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Toronto Zen Centre

A Buddhist Community


Toronto Zen Centre

Buddha Hall Renovation Project: Latest News

August 9, 2018

We have now been back in our temple just over two months, and it has been amazing to see the transformation. The new, larger space has been put to good use in two sesshins - June and August - but this is just the beginning. We look forward to sharing this new space with you soon!

Speaking of that... we find ourselves in need of chairs, 40 dining room chairs, to be exact. Not to mention 5 dining tables, roofing tile, stucco, cabinetry, a wheel- barrow, window blinds, a new shed door, garden benches, sofa cushions, a wireless doorbell and more. Everything you’d like to have to make our temple and grounds look their best for our Dedication and Grand Opening in October.

Perhaps you can help us out? Have some fun and choose something to fund! Whatever your price range, you’ll find some way to help furnish the Zen Centre, finish the renovation, and be part of this great project.

With Gratitude,
The Board of Directors

June 2, 2018

Over a year has passed since we first broke the ground to build the Buddha Hall extension, but who can say when the work truly began? This week we said goodbye to our temporary treetop zendo and moved back into 33 High Park Gardens, with the Sangha throwing its heart (and back) into unpacking, rearranging and cleaning.

The tremendous outpouring of support speaks to our eagerness to return to our temple and see it ready for its first workshop and sesshin this month. It will be wonderful throughout the coming year to experience all the various ceremonies and events in our new space.

There is still need for help at the centre so please contact the office if you have some time to spare. Caring for the house is one of the outward manifestations of our Dharma work, which never ends. Our deep gratitude to everyone for undertaking this project and for walking together on this endless path.

With Gassho,

The Board of Directors

April 27, 2018

A recent email to the Sangha outlined some glitches in the Buddha Hall project. Anyone who has ever experienced a renovation knows that bumps in the road are unavoidable, but to have these delays at the brink of completion could give rise to frustration or disappointment. At a time like this, we can be guided by the Paramitas, or Six Perfections. These are teachings for those on the path of awakening to aid spiritual development.

Dana Paramita is the practice of generosity. The Sangha has demonstrated this in abundance through an amazing fundraising campaign and in all the work done in the temple : carpentry, cleaning, digging and so much more. We can continue to give to the project by maintaining optimism and helping out wherever we can.

Sila Paramita is the practice of morality. By upholding the precepts we strengthen our own practice during this time of uncertainty, promoting harmony and encouraging others.

Ksanti Paramita is the practice of patience. Right now, when we are so eager to get back into our temple, is the time to take a deep breath and let the renovation process unfold.

Virya Paramita is the practice of energy. We need to tap into our innate strength to stay on the path and not lose our way even when it becomes difficult and uncomfortable.

Dhyana Paramita is the practice of concentration. Perhaps now more than ever, the power and sincerity of our zazen will carry us through these last stages of the renovation.

Prajna Paramita is the practice of wisdom. Through our understanding of emptiness and the interconnectedness of all things, we recognize that in truth we are the very bricks and mortar of our home at 33 High Park Gardens. Our faith and perseverance support our temple, just as our temple supports us.

In any endeavor, the last ten percent is the hardest part. Now that we are so close, let us summon up all of our faith and devotion and work together, step by step, for the benefit of all.

With Gassho,

The Board of Directors

February 15, 2018

If you look at the west side of 33 High Park Gardens, you can see a dormer where a chimney used to be. This dormer allows hall-way entry to the 3rd floor fire escape, and while up on the roof, the workers repaired some persistent leaks. The addition of this dormer was done so skillfully that most people would assume it had been there always.

In the same way, we try to bring our practice seamlessly into our daily lives. In the early stages, it’s common to want to talk about meditation to everyone we know, and even feel special for being on a spiritual path. As we continue on the Way, there comes greater integration, and our practice is not separate from washing dishes or answering the phone. Lin Chi said “As I see it, there isn't so much to do. Just be ordinary — put on your robes, eat your food, and pass the time doing nothing."

In the midst of doing nothing, the Sangha and our friends and families have poured their hearts into our Renewing the Way project. The year-end appeal netted $ 19,957, which has helped us maintain our everyday operating expenses while we're away from the centre building and unable to mount some of our major income generating activities.

We foresee being home again in the late spring. This year’s AGM will include a tour of the temple to see how close we are to reaching our goal!

With Gassho,

The Board of Directors

November 11, 2017

In 2006, pilgrims from the Triple Sangha visited Yunju Temple near Beijing, which houses the world’s largest collection of Buddhist sutras carved into stone steles. The carving began around 611 CE under the direction of Venerable Jingwan, whose vow was to ensure future generations could encounter the Dharma. The work continued for over a thousand years.

Recently Zen Centre members had the opportunity to write sutras on the walls and studs of the new Buddha Hall. Though we used Sharpies and wrote on steel and plywood, our heartfelt wish is that our efforts will also benefit practitioners for a thousand years.

With Gassho,

The Board of Directors

September 21, 2017

The walls of the Buddha Hall extension are taking shape. The framing is steel, which in different forms has been produced for over 2500 years, and its properties (strength, toughness, ductility, weldability and durability) can be likened to what we need for successful practice.

Strength is the ability to stand up under pressure. Life can put many loads on us, and our practice gives us the tools to carry the weight. In steel this strength or hardness can cause the material to be brittle, so various alloys are added to make it tough and keep it from cracking. In the same way, we temper our strength with compassion, to give us resilience. Ductility is the ability to stretch. No question that Zen training will ask us to stretch in many ways! And what else is weldability than becoming one with every situation we encounter? Finally there is durability. When we recite the Four Vows, voicing our intention to liberate all beings without number, it’s clear that we’re in this for the long haul.

One other property of steel that can easily be seen by looking at the new walls of the Buddha Hall: it shines. And so through our efforts do we!

With Gassho,
The Board of Directors

August 18, 2017

Water in, water out! This week we continued to work on waterproofing the house. This has been one of the unforeseen benefits of our renovation project, because without removing drywall, we wouldn’t have known how extensive the water damage was in the basement.

At the same time, we are adjusting the budget to cover the extra cost of bringing a 4” water supply into the house for the sprinkler system. This was a requirement by the building department and along with the new fire exits will bring the house up to code. It does mean a larger expenditure than we originally estimated, however this will be covered by the cushion we built into the budget.

The ancients considered water to be both the softest and the strongest element in nature. It adapts to the shape of any vessel. It can flow in every direction. If it finds an opening, it will work to make it larger. And it can wear down a mountain. Let us be like water!

water

With Gassho,

The Board of Directors

July 26, 2017

Thanks to the energetic and sustained efforts of members and friends of the Toronto Zen Centre, the construction of our new Buddha Hall and the basement extension is well on its way. We are happy, humbled and excited that with your help a grand total of $ 843,500 has been raised since the fundraising began in 2012!

This success could only be achieved through the selfless generosity and support of individuals like you. Our hearts are brimming with gratitude that this renovation is finally taking shape. And you have played an essential part!

The piles of dirt are gone. The gaping hole has been filled with the new foundation. This is a big step forward in the construction—it’s happening! With your kind donation, you have contributed to this strong foundation. This foundation that we offer for our spiritual practice, for the community, and for all sentient beings.

With gratitude,
The Board of the Toronto Zen Centre

PS: Please do check out photos of the renovation in progress!

May 14, 2017

A member of the Centre filmed our Groundbreaking Ceremony and has shared it with us! Please watch below.


This project can only happen through the support of our Sangha and friends. If you wish to donate to this project, we would be most grateful.

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