Saturday, April 25, 2015


    Let me respectfully remind you:
    Life and death are of supreme importance,
    Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
    Each one of us should strive to awaken -
    Take heed.
    Do not squander your life.

We’ve had much cause to reflect on this famous verse over the past few weeks. We have had two sad and painful losses in our small and large sangha. These remind us that the dharma we study and practice is more than a moral guide for our day to day lives. Too often people reduce religious life to “being a good person”. This is certainly good advice but the teaching which makes up our religious life is more than that. It is exactly this matter of supreme importance - life and death.
Our practice calls us to come face-to-face with our mortality and the inescapable fact of that “ticking clock” in the lives of everyone we care about. As Buddhists, we toss around the term “impermanence” and it can become a philosophical abstract unless we come back again and again to it as the fact of our own lives.
As these past few weeks have reminded us, we will experience the passing of so many of the people who inhabit our lives - we will observe the decline and unraveling of our own lives. Watching a beloved sangha member fade into silence was a complex and wonder-filled experience. It brought me back once more to this great matter of life and death.
I gassho to all those who presented this teaching.

Yours in the Dharma,                          
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu   

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


We’ve decided to initiate a bi-monthly meditation service in Renfrew. Our first session will take place on Thursday, April 30, from 7.00-8.30pm at Innen’s home, 92 Lorne Street N, just behind the Metro in the West end of town. (A few doors away from Tracey’s Dairy). The program will be a familiar service format. We’re experimenting with this location and format to evaluate if we will establish a regular service back in Renfrew.
No experience is necessary and we welcome people of all faiths. Cost is $10.00/session or free for members.


We will hold our annual Vesak Retreat on Saturday, May 16, 9.00am-1.00pm at the RMML site in Pembroke. Vesak is the worldwide celebration of the birth of Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha and the founder of all Buddhist traditions.
This retreat will combine sitting and walking meditation, as well as some EASE movements and contemplations. We request pre-registration so we can provide adequate food for snacks and lunch. Please confirm with me by May 14.
Cost is $30.00

Yours in the Dharma,                          
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu          


Friday, April 03, 2015


Just back from an excellent retreat at our New York state head temple. This was the Higan event and we joined some 15 others for a 2-day event with the theme of Buddhist Mindfulness. Participants were all ages and levels of experience and, for the first time, Red Maple brought 4 participants. It wasn’t the nicest weather, with lots of unseasonably cold and snowy days, but nobody seemed disappointed (even if a little weary of the cold). Even the Saturday kokordo walk up Barnaget Road, as chilly as it was, had a nobility and restfulness to it.
We did several structured practices:

  • a four viharas reflection
  • a contemplation on the Four Foundations
  • a walking recitation
and we had several lovely services. Monshin designed a lovely Amitabha service on the Saturday night with a number of unfamiliar gathas that made it interesting.

On the Saturday evening we watched a captivating documentary on the kaihogyo practice of an extraordinary Tendai priest who did that legendary walk of 26 miles, daily for nearly 10 years. I have seen it before but found it no less astounding what dedication an ordinary person can cultivate.
Deep bows to

  • Judy B, Jiho and Liz for their companionship and efforts
  • Monshin for his leadership
  • Shumon for taking such good care of us
  • Gyo-sho, the temple assistant for his tireless support. I was especially taken with his drumming during the Heart Sutra.                       
Yours in the Dharma,                          
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu