I am almost surprised that I still went considering I thought I would die from being a sissy at showing up. I have some of the most awful social anxiety sometimes! So I showed up and a monk directed me on where to park but I am assuming she doesn't drive all that often because she wanted me to park EXTREMELY close to the other cars. I really could NOT get out of the car after she had me backing in and out so many times. So this was pretty funny in retrospect but at the time it was a bit unnerving. I never did seem to achieve whatever it was she wanted. I was thinking later that maybe someone should make markers for parking spots to make that situation easier for them (and us).
After I was finally our of the car I then was directed into the office to check in a receive my room. I admit I was a little nervous about sharing the space with a stranger, and I did have the remnants of my cold. I was given a nice tour by one of the monks and shown my room to unpack.
In all of the rooms and halls of the guest house there is very beautiful art! It is very nice to enjoy and in your room a small shelf beneath it also provides a place for a traveling alter if you wish.
The view from outside the guest house of Mount Shasta. With the naked eye it is really much closer than the camera seems to be able to capture. >
Over all it was a very GOOD experience. I was surprised at how tired I was at he end of each night. Now I must confess you are not supposed to have you cell phone on, much less be using it. So I did not take a ton of pictures just snapped a few quickly and shut it off and put it away. I didn't want to get busted :).
The statues and shrines and grounds are all very cool and I wish I could have walked around and got a ton of super cool shots. There are some very zen spots throughout the place to chill and meditate as well. The monks are all very accommodating and really are a great group of people. They all have different personalities. I tend to like the more serious ones a lot! During the stay you have an option for spiritual counsel. I nervously signed up and ended up having a very illuminating discussion with a monk. I really felt humbled by the simple wisdom that was imparted to me. It was a very deep experience of realizing just how hard we make life!
While staying there I also learned that because they offer all the stays for free (amazingly as well as most of their books). The operate on the concept of Dana. If you visit please leave the best you can according to your means. I calculated the cost of two nights at a motel, the food, and the cost of books.
<< This was in all of the toilets at the Shasta Abbey. I had a chuckle at it the entire time. There were little such things all throughout the place that were helpful for keeping mindful and asking for a blessing. Hey, nobody wants a disaster in the water closet!!
And did I mention all of the free literature about Buddhism, Zen Soto Buddhism, stories, and Dharma talks on CD they offer? Yes I did, just wanted to mention it again.