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Toronto Zen Centre

A Buddhist Community


Ceremonies Regularly Observed at the Centre

Kannon Day (January): Prostrations, chanting, and incense offerings to honor and express gratitude to the Bodhisattva of Compassion.
The Buddha’s Parinirvana (on or near February 13): All-Day sitting or evening zazen which concludes with special chanting service with account of the Buddha’s Parinirvana.
Jukai (near April 8 and in November): Formal ceremony of entering the Buddha’s Way. Short Repentance Ceremony; chanting; "incense offering"; taking of the Three Refuges, Three General Resolutions, and Ten Cardinal Precepts.
Vesak, The Buddha’s Birthday Celebration (end of May or early June): Offerings made by participants of sweet tea, flowers and small baby present; story and play of the Buddha’s birth; parade with elephant; sleeping sage tells Jataka tales; pot-luck picnic with birthday cake; presents for all children.
Water-Baby Ceremony (end of August): Ceremony for infants and fetuses who have died through miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion. Tiny garments are sewn and placed on Jizo figures as a way of remembering these "water babies." The service is held in the Jizo garden, with special chants and offerings of incense and water.
World Peace Day (September): Chanting services devoted to Peace on Earth. All the countries and geographical areas are recited with the peace prayer, May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Bodhidharma Day (on or near October 5): Zazen (or all-day sitting); Special chanting service with powdered incense offering.
Hungry Ghost Ceremony (on or near Halloween): People (especially children) arrive in costumes; Special Hungry Ghost Altar set up for receiving food and water offerings; story of Hungry Ghosts; Hungry Ghost chant; trick-or-treating throughout house; party.
Thanksgiving Ceremony (Sunday before Thanksgiving): Ceremonies of gratitude; offerings; chanting; circumambulation.
The Buddha’s Enlightenment (December 8): Five- or seven-day sesshin beginning with ceremony, or ceremony during a sitting. Reading of Buddha’s Enlightenment account; chanting; circumambulation; "tossing" of the sutra books.
Home Purifications (Late December just before New Year’s): Sangha homes are thoroughly cleansed in preparation for the New Year; ceremony of chanting, circumambulation throughout house and offerings at altar(s).
New Year’s Ceremony (December 31): Zazen; full Repentance Ceremony; reading aloud of unsigned resolutions; incense offerings at altars throughout the house; driving out of demons circumambulation with noise-making; Precepts ceremony; candle-lighting ceremony with gongs; New Year’s prayer; music and refreshments.
Ceremonies of Aid and Famine Relief Ceremonies (quarterly): Zazen; chanting; prostrations; circumambulation with incense offering and, if a Famine Relief Ceremony, offerings of dry or canned food and money; Special Eko to return merit to focus of ceremony.

Other services held at the Centre include weddings, naming ceremonies for babies, memorial services and funerals.