I'm very much on the periphery of the OBC, so I'm not sure if I have much to contribute, but I'd like to express my appreciation to those who have shared their experiences here. I was a lay resident at Shasta Abbey for two months in 2008 and then again for three weeks in 2009. In some ways, what I've read on this forum seems distant from what I experienced there, but it also helps inform a certain feeling that I had about the community, one of insularity and close-fistedness, which I wasn't sure whether or not to trust. Being drawn to traditional monasticism, I had been considering the possibility of ordination there off and on up until last winter, when I became more confident in my connection to my first and present teacher and less confident in my own definition of "monastic". This was actually at Rohatsu sesshin at Great Vow Zen Monastery, and I think the openness of that environment helped a lot to set my course away from Shasta. If Kyogen or Gyokuko happen to read this, I would like to thank you both for your presence and for your teachings there.
My teacher informed me at some point that Eko had disrobed, and I was quite shocked, because I had held him up as a model of monastic integrity. Earlier today, I decided to look further into his leaving, and I found this website. So my thanks to all who have posted here for helping me to clarify my own life.