SHASTA ABBEY ~ September 2005 - Ajahn Amaro / Abhayagiri Monastery
From September 26th to 30th 2005 some 35 monastics of many Buddhist lineages gathered
beneath the towering and benevolent presence of Mt Shasta, for the 11th Annual Monastic
Conference. This is an event originally conceived by a group of Western nuns of the Gelugpa
Tibetan tradition and that has evolved, since its inception, to being a much cherished opportunity
for Buddhist monastics living in the West to meet and share their practices and experiences,
joys and sorrows. It is both an occasion for old friends to reconnect and for others to meet for
the first time.
This year’s event was comprised of nuns and monks of some 15 different lineages, including Soto
Zen, Chinese Ch'an, Gelugpa & Nyingmapa Tibetan lineages, two varieties of Vietmanese Zen, and
both Sri Lankan & Thai Theravada — it was a grand and colorful array of robes, and streams of
knowledge and experience. The gathering is mostly designed to be an opportunity to meet and
support each other, rather than being filled with academic expositions (let alone decision-making)
however there were a number of presentations on this year’s theme of "Practice", which included
offerings from Rev. Heng Sure, of The City of 10,000 Buddhas, on "Sudhana’s Pilgrimage," Ven.
Thubten Chodron on Vajrayana Sadhana, Rev. Master Eko (of Shasta Abbey) on "Training in the
Zendo," Ven Thubten Palzang on his community’s Dharma work in Mongolia and Ajahn Amaro on
"The Dhutanga Practices."