夏斯塔寺的住持介紹他們每日行事表，包括打坐。他還詳述該寺僧眾如何由出家做沙彌到受具足戒的經歷。在這段期間，沙彌需住在禪堂裡，在禪椅上，每個人只有3 x 4 x 6的起居空間。此外禪椅後面有個櫃子，放著私人所有物，包括衣缽臥具，這些都是他們隨身攜帶的。這六年內，因為生活完全公開，每日又有例行檢查，所以六年後，他們變成透明化了。
From September 26th to 30th the Shasta Abbey hosted the annual Western Buddhist Monastic Conference. The theme of this conference was “Practice.” 30 celibate monastics cultivators gathered together and shared their different practices. DM Heng Sure, DM Heng Liang and DM Heng Jiao represented DRBA.
Located at Mt. Shasta, about 200 miles north and 50 miles east of CTTB, Shasta Abbey is in a pine forest at an altitude of 10,000 feet. The monastery is 18 acres renovated from a motel and has 25 celibate monastics living there. They built a cloister with used wood salvaged from houses that were torn down; they even straightened nails out and reused them. This is one of the examples how they practice thrift. In general, they live very simply. Everything is very neat and tidy. Everything is returned to its original place after being used. It makes you feel very peaceful in this environment.
The Abbot of Mt. Shasta talked about their daily routine, including meditation. He also talked about the life of monastic from the time of leaving home through being a novice until finally becoming fully ordained. During these six years, a novice lives in the Chan Hall in a space of 3 x 4 x 6 ft on the Chan bench. Behind the Chan bench, there is a cabinet for their personal things, including robes, their bowl, and their sitting cloth which go with them wherever they go. During the six-year period, they receive lots of criticism, because they are totally exposed and subject to daily inspection. What happens to them after living this way for six years is that they become very transparent. They also cultivate mutual respect. Wherever they encounter another fellow cultivator, they stop, put their palms together and make a half bow. This slows everybody down. It helps them to be mindful in every moment and it builds an atmosphere of mutual trust. Everybody is good at holding the rules of the monastery.
When we stayed in their guest house, I saw that their financial report was posted for everybody to see. There are open bowls for donations at different places. Everybody trusts everybody.
In their Chan Hall, they sit facing the wall, like we do. They also have morning and evening recitation. When they sit in meditation, periodically, there are series of bells. The sound of the bell brings you back if your mind is wandering or you’re falling asleep. One evening, we did a Shurangama Mantra ceremony, reciting the Shurangama Mantra in its English translation.
Rev. Heng Sure, one of the speakers, spoke on the Entering the Dharma Realm Chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra. A Tibetan nun spoke about the practice of tolerance and forgiveness. You think about all the people you have conditions with, not only your friends or relatives, but those who hate you and harm you. To those people you make transferences of blessings and wisdom. This transforms your own mind. It sounded very much like the Emperor Liang Repentance Ceremony.
When the Venerable Master instructed us to be involved with interreligious conferences and discussions, he always told us that we should learn from other religions about their good points and improve ourselves. I felt this was a very good opportunity.