What is the Toronto Zen Centre?
The Toronto Zen Centre was founded in 1967 by Roshi Philip Kapleau to provide a supportive environment for the authentic study and practice of Zen Buddhism.
The Centre's mission is to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for the study and practice of Zen Buddhism. The Centre is dedicated to helping all beings overcome suffering and to helping people learn to live with wisdom, compassion, joy and equanimity in the midst of their everyday lives. The Centre’s outreach includes Prison Dharma work, famine relief ceremonies and ceremonies of aid for disasters at home and abroad, as well as weekly chanting services for the ill.
Members are encouraged though the teachings of Buddhism to be upright citizens and of service to others.
The Centre is recognized as a non-profit, religious, charitable organization in Ontario.
The Toronto Zen Centre is the oldest Zen group in Canada, established in 1967 by Roshi Philip Kapleau’s Canadian students as the Rochester Zen Center’s first affiliate group.
The Toronto Zen Centre originally began as a meditation room in a rented house. Members of the Centre quickly purchased a house on Christie Street in order to establish a stable site for Zen practice. Soon, the location on Christie Street was outgrown by the expanding community of Zen practitioners and the members moved to a property on Lyndhurst Street. Members worked hard to pay down the mortgage at Lyndhurst and the Centre became financially independent. In 1985, the Toronto Zen Centre founded its present location on High Park Gardens through the generous contributions of members and friends. The Centre is conveniently located today just steps away from public transit and across the street from High Park.
Throughout the years members of the Toronto Zen Centre — our Sangha — have worked to remodel the Centre, improving the gardens, adding a meditation room with a custom made Japanese style altar, building a large kitchen, redoing floors, plumbing, electrical and, in general, making this house into the place of dedicated spiritual practice.
The first people who helped found the Toronto Zen Centre came from all walks of life. The financial responsibility that came with establishing the Centre through donations cultivated a habit of fiscal mindfulness that lives on today. Those who helped, even in a small way, saw their faith in the Dharma deeply rewarded again and again. Membership at the Centre has grown to over 100 dedicated individuals. As well, the Center serves an increasing number of people from the local community through workshops, classes and ceremonies.