Zen Buddhism is non-theistic, so its emphasis is on realizing our Buddha Nature, the nature of the self.  Therefore, all of Zen's rituals point to the oneness of the self and the ten thousand things.  Zen liturgy is upaya,- skillful means.  Like meditation and all the areas of zen training, it functions as a way of uncovering the truth which is the life of each one of us.

Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to Insight into the true nature of reality.  Buddhist practices like meditation, are means of changing yourself in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, and wisdom.  The experience developed within the Buddhist tradition over thousands of years has created an incomparable resource for all those who wish to follow a path; a path which ultimately culminates in Enlightenment or Buddhahood.  An enlightened being sees the nature of reality absolutely clearly, just as it is, and lives fully and naturally in accordance with that vision.  This is the goal of the Buddhist spiritual life, representing the end of suffering for anyone who attains it.

Because Buddhism does not include the idea of worshipping a creator god, some people do not see it as a religion in the Western sense.  The basic tenets of Buddhist teaching are straightforward and practical:  nothing is fixed or permanent; actions have consequences; change is possible.  So, Buddhism addresses itself to all people irrespective of race, nationality, caste, sexuality, or gender.  It teaches practical methods which enable people to realise and use its teachings in order to transform their experience, and instead of being a victim or blaming, to be fully responsible for their lives.



Sunday Services begin at 10 a.m.  

Please arrive early enough to allow for parking and settling in to sit, as the short meditation begins at 10:00 a.m. sharp.  The door is opened at 9:40 a.m. and locked between 10:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. so as not to disturb those who are meditating.


Beginning January 10:   
A Series of Talks on the 10 Oxherding Pictures

    Everyone is welcome.  (Registration is not required)


    Wear loose, clean clothing, something that is comfortable and allows you to stretch. Sweat pants and shirt are fine. Avoid bright colours. Shirts with logos and writing can be distracting to a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. Warm socks are a good idea in the winter, as you will be asked to remove your shoes at the door. Perfume and jewellery are not worn in the meditation room.


    Recitation of the 3 Refuges, 5 Precepts and Bodhisattva Precepts will take place on the Thursday closest to the Full Moon, before Members' Sitting, unless otherwise noted*. If you have taken Refuge and the 5 Precepts, in any tradition, please join us on the following dates, in 2015.

    January 28
    February 25
    March 24

    * To be recited at home if there is a cancellation.



    Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.  (Please check for cancellation dates)
    Cancelled January 21

    Important:  Be seated 10 minutes before the beginning of the Bell Gatha.

    Experienced meditators are welcome to attend.

    Please confirm attendance 24 hours in advance.


    Registration is required for all programmes, except Sunday morning sesshins. Please email to the address indicated in the programme outline on this site, with the following information.

    1. Register by emailing sistertinhquang (at) yahoo (dot) ca. (one registration per Contact).
    2. Full Name (Dharma name if you have taken Refuge)
    3. Address, including postal code
    4. Day & Evening telephone numbers
    5. Email address
    6. The programme in which you are interested, including dates.

    Space is limited ... register early! Registrations must be received no later than 5 days before the intended programme.

    Your registration will be confirmed by email.


    *Dana, or generosity, is a lovely tradition in Buddhism that allows students the chance to convey their appreciation for Buddhist teachings by assisting the Sangha. A gift of Dana comes from our heart and is suitable to the circumstances. Each gift is valued and every practitioner appreciated.

    Your Dana helps a lot. All Dana is suggested only. There is no wish to deprive anyone of the opportunity to attend a workshop or other sessions because of financial inability.  Place Dana in an envelope and hand it directly to the teacher.  An alternative is to bring a non-perishable food item.


    Toward the end of his life, the Buddha took his disciples to a quiet pond for instruction. As they had done so many times before, the Buddha’s followers sat in a small circle around him, and waited for the teaching.
    But this time the Buddha had no words. He reached into the muck and pulled up a lotus flower. And he held it silently before them, its roots dripping mud and water.

    The disciples were greatly confused. Buddha quietly displayed the lotus to each of them. In turn, the disciples did their best to expound upon the meaning of the flower: what it symbollized, and how it fit into the body of Buddha’s teaching.

    When at last the Buddha came to his follower Mahakasyapa, the disciple suddenly understood. He smiled and began to laugh. Buddha handed the lotus to Mahakasyapa and began to speak.

    “What can be said I have said to you,” smiled the Buddha, “and what cannot be said, I have given to Mahakashyapa.”
    Mahakashyapa became Buddha’s successor from that day forward.

    The Flower Sutra is a sutra in the Zen (or Chan) tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. It's earliest versions date from the 11th century. Zen Buddhism stresses wordless insight more than most other types of Buddhism. This sutra exemplifies that very well.
    In many versions of this sutra the Buddha doesn't walk around, he merely holds up the Lotus, roots and all, to a group of disciples. Most disciples are confused.

    Mahakashyapa smiles.

    To Zen Buddhists this sutra shows the origins of the wordless teachings of Zen - its history started with the Buddha himself.


    Friday, March 18, 2016
    6:30 p.m.

    Four times a year, around the time of the 
    solstice/equinox, members and friends gather 
    together to reconnect, socialize, and share a vegetarian meal.  

    This time it is the annual Spring Sangha Day.  
    Location:  TBA

    Everybody is welcome. 

    Space is limited:  IMPORTANT - RSVP is required by Tuesday, March 9. 

    Telephone Quang Vien 



    Mark your Calendars NOW!!!


    Buddhist Teachings and Meditation

    10 Wednesdays

    Beginning on January 13, 2016 (Last class on March 16)

    7 p.m.

    Little Heron Zen Hermitage
    74 Alpine Avenue

    Mindfulness is the skill of being deliberately attentive to your experience as it unfolds - without the superimposition of your usual commentary and conceptualizing.  The capacity to be mindful provides a wholesome way to attend to your experiences and helps you overcome the unskillful habits of mind that cause you to suffer needlessly. Learn to control stress and create resiliency, and learn mindfulness meditation to help promote healing along with emotional stability and the ability to overcome a wide variety of difficulties. These teachings provide a practical guide to developing the skill of mindfulness and applying it to every aspect of daily life.

    Practicing mindfulness meditation reveals and develops the qualities of wisdom and compassion, the twin virtues of the discipline.

    Everyone can benefit from this practice. It helps free us from illusion so that we can look at ourselves with greater clarity and make appropriate changes in our lives. We become aware of the depth of selfishness and the real intent that can motivate actions that are thought to be altruistic.

    Taught by Thich nu Tinh Quang, based on the Buddha's style of Vipassana (Insight) Meditation, the original techniques used are for increasing your awareness and freeing yourself of painful mental habits. Vipassana meditation is based on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as mentioned in the Satipatthana Sutra. Your understanding and experience of meditation will deepen. Sister Tinh Quang will give teachings on Walking Meditation, The Three Poisons, Karma, Four Brahma Viharas, Metta, Karuna, The Five Hindrances, Dukkha, Intention, and Equanimity. Vipassana meditation is a lifelong process that requires daily practice, discipline, and patience.

    Fee:  Suggested Dana - $20 per week

    To register for complete Course, email:  sistertinhquang (at) by January 6, 2016.

    The Power of Awareness - Part 2  begins in April of 2016


    10 Mondays
    Beginning on January 11, 2016
    (Last class on March 14, 2016)

    Open to anyone who has taken Power of Awareness - Part 1

    We will continue with the practice of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, placing close attention on the practice Equanimity, Loving-Kindness, Compassion, and Joy.  Learning ways to transform suffering and how to continue the practice, will round out the complete course, the Power of Awareness.

    To register:  email: by January 4, 2016

    Suggested Dana: $20/week



    Verses on the Faith Mind by The 3rd Zen Patriarch, Seng-ts'an

    The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.
    When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised.
    Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
    If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything.
    To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.
    When the deep meaning of things is not understood the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
    The Way is perfect like vast space when nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
    Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things.
    Live neither in the entanglements of outer things nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
    Be serene in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
    When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity your very effort fills you with activity.
    As long as you remain in one extreme or the other you will never know Oneness.
    Those who do not live in the single Way fail in both activity and passivity, assertion and denial.
    To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality.
    The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth.
    Stop talking and thinking, and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
    To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.
    At the moment of inner enlightenment there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.
    The changes that appear to occur in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance.
    Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.
    Do not remain in the dualistic state -- avoid such pursuits carefully.
    If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong, the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.
    Although all dualities come from the One, do not be attached even to this One.
    When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when such a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way.
    When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist.
    When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.
    Things are objects because of the subject (mind); the mind (subject) is such because of things (object).
    Understand the relativity of these two and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.
    In this emptiness the two are indistinguishable and each contains in itself the whole world.
    If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.
    To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult, but those with limited views are fearful and irresolute; the faster they hurry, the slower they go, and clinging (attachment) cannot be limited; even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray.
    Just let things be in their own way and there will be neither coming nor going.
    Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed.
    When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear, and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness.
    What benefits can be derived from distinctions and separations?
    If you wish to move in the One Way do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.
    Indeed, to accept them fully is identical with true Enlightenment.
    The wise man strives to no goals but the foolish man fetters himself.
    There is one Dharma, not many; distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.
    To seek Mind with the (discriminating) mind is the greatest of all mistakes.
    Rest and unrest derive from illusion; with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.
    All dualities come from ignorant inference.
    They are like dreams or flowers in air: foolish to try to grasp them.
    Gain and loss, right and wrong: such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.
    If the eye never sleeps, all dreams will naturally cease.
    If the mind makes no discriminations, the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence.
    To understand the mystery of this One-essence is to be released from all entanglements.
    When all things are seen equally the timeless Self-essence is reached.
    No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relationless state.
    Consider movement stationary and the stationary in motion, both movement and rest disappear.
    When such dualities cease to exist Oneness itself cannot exist.
    To this ultimate finality no law or description applies.
    For the unified mind in accord with the Way all self-centered striving ceases.
    Doubts and irresolutions vanish and life in true faith is possible.
    With a single stroke we are freed from bondage; nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing.
    All is empty, clear, self-illuminating, with no exertion of the mind's power.
    Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.
    In this world of suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self.
    To come directly into harmony with this reality just simply say when doubt arises, 'Not two.'
    In this 'not two' nothing is separate, nothing is excluded.
    No matter when or where, enlightenment means entering this truth.
    And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space; in it a single thought is ten thousand years.
    Emptiness here, Emptiness there, but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes.
    Infinitely large and infinitely small; no difference, for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen.
    So too with Being and Non-Being.
    Don't waste time with doubts and arguments that have nothing to do with this.
    One thing, all things: move among and intermingle, without distinction.
    To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.
    To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with trusting mind.
    The Way is beyond language, for in it there is
    no yesterday,
    no tomorrow,
    no today.



    Enjoy the video on the 10 Ox Herding Pictures.  This is a classic Zen explanation of our journey.



    108 Bows
    Before bowing, I prepare the proper mindset:
    - Bowing is one way to purify myself.
    - Through bowing, I learn how to humble myself and how to have a healthy body and mind.
    - I bow to realize that others' lives are just as valuable as mine.
    - I bow to get rid of my selfishness.
    - I bow because it is the desire of my true self.
    - I bow for all living things, and for peace in the universe.
    1. I bow to wonder where I came from and where I am and where I am going.
    2. I bow to appreciate my parents for giving birth to me.
    3. I bow to think about who I am.
    4. I bow to find my true self.
    5. I bow to always appreciate my body and spirit.
    6. I bow for the well-being of my body and spirit.
    7. I bow to think about my true desires.
    8. I bow to find myself and to learn how to control myself.
    9. I bow to appreciate the life I live today.
    10. I bow to give thanks for being alive.
    11. I bow to think about how much I love myself.
    12. I bow to be able to always love my family.
    13. I bow to feel happiness and peace of mind through love.
    14. I bow to look for happiness only through love.
    15. I bow to know that unchangeable love is flowing through the universe.
    16. I bow to the teacher who has shown me the right way.
    17. I bow to feel that love originates inside me.
    18. I bow to reflect that my teacher's lessons are inside me.
    19. I bow to feel that all living things, and the universe, are inside me.
    20. I bow to remember that my ancestors and gods are inside me.
    21. I bow to ask for forgiveness from the people I have hurt, because it hurts the whole universe.
    22. I bow to take care of myself and not to do bad things.
    23. I bow to rid myself of arrogance.
    24. I bow to rid myself of false humility, even if I am in bad circumstances.
    25. I bow to call attention to the good in others, but not the bad.
    26. I bow to keep others' secrets.
    27. I bow to rid myself of hatred of others.
    28. I bow to rid myself of anger against others.
    29. I bow to not repeat anything I have not heard.
    30. I bow to not repeat anything I have not seen.
    31. I bow to always be ready, but not to expect things to be easy.
    32. I bow to avoid expecting obedience from others.
    33. I bow to avoid expecting difficulty in my life.
    34. I bow to make the best of each moment in my life.
    35. I bow to live a righteous life.
    36. I bow to repay even the smallest debt of gratitude.
    37. I bow to not put my own needs over the needs of others.
    38. I bow to not be stingy to others.
    39. I bow to not harm others in order to get ahead.
    40. I bow to try not to obtain valuable things with little effort.
    41. I bow to have the power to control my desires.
    42. I bow to reflect that life is more valuable than anything else.
    43. I bow to know that suffering comes from an attached mind.
    44. I bow to avoid making foolish mistakes out of ignorance.
    45. I bow to try to attain deep wisdom.
    46. I bow to learn to be nice to people, even if I have negative feelings toward them.
    47. I bow to avoid clinging to the strong in order to hurt those who are weaker than me.
    48. I bow to be honest with myself, and also to avoid flattering others.
    49. I bow to be true and honest with myself above all others.
    50. I bow to know that happiness, unhappiness, and desire are all within my mind.

    51.  I bow to know that happiness does not come from others, it comes from me.
    52. I bow to realize the value of living a smooth, peaceful life.
    53. I bow to avoid looking back at the past, and to not worry about the future.
    54. I bow to own possessions, but not to be controlled by them.
    55. I bow to know that I can find peace by being patient.
    56. I bow to know that having a repentant mind is the best mind.
    57. I bow to find freedom through wisdom.
    58. I bow to control my mind, not to be controlled by it.
    59. I bow to be diligent in my efforts to improve myself.
    60. I bow to be thankful for the hard times I have had, because they have made me strong.
    61. I bow to keep my original pure mind, even when time passes.
    62. I bow to pray with a thankful mind for everything.
    63. I bow to be thankful that I can find myself in silence.
    64. I bow to reflect on the value of living a pure, honest life.
    65. I bow for the people who are working in bad conditions.
    66. I bow for the people who are starving, poor, and living hard lives.
    67. I bow for the people who work to provide me with healthy food.
    68. I bow to have a generous mind, even if I don't have enough for myself.
    69. I bow for the precious lives of my children, who I have brought into the world.
    70. I bow for my partner, who became one with me through love.
    71. I bow for all disabled people.
    72. I bow for friends who have been beside me, sharing my laughter and tears.
    73. I bow for moderation, even when I have enough to waste.
    74. I bow for a humble mind.
    75. I bow for humility, so that I can always put others first.
    76. I bow to realize that nature is being destroyed.
    77. I bow to realize that all lives are interconnected.
    78. I bow for all the lives destroyed by the greed of humanity.
    79. I bow for all the ecosystems that are recovering after being hurt by humanity.
    80. I bow to listen to the sounds of life that are all around me.
    81. I bow to realize that my life is the movement of my soul.
    82. I bow to realize that the object of love and longing is life.
    83. I bow to feel my soul being purified when I hear the sound of a clean, clear stream.
    84. I bow to give thanks for being able to hear and enjoy the beautiful songs of birds.
    85. I bow to be refreshed by the feeling of a cool breeze.
    86. I bow to be thankful as I breathe in fresh air.
    87. I bow to be thankful for the sight of beautiful wildflowers that are always present.
    88. I bow to give thanks for the mountains and landscapes that speak to me through wind and snow.
    89. I bow to the Earth, which feeds all living things.
    90. I bow to the sky, which gives life to all living things.
    91. I bow for my own peace.
    92. I bow to hope for peace in everything around me.
    93. I bow for the peace of my neighbor.
    94. I bow for peace within countries that have been separated for no reason.
    95. I bow for peace between countries arguing for political reasons.
    96. I bow for peace and harmony among all religions.
    97. I bow to hope for peace in all dead and living things.
    98. I bow to hope for peace between human beings and nature.
    99. I bow for a mind that is enlightened and peaceful
    100. I bow for harmony between the poor and the rich.
    101. I bow for harmony between the sick and the healthy.
    102. I bow for harmony between those who have learned and those who have not.
    103. I bow for those who have fallen into darkness.
    104. I bow to accept all of the things I have done.
    105. I bow to be thankful for all of the people who love me and take care of me.
    106. I bow to be thankful for all of the good and beautiful things in my life.
    107. I bow to be thankful for my life and to reflect on the lives that are yet to be.
    108. I bow for myself, realizing that my own precious life is like the universe.






    The Little Heron Zen Hermitage offers a unique collection of books to borrow, all intended to support the study and practice of Buddhism in its many forms and traditions.

    The Library is available to practitioners who can borrow the books for a three week period, with an option to renew.

    See Quang Vo Uy after Sunday Service or Meditation, or make an appointment for another time.



    When we respond to social problems, there is no need to think that we are involved in such activities because we are Buddhist.  We do them because we are responding compassionately to the situation, as should anyone who is sensitive to what that situation calls for.

    The Little Heron Zen Hermitage is re-launching a food bank collection.  So, I'm asking all of you to please donate non-perishable food items to the drop-off box at the front door.  The food will alternately be delivered to Neighbour to Neighbour and to The Good Shepherd. 

    Volunteers would be appreciated to help deliver the boxes, when they are full.  This is a great opportunity to introduce your children or grandchildren to the importance of volunteerism.  

    While fresh foods are an important part of anyone's diet, non-perishables are also a vital resource . You can make the most of your non-perishable food donation when you consider three things: nutrition, usefulness, and quality vs. quantity.

    Most needed items include:

    • whole grain foods, pastas, rice, cereal
    • baking goods, sugar, salt, flour
    • canned beans, vegetable soup/noodles, fruits, and vegetables
    • lentils and beans







    To Register:  sistertinhquang (at)  Put full name of class or course in the Subject line, along with full name, address, phone and email numbers.

    Unless otherwise noted, all teachings and meditation are held at
    74 Alpine Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario 

    North of Concession Street, between Upper Wentworth and Belwood Avenue. 
    Look for the black door and Phu Dogs.  Parking on the street.