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Toronto Zen Centre

A Buddhist Community

Toronto Zen Centre

Temple Nights at The Zen Centre

Temple Nights are held just before the spring Jukai ceremony and are an important preparation for Jukai. Our two Temple Nights will occur on Tuesday, March 7 and Thursday, March 9, from 6:30pm to approximately 8:45pm. It is fine to arrive at any time, and leave early if you need to.

Who can come to Temple Night?
Temple Night is open to anyone: members, family and friends of the Centre. All are invited to come and participate in the devotional atmosphere of this very special evening - the profound stillness and serenity, beautiful glowing candles on lovely altars, the aroma of incense, and soft tones of periodic chanting. One can sit in front of any altar as long as one wishes, do prostrations, or gaze at the figures. Children are also invited, they can be especially receptive to Temple Night.

What is Temple Night?
Temple Night represents a unique event on the Zen Centre's annual calendar. It is two special evenings, held only once per year, dedicated to gratitude and devotions. That is, as our practice is centred on recognizing the Buddha nature within ourselves - and within all beings - we use this ceremony in a tangible way to connect with our deepest aspirations, and to celebrate this practice of unveiling our Buddha mind.

The Centre is made to be like an East-Asian temple, and decorated with special brocades and colourful saris. Throughout the entire main floor are many altars where you will find flower arrangements, candles, and fruit/candy offerings. These have been carefully arranged beside and in front of beautiful and varied Buddha figures - seated Buddhas, standing Buddhas, figures of Kannon (the bodhisattva of compassion), Jizo bodhisattva, Manjusri (the bodhisattva of wisdom - the figure found on our Zendo altar).

Temple Night also includes an altar honouring our past ancestors, those Buddhist teachers who have inspired practitioners through many cultures and lands, and who have exemplified the dharma through their inspiring efforts, for the benefit of all beings, since the time of the Buddha.

The evening will close at around 8:30pm with a chant in honor of Shakyamuni Buddha, as people form a line and circumambulate around the main floor, passing in front of all the various altars.

The Home Altar

There will be a special altar set up for figures from people's homes to absorb the spiritual vibrations of temple night. If you would like to bring in your own figure(s) from home, please do so by Sunday, March 5.

Figures can be placed in the office, or on the common room table.