and chanting, silent meals and time for quiet reflection and individual practice. Week-long retreats are open to those who have formally taken the Buddhist Precepts and to those who have attended retreats at Shasta Abbey or at a temple of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. We ask that those coming to a Week-Long Retreat to arrive between 2:00 and 4:30 p.m.
EXTENDED STAYS AND RESIDENTIAL TRAINING
Lay trainees who have attended an Introductory Retreat and would like to deepen their practice at the monastery are welcome to stay at the Abbey for an extended period of time. Lay residents join in the daily activities of meditation, working meditation, ceremonies, Dharma talks and discussions. Residential training provides the opportunity for an individual to step back from the usual engagements of life in the world in order to train within the refuge of the monastery and the monastic schedule. Whatever one’s purpose in taking this time away, it is a wonderful opportunity to clarify the Great Matter. As well as the usual daily activities, lay residents have the opportunity to meet regularly with a senior monk to reflect on their experience of training and practice. During the Spring and Fall Monastic Terms, they participate in weekly focused Dharma discussions. Lay residents also participate in our three-day Meditation Retreats. These retreats, primarily for monks, include six or seven 40-minute meditation periods a day.