Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vassa in Canada

Canoeing in Algonquin Park
Hi Friends, Namo Buddhaya

I am now spending the three months vassa (rainy season) period in Ottawa Canada, at the Hilda Jayewardenaramaya. I am staying there with the two resident monks, Ven. Jinananda and Ven. Vijjitha. There is a fairly busy schedule of giving talks and leading one day and weekend retreats in different places. However, in between teaching programs there is time for some excursions to visit some other monasteries and take nature walks and some mindful canoeing on the plentiful lakes in the province of Ontario.
After the first two weeks I made a three day excursion into the countryside outside of Ottawa. First was a visit to the Sati Saraniya nuns Hermitage where I had lunch dana with Ajahn Medanandi and.... We were  showed  the nice newly constructed meditation hall where we had a short meditation and I gave a talk. Later on that same day I went to stay for two days at the Tisarana Buddhist Monastery near the small town of Perth.
It was good to meet Ajahn Viradhammo again after several years. There are three young bhikkhus and two anagarikas staying with him for the vassa season. I stayed in a nice kuti in the forest.

With Ven. Vijjitha in front of Ottawa Vihara

The new Meditation hall at Sati Saraniya Hermitage for nuns

Entrance sign at the Tisarana Monastery

Notice the deer behind the white tent

Important Monastery bell

Resident monastic community

The kuti in the forest where I stayed two nights

During the weekdays I made a couple days trips out to the nature a few hours driving from Ottawa with three Dhamma friends, Mark, David and Nissanka.

         On a day hike with Mark on a high ridge in Gatineau Park

                    A day long canoe trip on the Madawaska River
                 David and Nissanka Prepare to launch the canoe 
Local wildlife
                       The odd couple- a black and white swan

                             A a busy beaver on the riverbank

             The beaver peering out from the safety of his house

                                             A heron...
                                         ....takes flight

 Picturesque countryside

    Back at the Hilda Jayewardena vihara we held a morning long                                             outdoor meditation

                                Leading the meditation with Ven. Vijjitha

 Walking meditation

 Yoga exercise


A highlight of my nature outings was a three day canoeing/camping trip to Booth Lake in the famous Algonquin Park. This is the first time I had been on such a canoe/camping journey. The Algonquin Park is a huge National Park in Ontario made up of many large and smaller lakes which are connected by rivers and small creeks. Sometimes you have to "Porterage" carry your canoes and gear across stretches where it is not possible to paddle. One can make canoe trips of many weeks through all of these wilderness waterways and hundreds of campsites are available.

          With David and Nissanka on the shore of Booth Lake in                                                 Algongquin Park

Mark prepares lunch

Our tents

Launching the canoes for a mindful cruise

Early morning fog adds to the mystique 

 Time to reflect

A cabin behind the trees

Our turn around point

Mark filtering water

Heading back to civilization
 Crossing the last 'portage'

During these last two months I also made  a five day trip back to the Bhavana Society forest monastery to lead the yearly Youth retreat in Mid August. And in the first few days of September I went to Toronto to lead a three day retreat at the Toronto Mahavihara. 

A Dhamma discussion during the Youth retreat at the Bhavana Society Forest Monastery

On a walk through the forest to a creek accompanied by
Ven. Seelananda, Samanera Mangala and Youth retreat participants

The retreat at the Toronto Mahavihara


  1. Thanks for sharing your lovely pics, Bhante! I have just done a retreat with Dhammaruwen, my first retreat in several years. I must do more retreats: my practice has slipped terribly without them.

  2. It is wonderful to discover your blog Bhante R! It is so joyful to see you flowing blissfully, like the spectacular rivers and lakes, moment to moment, crossing the 'portages' of existence with grace and ease. :-D
    In Metta...