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Celebrating Togetherness

The year end of 2016 was a busy one for Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society (GEBIS), as Venerables from GEBIS visited other Buddhist establishments in Toronto and Halifax, and also received respected guests at GEBIS during November and December.

Toronto, Ontario (November 1st -2nd 2016)

Monks from GEBIS respectfully visited some well-established Buddhist monasteries/Dharma Centres in the area.

  • Nov 1st: Ven. Dayi Shi, Abbot of the Cham Shan Temple Toronto, spent the afternoon giving a tour around the facility and sharing the current & future Dharma projects in the Greater Toronto Area.
GEBIS representatives visit Venerable Dayi Shi, Abbot of Cham Shan Temple Toronto

GEBIS monks – Venerables Alexander and Dan visit Venerable Dr. Bhante Saranapala at the West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre, Toronto

PEI: Sri Lankan Buddhist monks’ GEBIS visit  (November 15th 2016)

It was great honour to have a group of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks and lay practitioners visiting GEBIS and have a dialogue during their short stay in PEI.

The Most Venerable Ahangama Rathanasiri Nayaka Thero. and Venerable Udupihille Wimalabuddhi Thero. from the Toronto Mahavihara, Bhante Jinarama from Sri Lanka, Bhante Sudharma from Halifax, Bhante Saradha from Cambridge, Ontario toured the prayer hall and had viewings on sutra collections and long scrolls of precious scriptures with ancient printing traditions. Some young student monks of GEBIS also demonstrated Buddhist debate on advanced Buddhist philosophy for the guests. Then our honourable guests chanted a prayer to give blessing for world peace.

After the tour at the prayer hall, Venerable Su gave a presentation about GEBIS, the study program and its projects. After which The Most Venerable Ahangama Rathanasiri, Chief Incumbent President of the Toronto Mahavihara shared his 25+ yr experience in promoting Buddhist teaching in Canada, before ending the visit.

The Most Venerable Ahangama Rathanasiri Nayaka Thero. and Venerable Udupihille Wimalabuddhi Thero. from Toronto, along with fellow Sri Lankan monks, toured GEBIS prayer hall

Halifax, Nova Scotia  (December 5th 2016)

Halifax Shambhala Centre welcomed representatives from GEBIS with great hospitality, and gave a guided tour followed by a soulful dialogue. It was a great learning opportunity for GEBIS, as the development and establishment by Shambhala International over the years and offering of diverse programs to enrich the community was truly respectable.

GEBIS representatives visit Halifax Shambhala Centre

PEI: Bhante Jinananda’s GEBIS visit (December 9th 2016)

Bhante Jinananda visited GEBIS to give blessing and exchange experiences with the Venerables.  The dialogues, visits and sharing of experiences, were heartfelt and humbling experiences. It enabled GEBIS to learn, promote exchanges, build new friendship and collaborative opportunities, and together help shape and form peaceful communities.

Bhante Jinananda visits GEBIS

Related Reading:

Spirit of Assisi

Spirit of Assisi II

Interfaith Prayer Service for Peace

On the 27th of October 2016, Buddhist Monks from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society (GEBIS) joined various faith communities from the Island at the St. Francis of Assisi church in Cornwall to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Italy.

Interfaith Prayer
Wonderful evening @ St. Francis of AssisI church

The inter-faith service was first organized by Pope John Paul II on the very same day in 1986, witnessing 160 religious leaders spending the day together with fasting and prayers, representing 32 Christian religious organizations and 11 non-Christian world religions. It was a call for peace, unity and inter-religious understanding, where annually religious leaders come together to discuss critical global issues.

St. Francis of Assisi church in Cornwall
Interfaith Prayer Service for Peace

With this in mind, more than twenty Buddhist monks were honoured to share the prayer chants from their tradition between 7 to 8pm that evening with other island faith communities such as Abegweit First Nations, Islamic, Baha’i, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, and Charlottetown Area Christian Council.

It was a great way to stay connected with all and share the common aspiration for peace through these wonderful prayers from various faiths.

For more photos of the commemoration:

Spirit of Assisi II Celebration photos from Diocese of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

 

Scrub the Tub – TCAP

On the 6th of Oct a Thursday morning, at 7:30am, a bus arrived at TCAP Family Aquatics and Fitness Centre in the Town of Montague, Prince Edward Island, carrying 20 Buddhist nuns, members of the Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute (GWBI).  A couple of minutes later two busses and a mini van also arrived carrying 70 monks of the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Society (GEBIS). The monks and nuns arrived at TCAP to help revitalize the community recreational centre in Montague, Prince Edward Island.

The recreational facility in TCAP has an important role for our seniors, our parents, our children and more.

The Town and Country Aquatics Plus (TCAP) took over the recreational centre, once proud pool and gymnasium facility that has been allowed to deteriorate in recent years, from a private business.  Within minutes the nuns were busy putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls of the cardio and weight rooms and the yoga studio. Monks divided into three groups charged with removing an unseemly amount of garbage that had collected outside. Others scrubbed pool deck mats, then the pool deck. Others meticulously cleaned the hot tub.

Buddhist monks from GEBIS volunteered their time to help clean the TCAP facility in Montague, PEI
A beautiful morning to come out to Montague, PEI for labour contribution.
Scrubbing the tub at TCAP Family Aquatics and Fitness Centre

GEBIS participants of the TCAP Family Aquatics and Fitness Center “Scrub the Tub” project shared some of their feedback:

  • Just like flowers of various colours, people of different faiths collectively adorn our world.” ~ Ven. Xing-Yang
  • May we collectively get rid of the impurity from within, and hand in hand, we keep our Island a lovely and blissful place.”  ~ Ven. Xing-Pu
  • May the beauty of the Island and its people endure for a long time! Thank you for your support in offering such a wonderful learning opportunity for us!”  ~ Ven. Xing-Ting

On Facebook, TCAP expressed “profound gratitude” to the monks and nuns for their help on Thursday. “The amount accomplished was nothing short of phenomenal,” reads a Facebook post. “The facility was full and there was such a feeling of determination, hard work and peace in the air.”   The work is tedious but necessary. When it reopens TCAP will be clean. It will be safe. And it will be a welcoming community asset.

Related articles:

Monks and nuns’ hands-on help at TCAP betters community (Eastern Graphic, Oct 6, 2016)

Buddhist monks and nuns help ‘scrub the tub’ at Montague fitness facility (CBC, Oct 7, 2017)

Buddhist community adds financial support to elbow grease in support of TCAP (Eastern Graphic, Oct 19, 2016)

For more photos:  (photo credit: HSU, Ming-Chi)

Walk of Faith

Walk of Faith

On September 22, 2016, an annual Walk of Faith by GEBIS Buddhist monks was held. The walk started at around 6:10 am and concluded right after 11 am. More than 200 monks participated in this 19-km walk of 5 hours without rest on the beautiful Confederation Trail, Prince Edward Island‘s portion of the Trans Canada Trail.

Since ancient times countless practitioners have hiked through terrains of mountains and rivers in search for true reality, and through the hardships and ordeals accompanying such a journey, such practitioners have nurtured their aspiration for enlightenment. A journey as such is thus a crucial pre-requisite for an eminent monk.  With that in mind, this marks the third year that GEBIS has been hosting this Walk of Faith. 

Some monks shared their experiences:

Venerable Zheng said with a happy note, “It felt like my whole body was well worked and my mind full of energy!”  Venerable Feng who is known to have weak stamina even noted that “it didn’t felt too tiring this time, feels like I can walk a bit more!”

Walk of Faith
Each step was filled with positive thoughts and prayers for world peace, which is much needed during turbulent times.

“I was mindful about every step I took, and was chanting and praying all along”, said Venerable Qun.  Venerable Si said, “It was a magnificent sight to see the procession of monks. It was like a river of ruby. Imagine if there were thousands more!”

Venerable Fang also shared that, “It was joyous. Seeing the forest, fields and small animals along the path makes you wonder what my spiritual teacher would have perceived them. It makes you want to try your best to send prayers to them.“

After the 5-hour walking meditation, all the monks who participated felt re-energized and more motivated to work harder towards peace and harmony.

Walk of Faith
Buddhist monks, who were trying to be mindful about every step taken, chanted and prayed all along.

Related post(s) on GEBIS Facebook:

2016 GEBIS Open House

Thank you for all your interest and responses to the 2016 GEBIS Open House.  Your encouragement and support has been heartwarming and has motivated us to work harder to pay back to the Island.

Due to limited space at our monastery, GEBIS regrettably would not be able to accommodate and provide quality service to all who are interested in coming. For those who have not registered successfully, GEBIS is currently planning a protocol to accommodate small group private tour request once a month. Details shall be provided soon. We encourage you to check back and schedule with us.  We also plan to tour and organize events across the Island to meet with Islanders in different communities.

May 7 & 8 – 9am to 4pm

We cordially invite you to pick a day and come join us for a wonderful experience!

Regrettably all the time slots for either May 7 or May 8 have been booked.  Thank you again for all the support and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Online Registration – May 7

Online Registration – May 8

Please click the buttons above to sign up for May 7 or May 8

12174 Shore Rd, Little Sands, Prince Edward Island
Promotional images

Visit our Facebook page for more information

Spreading the “Rolls of Love”

Young student monks at the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society (GEBIS) recently made 300 rolls by hand, then delivered them to families needing food.

Master Zhen-Ru, spiritual teacher of GEBIS, once told her disciples: “As a ‘come from away‘ group who has been very well received by Islanders, we must sincerely and humbly repay all the kindness Prince Edward Island has offered us.”

A recent article regarding food insecurity caught Master Zhen-Ru’s attention.​  She is very engrossed with such widespread issues impacting many families, and particularly with school children in those household would go without food for long stretches of time.

Young student monks at GEBIS realized this, and aspired to put their kind heart into action — a great practice to fulfill the teacher’s wishes.  In a recent Friday afternoon session, amidst their rigorous study and training program, they have added making 300 dinner rolls as an extra assignment on top of their chores.

Group leaders and moderators started planning and encouraging other members to be involved.  The entire class took turns overseeing the baking and there was ample manpower for working the dough.  By 9 o’clock in the evening, all 300 rolls full of love are finally ready.

Lay volunteers for the monastery took the next baton by rushing to where these rolls were needed.  One family in need had a father stricken by illness and unable to work, and their household was in a precarious position.  Having received these dinner rolls, heart-felt feelings may very well be better expressed without words.

Learning to live their life devoted to kindness
Learning to live their life devoted to kindness

Perhaps there exists some language barrier between young monks and our great Islander neighbours.   However, in each young heart illuminated with kindness, there seems to be no distance in between.  Much warmth is generated and felt through such acts of kindness.  A spiritual teacher’s aspiration for her students to live their life devoted to kindness is being fulfilled by these young monks.

 

2015 Vesak Celebreation @GEBIS

50+ participated in our 2015 Vesak Celebration
50+ participated in our 2015 Vesak Celebration

More than 50 members from several of our English Buddhist study groups on the Island, along with their friends and family members, have delightedly come to GEBIS on May 31 to participate in our 2015 Vesak Celebration.  It is an important day among Buddhists to commemorate the Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing into Nirvana.  Contrast to other teaching events and rituals, this Veask Day (sometimes also referred to as “Buddha Bathing Festival”) event also marks the very first of its kind which is solely dedicated to English-speaking participants. Continue reading 2015 Vesak Celebreation @GEBIS

UPEI Seniors College @ GEBIS

GEBIS is privileged to have 15 guests from UPEI Seniors College on the morning of May 20.   For their last session of the “Religious Diversity in Canada” course, the Buddhist monastery became their classroom for a talk on Buddhism and a campus tour.
The great encounter was initiated by the professor and facilitator of this course — Dr. Rev. Andrew Richardson (Trinity United Church in Summerside).  Seniors carpooled from Charlottetown for a 45-minute drive and arrived our Little Sands complex in southeastern PEI with visible excitement. Continue reading UPEI Seniors College @ GEBIS

When Monks meet UPEI

UPEI
Located in Charlottetown, the birthplace of Confederation

In MacDougall Hall 243 of the University of Prince Edward Island, April 2, 2015 was a day when the Monks from GEBIS made their encounter with University students for the course Religious Studies 102 — RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD: EASTERN TRADITIONS offered by Professor Philip G. Davis, Ph.D.   This is a course, meeting three hours each week for a semester, which intends to provide an introduction to the major living religions of the East: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Continue reading When Monks meet UPEI