Priory Life

What a wonderful evening!  Thursday night, November 29, 2018 the Priory Sangha got together to celebrate the conclusion of the Noble Eightfold Path class and Rev. Helen’s ordination anniversary.  We shared a delicious potluck meal and an enriching conversation through which we came to better appreciate our fellow Sangha members.  Taking Refuge in the Sangha is one of the Three Refuge Precepts:  Homage to the Buddha.  Homage to the Dharma.  Homage to the Sangha.  Pictures will follow soon!


On Thanksgiving Day,  Nicholas and Nadia appreciate a quiet, rainy day at the Redding Zen Priory…









Thursday, November 22, 2018

How can we not give thanks, on this day and all others,
For those who went before, each Ancestor and Buddha,
For they were once as we, and we shall be as they.
Our training is our path.  Out gratitude The Way.

We can show our truth thanks in all our daily training
Of body, speech and mind, each moment now availing,
Of living undisturbed amidst conditions all,
Our hearts – in open faith – our Meditation Hall.

We come with open hearts before the Triple Treasure,
The Buddha, Holy Lord, the Dharma, Truest Measure,
The Sangha, wise and kind, our deep respect we pay:
In gratitude we bow on this Thanksgiving day.

To be sung to the music of Now Thank We All Our God.
Lyrics by Rev. Helen Cummings


Monday, November 12, 2018.
Please offer merit for several friends of the Priory who have had to evacuate because of the Camp Fire in Paradise, Magalia, Forest Ranch and the surrounding communities, as well as those on alert in Chico.  Also please offer merit for the 29 people identified as dead so far, and for the many pets and wild animals who have died in this horrific fire.

On Sunday, November 11, we celebrated a Festival of Remembrance on Veterans Day.  The theme of the ceremony was “…the kindest Kanzeon is to be found in hell…









On Election Night, November 6, 2018, we held an Evening of Meditation and an Offering of Merit for our Country.  We held several meditation periods between 5:30pm and 8:00pm, as well as a Ceremony of Blessing of our Nation.

On this election night, we are gathered to offer blessing and merit for the benefit of our nation…

Sunday, November 4, 2018.
Thanks to all six of us who participated in the informational discussion on the California ballot propositions at held at the Priory on Saturday morning, November 3.  It was good to be able to talk about diverse points of view in an atmosphere of open-hearted listening and compassionate offering of points of view.  All seemed to find it very helpful.

And thanks, too, to all of us – 10 in all – who went up to Shasta Abbey to celebrate the Festival Memorial for Reverend Master Jiyu on Sunday, November 4.  Rev. Master Meian was celebrant for this beautiful ceremony.  Rev. Vivian offered the Dharma Talk and we all enjoyed a lovely tea at the Abbey Guest House.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

We now have the facility to receive automatic payments from your bank
directly into the Redding Zen Buddhist Priory bank account.
If you are interested in setting up this kind and regular offering,
please contact Rev. Helen ( to make arrangements.

We will soon have a PayPal option as well.

Sunday, October 7, 2018
Thanks to all who came to help at yesterday’s Working Meditation Morning. We did a deep cleaning of the Meditation Hall as well as a lot of work on the bushes and the front “lawn”. And we filled the bird feeders!

Yes, thanks to all who help at the Priory in so may ways – on so many days – not just on the Working Meditation Saturdays. Your time, expertise, and willingness to help – all is gratefully accepted. In our Transfer of Merit Ceremony this morning one of the “names” we read was “…the benefactors of the Redding Zen Buddhist Priory…”  That’s YOU when you offer support – including offering merit for – the Priory.

For those who would be interested, Nicholas ( yes, Nicholas!!!) attended today’s Dharma Talk and discussion, a quiet presence in the middle of the circle. It was so nice to see him so relaxed and trusting.  Sorry, no pictures this time!

Saturday, September 29, 2018
Five congregation members spent time on Saturday morning exploring aspects of ceremonial and learning the ins-and-outs of chaplaining,  precenting and assistant precenting.  We talked about the mind of ceremonial and then walked through the motions of festival ceremonies and short morning service, as well as meditation.  There was time for a range of questions.  It was a full and informative 93 minutes.  And we look forward to broader ceremonial participation by the members of the Redding Zen Sangha.

Saturday, September 22, 2018
Autumn at Redding Zen Buddhist Priory!  It’s wonderful to see plants and creatures – please notice the Lady Bug! – returning after the fire and the smoke.

The Priory avian community is the recipient of a lovely birdbath!
After the Carr and Delta Fires the Priory jays, doves, hummingbirds and finches disappeared for a noticeable while.
BUT they’ve returned over this past week!
It’s a joy to hear their coos and chirps again.
Hopefully the new birdbath will add to their enjoyment of Priory life.

The Priory is grateful for the many donations
that have shaped the Priory garden including native plants,
a wheel barrow, a fruit picker, rakes, a shovel, drip hoses, gardening gloves,
potting soil, gardening advice, and help in mowing the grass and raking the leaves.



Thanks to all who helped in our Working Meditation morning on September 8.

The Priory is sparkling, and we harvested a rich crop of delicious grapes.

What joy to see blue sky after five weeks of smoke-filtered light! What a delight to see actual sunlight rather than the eerie morning glow we’ve had since the start of the Carr Fire! Pictured here is this morning’s sunlight on the Priory altar shortly after
Morning Service.

The kitties have settled back into their routine of checking out the Record Searchlight each morning.  As they “said” when they arrived back recently:

Hello, dear friends, and meow!  We are very grateful to be back at the Priory – it’s great to be back to our Redding home with Rev. Helen and the Sangha,  but we miss  the wonderful folks at Chico Hospital for Cats who made our two weeks of evacuations seamlessly smooth.  Their gentleness shows in the way we made the transition here – as if we’d never been away.  We found our Redding litter box first thing and have settled into our routine, smoke notwithstanding!  Rev. Helen keeps mentioning how healthy we look – shiny coats, bright eyes and engaging spirit.  We just know we were so well taken care of by everyone during this difficult time – thanks indeed.   With deep rumbling purrs and gently easy sounds of delight, Nadia and Nicholas



Ever wonder what happens after the congregation leaves the Priory on Sunday?


Nadia and Nicholas- the Priory cats! They enjoy Fancy Feast Salmon cat food and Party Mix cat treats.  The Priory is also part of a network that collects dog and cat food for pets of the homeless .







The Priory is located on lovely green space in downtown Redding, CA.  Welcome shade is provided by numerous trees and bushes that are home to mourning doves, bluejays, white-capped sparrows, hummingbirds, crows, and – every once and a while – white herons on the utility wires.    We have several bird seed and suet feeders and two hummingbird feeders.  Your offering of bird seed is gratefully accepted.









The Priory grounds also provide a home for squirrels and – every once in a while – skunks!  The cats – Nicholas and Nadia – are fascinated by the flow of life outside their windows.

Chris Carrigan has provided beautiful plants and small trees for the Priory porch, including Japanese maples, buckeye, oak-leaf hydrangea, peonies, azaleas and more.  These are all native plants and provide a rich feast for the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  Chris has also created two “mini-ponds” in which he has planted two different species of lotus.  Both are growing quite well, rooted as they are in kitty litter!


Nadia and Nicholas- the Priory cats! They enjoy Fancy Feast Salmon cat food and Party Mix cat treats.  The Priory is also part of a network that collects dog and cat food for pets of the homeless .