I thought I would write a little bit about the trip to the States I made in September. The three week visit was to attend the OBC Rules conclave meeting at Shasta Abbey. A group of five monks, four from Throssel and myself flew from Heathrow to Portland, Oregon on a direct ten and a half hour flight. Three then went to Eugene priory and myself and Rev. Master Berwyn stayed at Portland priory for a few days with Rev. Leon the prior. Rev. Master Koten and Rev. Master Aurelian from Canada joined us aswell as Rev. Master Hugh for the long drive down to Shasta, picking up Rev. Wilfrid, Rev. Jishin and Rev. Elinore on the way.
We all arrived at Shasta in good shape and soon settled, in preparation for the conclave. It was good to meet up with old friends aswell as be greeted by monks I had not met before. I didn’t realise how much Mount Shasta dominated the landscape. It is much closer than I had thought and seems to tower over the Abbey. The atmosphere is extremely dry and because the Abbey is at four thousand feet it has it’s effect on the body. I was quite woozy for some of the time and couldn’t do as much physically as I had hoped.
The conclave is now held every six years and alternates between the UK and The States.This is when we as an Order ratify the rules that have been privisionally been in place between conclaves. We needed to look at thirty rules, many of which were fairly straight forward and were just a matter of changing titles and names to bring the rules up to date. Nevertheless great care is taken over the wording so that they read properly and can be enforced (if necessary) without misunderstanding their meaning. Many of the rules were to do with priories. In the rules priories became temples and priors chief priests. This is bring all the temples, including Abbeys, in line with the rule. Nevertheless priories are still priories and priors are still priors. During the course of the conclave there was a chance for a couple of outings. I went a on a local trip on the first one but unfortunately came down with a heavy cold during the second week of the conclave and so missed out on another chance. To close the conclave we held a memorial ceremony for Rev. Master Jiyu. It was held outside at the stupa (pictured), and we chanted scriptures and circumambulated it three times. Rev. Master Haryo was celebrant as he was for morning service during the conclave. We were also joine during the conclave by three lay ministers, two from the Shasta congregation and Chris Hughes from the Telford congregation. They provided much imput to the meetings, and helped to show how we as an Order function as a totality.
The filght back was smooth and uneventful and only took a couple of hours from landing to opening the priory front door. The expected jet lag never happened and I was soon back into things. Thank you to all who helped keep the priory open during my absence, I realy appereciate it.