Shasta Abbey

A serene monastery offering profound Zen Buddhist training and community life in the heart of California.

Shasta Abbey is a Buddhist monastery nestled on sixteen forested acres near Mount Shasta in Northern California, established in 1970 by Reverend Master Jiyu-Kennett. As a monastery of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, it serves as a training ground for Buddhist monks and a place of practice for lay Buddhists and visitors interested in Serene Reflection Meditation (Sōtō Zen). The Abbey is dedicated to the transmission of the Sōtō Zen tradition as taught by Reverend Master Jiyu-Kennett, whose teachings are rooted in the belief that all beings have Buddha nature and that training and enlightenment are one.

The history of Shasta Abbey begins with its founding by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett, a British woman who was ordained and trained in Japan. After receiving Dharma Transmission from her master, Keido Chisan Koho Zenji, she came to the United States with the aim of spreading Sōtō Zen Buddhism in the West. The Abbey has since evolved into a vibrant monastic community under the guidance of successive abbots and abbesses, who have continued to uphold and expand upon Jiyu-Kennett’s teachings and practices.

Training at Shasta Abbey is comprehensive, focusing on Serene Reflection Meditation, the keeping of Buddhist Precepts, and the integration of meditation into all aspects of daily life. The community, comprising both male and female monastics, adheres to a rigorous schedule that balances seated meditation, ceremonial practices, and working meditation. This schedule is designed to cultivate mindfulness and compassion in every action, embodying the Zen teaching that enlightenment is manifested through training.

Lay guests and those interested in monastic life are welcomed to participate in the Abbey’s daily life, retreats, and ceremonies. The Abbey offers retreats and Dharma teachings to all who wish to learn, emphasizing the practice of Dāna, or mutual assistance, which reflects the Buddhist principle of generosity. For those considering a deeper commitment, the path from postulancy to noviceship and eventually to full monastic ordination provides a structured framework for spiritual development.

Shasta Abbey’s approach to Zen practice emphasizes the unity of training and enlightenment, aiming to demonstrate enlightenment in the very act of training. Meditation is the foundation of their practice, supported by the moral precepts and the development of gratitude and compassion. The Abbey’s teachings stress the importance of community life, encouraging harmonious living and mutual support among practitioners.

The Abbey’s publications, including translations of Buddhist texts and the writings of its founder, serve as resources for practitioners of Buddhism in the West, offering insights into the Sōtō Zen tradition and its application in contemporary life​​​​​​.

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