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Toronto Zen Centre

A Buddhist Community

Thanksgiving Altar

Ceremony of Gratitude

On Sunday, October 20th, 2019, the Centre will have a special Ceremony of Gratitude.

In Buddhism, the human realm is the best opportunity to reach enlightenment. This ceremony allows us to express our gratitude, not only for being born human, but also for the ability to practice.

We will begin at 9am with a period of formal zazen. During the sitting, participants will have an opportunity to write an anonymous note about something for which they feel grateful and place it in a bowl on the altar.

At about 10:00am, we will go to the Buddha Hall for the Thanksgiving Ceremony. The ceremony consists of chanting and prostrations, a circumambulation, the offering of donations, and special reading of a Gatha of Gratitude. There will also be a time when the notes of gratitude (made anonymously) are read aloud by participants.

Who May Attend

Family members, children, and friends are most welcome to attend. Please plan to arrive at the Centre by 9:45 am. Family and friends may wait in the downstairs kitchen during the sitting period. Just before the ceremony, everyone will convene in the Buddha Hall. At the end of the ceremony we will quietly exit the Buddha Hall to the tolling of the large temple bell.

What to Bring

All participants should bring a bagged donation of dry or canned vegetarian food. As well, people are welcome to make an optional monetary donation; small envelopes will be available for people to use for cash or cheques. The donations will be offered during the ceremony. Any funds which are collected will be forwarded to a charity working for hunger relief. Food donations will be delivered to a local food bank.

Vegetarian Potluck

After the ceremony we will be having a potluck celebration. If you can, please bring a vegetarian dish to share. Both savory and sweet items are most welcome, such as: homemade soup, rolls or baked goods, casserole dish, salad, cheese or fruit platter, noodle stir fry, vegetarian pate, dip, cookies, pies, etc.

Saturday Advance Work Period

There will be a work period beginning at 9:30 AM on Saturday, October 19th, to setup for the ceremony. We are hoping that those familiar with altar setup will be able to attend these preparations. Some Temple Cleaning is also important at this time.

Please Let us Know:

If you can attend the Saturday workperiod and/or the Sunday ceremony, please email the office at

If you plan to bring guests or family members on Sunday, indicate # of adults, # of children and whether you will be bringing a dish to share.. This will significantly help in the planning for the ceremony and pot-luck.