Founded in 1997
The Society was founded in 1997 and registered with Revenue Canada as a charitable organization. The membership grew from 3 people to about 30 within a year or two.
We hope to provide Sangha and teachers to those in the North who are interested in establishing a Buddhist practice and working toward realization of their Buddha nature. At the moment we have two groups that enjoy regular contact with a teacher: a Vipassana group and a Zen group. We are open to sharing our resources with other groups that may form in the future.
Our nickname, The Open Door Sangha, reflects the cooperative spirit of our founding members who were practicing in different Buddhist traditions. We currently have a Vipassana group and a Zen group. Having two traditions within our Sangha makes it possible for people to choose the tradition that feels most comfortable for them.
Both traditions use techniques to help sharpen our attention, predominantly by learning to focus on the breath. When we practice observing our breath we become aware of perpetual changes in breathing and the rising and passing away of events outside and within our bodies and minds.
In Vipassana the principle focus is on strengthening our concentration so that we may be able to view our thoughts with a clear and steady awareness. We begin with attention to the breadth and slowly move our perception out from there to include our bodily sensations, immediate surroundings, and even emotions as they arise. In Zen we also uses the breadth as the focal point of our practice, but it is further rooted on an attention to outward form, in that not only do we meditate together, we also chant, bow, take tea, and walk together. It is largely through our attention to this form that we gain insights both into ourselves and into what is happening around us.
In meditating together we each contribute to a concept known as the Sangha; this is the spiritual community that serves to focus and strengthen our individual practice towards a genuine awareness and appreciation of who we are. Experienced members provide guidance and foster a supportive environment towards open discussion of Buddhist principles and practices, and can offer personalized dialogue on various aspects of daily practice or recommendations for advanced learning. What's more, through our interactions with fellow Sangha members and activities we are provided an additional avenue to practice our mindfulness and see how we truly are in the world.
We rely on ongoing donations to further our mission of supporting Buddhism in the north; without regular contributions there would not be a Buddhist Meditation Society in northern BC. For newcomers we suggest $5 for each evening, and for ongoing members, a monthly donation of $25 is expected. Those who are unable to give financially are welcome in our Sangha and can contribute in other ways. Sangha members are entitled to borrow from our small library of Buddhist books.
Click here to view the BMSNBC constitution.