Asalha Puja: Beginning of Vassa (Rains Retreat) - June 15 to August 28, 2015

Sometimes called "Dharma Day", Asalha Puja commemorates the first sermon of the Buddha.  This is the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, meaning the sutra which set the wheel of dharma in motion.  In this teaching, the Buddha explained his doctrine of the Four Noble Truths.

Vassa, the Rains Retreat, begins the next day.  During Vassa monks and nuns remain in monasteries/temples/hermitages and intensify their meditation practice.  We can leave for important duties.  Therefore, I will be mostly unavailable during this time.

Laypeople can visit and participate by taking food, candles and other necessities to monks/nuns.  They also sometimes give up eating meat, smoking, or luxuries during Vassa, and take extra effort to practice the Five Precepts.



Due to the annual Rains Retreat, beginning on June 15, 2015 all events at the Hermitage will be halted until mid September.

Due to construction on Concession Street, please allow yourself time for the detours. Concession Street is under construction until December, 2015 and parts of it will be closed at different times.



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.

Cancelled until mid September

Due to construction on Concession Street, please allow yourself time for the detours.

**NOTE**:  Sunday services will be cancelled after June 14 until mid-September, due to Rains Retreat.

    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 2 (at home)
    February 5
    March 5
    April 2
    Sunday, May (During Wesak Ceremony)
    June 4
    July 30*
    August 27
    September 24
    October 29
    November 26
    December 24

    * To be recited at home



    DOKUSAN DATES (Thursday closest to New Moon)

    January 15
    February 19
    March 19
    April 16
    May 14
    June 18
    August 13
     September 10
    October 15
    November 12
    December 10

    Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.  
    Important:  Be seated 5 minutes before the beginning of the Bell Gatha.

    June 4, 2015 - Bodhisattva Precept Ceremony

    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 clicking on Contact button in red strip at bottom of screen. (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 help 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. 


    Beginners or those wishing to re-establish their meditation practice are able to learn the basics of meditation by attending our Introductory Meditation Class. The class is two hours long and held at 7 p.m. This is a one time class, being offered on various dates.  The next class will be held:

    Friday, June 5, 2015
    7:00 p.m.

    To register, email sistertinhquang (at), by May 28. 



    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.


    Buddhist Teachings and Meditation

    8 Mondays

    Beginning on April 20, 2015 (Last class on June 8)
    No class on Easter Monday or Victoria Day

    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 Brhma Viharas, Metta, Karuna, The Five Hindrances, Dukkha, Intention, and Equanimity. Vipassana meditation is a lifelong process that requires daily practice, discipline, and patience.

    Attend all or some of the classes.  Those who attend all of the classes will get a certificate at the end of the course.

    Fee:  Suggested Dana - $20 per week

    To register for complete Course, "contact us" by scrolling down to the bottom of screen, by April 2, 2015.  Or email:

    The Power of Awareness - Part 2  in Fall of 2015



    The Dharma Teacher Training Programme is an opportunity to deepen your commitment to your practice and your vow to help others.  You will be encouraged to widen your focus from being largely a questioner and receiver, to being able to guide, inspire and teach others.  During this training period your relationship to your teacher and Centre will have the opportunity to mature.


    You have taken the Five Precepts and the Bodhisattva Vows.  If you took the Five Precepts in another tradition, before taking the Dharma Teacher Training Programme, you must retake the precepts in the Little Heron Zen Hermitage.  Precepts will be given in May, 2016.

    Application must be made by August 15, 2015 for the First Semester training, beginning in September of this year.  Contact Su co Tinh Quang for an information package.



    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.



    AVALOKITESVARA (cont'd.)

    Kuan Yin (Guan The Am) Bodhisattva even showed up at the Wesak
    Parade in Mississauga on May 24, 2015. 



    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



    Not all of these retreats are run by us.  As I am often asked if I know of any retreats coming up, I have made any retreats of which I am aware, available here for your convenience.

    These are rare opportunities to see what is possible when you give this time and space of meditation to yourself, away from your usual, busy life.


    If you wish to develop and reinforce meditation practice, join the Zen Buddhist Temple's wonderful residential Sangha during the summer months (May to September; one week minimum).  Daily meditation and chanting, gardening practice will be offered to all who wish to cultivate a simple and focused lifestyle.  Please consult with Sanha if you are interested.  Space is limited.  $200 weekly.  Contact Sanha at for more details.


    Residential Retreat with Ayya Medhanandi – August 2015August 15–21, 2015  (note updated final day: Friday, Aug. 21)


    Chapin Mill Retreat Centre, Batavia, New York








    Fourteen people will represent Canada at the Conference, this year.  Please join us in Indonesia, in June.

    Sakyadhita International 14th Conference



    Second Tuesday of the month (beginning March 10, 2015)
    at 7:30 p.m.

    The Jewel Net of Indra
    by Francis H. Cook

    this is an accompaniment to

    THE AVATAMSAKA SUTRA (The Flower Ornament Scripture)

    A PDF copy here:

    The PDF link may have to be copied and pasted into your URL.

    IMPORTANT:  This is a participatory group.  Please make sure you have read the chapter assigned, bring it with you to the group, and be prepared to talk about it for at least 10 minutes.

    To register contact Stephen Hudecki at 





    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.