We are here to support one another in our meditation practice. This group offers the teachings of the Buddha in the Theravadan (the Way of the Elders) tradition. But there is no requirement to be Buddhist to attend. Since we meditate in silence, you are welcome to practice whatever tradition of silent meditation/contemplation/prayer you find useful during this time. However, the teachings and discussion which follow will focus on Buddhism.
Who can benefit from Buddhist meditation? Everyone can! Please read Lesson One for detailed instructions.
Why do we meditate?
The Buddha's teaching is about the ending of suffering. It offers a skillful way to deal with the everyday stressors of life. Even applying these teachings to a minor degree in our lives can result in great benefit. For a fuller discussion on this topic, please go to Lesson 6 and read the section on the Noble Eight Fold Path.
Although we are practicing meditation in these group meetings, meditation practice only works when based on generosity and moral behaviour, which are all about opening our hearts and not causing harm to ourselves and others.
Meeting Time and Place
We offer three groups a week. One meditation group runs from 7pm until 8:30 pm every Tuesday at 518 - 2 St. in Canmore. The second meditation group runs from 8:30 am until 10 am every Friday morning. A third group is a Sutta Contemplation every Thursday from 5:45pm - 7:15 pm. The groups run year round. The meditation groups can be attended live or via zoom. The Sutta Contemplation is best attended via zoom. For the zoom links, go to Events, then Calendar. We also invite you to join us for our five days a week morning and evening puja. This is meditation only, no teaching. It's from 6 - 7 am and 7 -8 pm daily except Mondays and Thursdays. These sessions are in silence (aside from chanting) as the resident community is in silence from evening puja until after lunch the next day.
The group is a Drop-in
You come when you are able. There are no attendance requirements and there is no need to inform anyone when you plan to attend. Just show up.
**For people new to meditation, you can come at 6:30 pm on any Tuesday to receive some initial instructions on how to meditate. There is no need to phone ahead and make an appointment.....just show up. Come in and introduce yourself, and let us know you'd like some initial instructions.
There are some written instructions on meditation as well as an introduction to Buddhism available on the Teaching pages of this website.
When you arrive for the group, please don’t knock....just walk in. We meet upstairs. If stairs are a challenge for you, you are welcome to sit downstairs. Sound travels well from upstairs, so you’ll be able to hear the teachings. If you have a sitting cushion or bench, please bring it along. Otherwise there are some that are available on a first come, first serve basis, as well as chairs for those who are less flexible.
Missed a meditation group?
No problem! Go to Resources on the Menu Bar and choose Summary of our Weekly Talks and you will find summaries of the Dhamma talks from the Tuesday and Friday meditation groups. Links to the talks are provided when available.
We start with a couple of chants (on hold until covid is gone) to help us shift from the busyness of our day to an inward focus. If you prefer not to chant, that is fine. Just sit quietly. Then we have a silent meditation. Together, this lasts 40 minutes. Then we introduce ourselves with first names. Next is a teaching for about 1/2 hour. This is followed by 10 - 15 minutes of discussion, questions, sharing. This is also the time to ask questions about your meditation practice. These questions do not need to be related to the teaching given that night. The evening ends with a short meditation on one of the Brahmaviharas....the beautiful emotions: metta (loving friendliness/unconditional love), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy....feeling joy when someone else is experiencing happiness) and equanimity (unflappable calm, serenity).
Bowing is an optional practice. When you visit a monastery, it is done, if wished, on entering and leaving the meditation hall as well as at other times…..just follow the group! In our group we bow at the beginning of the evening, right after the gong is rung.
Bowing involves three bows, one to recollect the Buddha, one to recollect the Dhamma and one to recollect the Sangha.
The word Buddha means awake. It refers to our mindfulness, which allows us to be awake to each moment we live and to remember what is skillful. So the first bow is to reflect on the importance of mindfulness as well as to feel gratitude to the historical Buddha.
Dhamma refers to the teachings of the Buddha, which are basically on knowing the reality or truth of existence and using this knowledge to create happiness/ peace. So the second bow is to reflect on our gratitude for these teachings and to make the intention to bring these teachings to mind to guide us throughout the day.
The Sangha, in our tradition, refers to the community of monastics (monks and nuns) and enlightened laypeople. Through their dedicated meditation practice, they come to the same realizations as the Buddha and thus are able to teach us from their direct experience, not just theoretically. The third bow is to reflect on our gratitude for their teachings and support.
If you have some questions about your meditation practice that you’d prefer not to bring up in the group discussion, you may request an individual interview with Ayya Ahimsa or Sanghamitta . Interviews with Ayya Ahimsa are scheduled at 1pm each afternoon, except Mondays. Interviews with Sanghamitta are more flexible. Please email us at email@example.com to schedule an interview.
There is no charge for attending the group. If you would like to offer a donation to support the monastery and the presence of nuns in Canmore, please see our Donations page. Thank you (Anumodana)
There is a lending library available downstairs for those who have attended at least a couple of meditation evenings and have the intention to continue to attend. There is a sign out book. Please fill out when you borrow a book. Please do not keep a book longer than one month. When you return the book, draw a line through your information in the sign out book and leave the book on that shelf for us to put it in it's proper place.
Days of Silence
We have resumed weekly Days of Silence for sitting and walking meditation practice. They will run from 8:30 am until 5 pm, with an opportunity to ask questions about your practice at the beginning and end of each day. They are held on the full and new moon days. These dates are calculated using the ancient Buddhist method, so they sometimes vary a day from the moon days reported on most calendars. Please visit our Moon Days of Silence page for more details and dates for the Days of Silence. One can attend via zoom or live at the monastery. You are welcome to come for the entire day or any portion of the day.