Sakyadhita Newsletter 19                    
Full Moon, April, 2013

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Meet the Sakyadhita Canada 2013 Board!


Jayantā (Shirley Johannesen) - President

Jayantā, founder & president of Stretch Awareness, was introduced to Buddhist meditation by the late Anagarika Dhamma Dinna. In 1987, she was asked by the late Ayya Khema to be the Canadian representative of Sakyadhita, and has been actively involved since that time. She has trained at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery as a Lay Buddhist Minister.

Tich nu Tinh Quang  

Sister Tinh Quang - 


Thich nu Tinh Quang is a Zen Buddhist nun who teaches at her home, Little Heron Zen Hermitage, in Hamilton, Ontario. She was ordained in 2001, in Vietnam. She represents Sakyadhita Canada on the board of the Buddhist Council of Canada. When not at the Hermitage, she is either teaching off-site, or walking her dog through the conservation area.


Bena Patel - Treasurer

Bena is an accountant in Calgary, AB and has been a friend of Jayanta's for many years. When Sakyadhita Canada needed a treasurer, she quickly volunteered.

Leslie Brown  

Leslie Brown - Secretary

Leslie Brown is a Hellerwork practitioner, living in Sidney, B.C. She became interested in Buddhism through yoga and meditation, and loves to share her experience and learning by facilitating meditation groups & workshops. She also gets great joy from playing with her children & grandchildren.


Susan Pesut -Publication

Susan works in graphic design and lives in the Pemberton Valley, BC. She is a long time student of Buddhist studies and has been an active supporter of Sakyadhita Canada. She presently spends a lot of time being outdoors and working in her garden.


Patricia Galaczy -Member

Patricia Galaczy is a Leadership Educator in Victoria, BC with a life-long commitment to practicing, teaching and integrating the Dharma in her life and work. She met Jayanta presenting a paper on Leadership and the Dharma at the 2009 Sakyadhita International Conference in Vietnam, and has been engaged with supporting Sakyadhita International and Sakyadhita Canada ever since.


Mavis Fenn- Member

Mavis Fenn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo. Her research interests include Canadian Buddhist women and Sakyadhita. She has attended several Sakyadhita conferences.


JaEun Sunim - Member

Ja Eun is a Bhikkhuni ordained in the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. She has a PhD in Biochemistry, and enjoyed a brief career as a research scientist before travelling to Asia. She lived, studied and practiced in South Korea for 11 years, before returning to her native Calgary in 2009. She is currently a professional chaplain at the Foothills Medical Centre and the Vice Abbot of Seoraesa Temple.

                VESAK "Buddha's Birthday"

Temple Vesak Vesakha Puja (Vesak or Wesak) is an important Buddhist festival, and in the Theravada tradition, in countries such as Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand, it is usually celebrated on the full moon in May. The dates of celebration however, differ from country to country depending on what calendar that particular country uses (traditional, lunar or luni-solar). Although the dates of Vesak may differ from tradition to tradition, Buddhist communities share a common focus in their celebration and their hope for world peace and harmony. This celebration of common themes and objectives against the backdrop of cultural diversity is a unique feature of Buddhism.

It is a time of commemoration of the Buddha's birth, and for some Buddhist traditions, this is also a celebration that marks his enlightenment and passing away (parinibbāna).


It is a time when temples and homes are cleaned and decorated, lanterns are made, flowers and fruit adorn the altars, candle processions take place, with ceremonies and celebrations going on for several days - and most of all, it is a celebration of much color and joy.


Vesak is a chance to remember the Triple Gem, and reflect on what that represents. It is a time to show respect and gratitude to the Buddha, for his life and teachings (Dhamma).

At temples and monasteries, monastics and lay practioners join for a candle-lit procession, to make offerings, to chant, and to sit through the night in meditation. The celebration ends the following morning with a communal meal served to the monastics by dozens of laypeople. It is a time to honor the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, and to recommit to practice.

 By Venerable Yin Kit, PoLam Buddhist Nunnery,
 Chilliwack, BC

 Around the world, Vesak is celebrated in different ways. In the Chinese Mahayana tradition, the birthday of the Sakyamuni Buddha falls on the 8th day of April in the lunar calendar. The major ceremony is "Bathing the 

Bathing Buddha Buddha" with offerings, chanting and meditation. Bathing the Buddha: Legend records that when Prince Siddhartha was born, there were auspicious signs heralding his birth. The sky was clear with brilliant sunshine, flowers blooming, birds singing and dragons appeared with two streams of purified water that showered the newborn Prince. At his birth, he immediately took seven steps and a lotus flower sprung up on each step. Then pointing one finger to the sky and the other to the ground, he said: "In the sky above and the earth below, I vow to liberate all suffering beings" - meaning that those who practice diligently and properly, according to his teachings, will be able to be liberated from all sufferings and become enlightened. On the day of Vesak, the statue of young Siddhartha Gautama is set up amidst of beautiful flowers and fragrant water. People can then walk up to the statue, kneel down and bathe the young Gautama with 3 scoops of fragrant water - bearing in mind the purpose of bathing the Buddha: to remind ourselves to follow the Noble Path taught by the Buddha, to purify and liberate our minds from all defilements, to continue cultivating and developing the wholesome and wonderful qualities similar to that of the Buddha. Thus able to bring happiness, harmony, peace and joy to ourselves and others. All walks of life, those of different faiths, nationality and race, are very welcome to join in this happy event.


By Venerable JaEun Sunim, Calgary Seoraesa Temple, Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

 In Korean Buddhism, the traditional celebration of the birth of Sakyamuni Buddha is celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month, by the lunar calendar. One of the most distinctive sights in Korean temples around this time is lotus lanterns.

Lanterns Each year, in preparation for the celebration of the birth of our teacher, nuns, monks, and lay community members are busy making lanterns. As nuns in the Korean Jogye Order, we spent hours sitting on the floors of the temple halls, assembling the wire frames and covering them with white paper, making the individual coloured crepe paper petals, and then gluing on the petals to make the lanterns. Lay followers would come to help out, making it a special time to meet and socialize as well. If you ever travel to Korea in the week before Buddha's birthday, you can recognize Buddhists by their fingertips, stained pink from making lanterns!

 Buddha's Birthday is celebrated in all Korean temples, with special prayers and chanting. Lunch is served to the many guests who arrive, and then the lanterns are hung about the temple grounds. Guests make donations, and hang a tag with the names of their family members on a lantern. As the sun sets, a candle in each lantern is lit, and the community gathers quietly under the glowing lanterns to chant the Buddha's

Lantern2 name and to contemplate our gratitude for our teacher, the teachings, and the lineage of great nuns and monks who have carried the teachings throughout the centuries. We would sit under the lanterns until all the candles had burned out, and then sleep, happy and exhausted.

 The next morning, the lanterns are taken down and the paper is torn off the metal frames and burned, a reminder of the Buddha's teaching of impermanence. There is one week to rest before the beginning of the 3-month summer retreat, which begins on the full moon, the 15th day of the 4th month.


                      ONE WHO SEES
"For a long time, Lord, I have wanted to come and set eyes on the Blessed One, but I had not the strength in this body to come and see the Blessed One."
"Enough, Vakkali! What is there to see in this vile body? He who sees Dhamma, Vakkali, sees me; he who sees me sees Dhamma. Truly seeing Dhamma, one sees me; seeing me one sees Dhamma."
SN 22.87

As we celebrate Vesak this year we can rest in the knowledge that although it has been 2,557 years since the Buddha's enlightenment we still have the opportunity to see as He saw --- that radiant clear consciousness is just as available to us today as it was then. Through practice and dedication, the Dhamma can shine in our mind as it did in His. My wish for all of us is that we support each other in the difficult task of "crossing the stream" and that everyday becomes Vesak.... The day that clarity rises in our mind and we see the Buddha: The Way It Is.

Bathing Ceremony
with transmission of the
refuges & precepts.
Sunday May 19th

HAMILTON ON:Little Heron Zen Hermitage
Buddha's Birthday & 
Refuge Ceremony
Sunday May 19th
Thich nu Tinh Quang

HAMILTON ON:Wesak Celetration
Chau Huong Dam Temple
Sunday May 26th
Contact: Thich Tam Dang

TORONTO ON:Wesak 2013
Buddhist Council of Canada
At Queen's Park
Saturday May 11th
416- 487-2777