This weekend, May 28, 2016, 28 Canadian Buddhist temples and centres from most major schools of Buddhism will celebrate Vesak Day — commemorating the birth, Paranirvana and Enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha. The weekend event, including blessings, chantings, ceremonies, bathing Buddha ritual and even martial arts demonstrations is in the Greater Toronto Area, at the Mississauga Celebration Square.
From their website, vesakcelebration.com, the organizers describe the background of the event: “Vesak is the holiest celebration of the Buddhists around the globe which falls on the full moon day of May every year. It is a celebration of three remarkable events of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing away (Parinibbana/Parinirvana).”
“Mississauga’s Celebration Square will be hosting Vesak: Buddha’s Birthday Celebration on Saturday, May 28, 2016. This event will be held outdoors joint by all the Buddhist Temples in the Greater Toronto Area. The event includes: exhibitions by local Buddhist temples, blessings chanting ceremonies by Buddhist monks and nuns, the Bathing Buddha ritual, traditional music and dance, martial arts and much more! This is a FREE event!”
Food Drive and Benefit
In the spirit of compassion and giving, the event also supports a food drive:
We hope you are as excited as we are for “Vesak: Buddha’s Birthday Celebration” this Sunday at Celebration Square. The day is sure to be a wonderful celebration for all of us but in the spirit of Vesak we have decided to take this opportunity to help those less fortunate. This Sunday we are running a food drive, collecting non-perishable vegetarian food items for food banks, Food4Kids, in the Region of Peel.
Every day, thousands of people in Ontario depend on food banks to feed themselves and their families. However, the demand on food banks is extremely high and they often run out of resources. Food banks are dependent upon generous donations from those who are able to donate. Goodwill and charity have always been distinct Buddhist values and Vesak is a time to bring happiness to others. So, in the spirit of Buddhism and Vesak, let us come together to provide help to those who need it. Any non-perishable food items such as canned goods will be greatly appreciated. Below is a list of items that are frequently in high demand:
Below is a list of items most needed by Food4Kids.
Most needed items:
Fruit Cups: Pears, Pineapple, Mixed fruit or applesauce (packed in juice… not syrup)
Cereal Bars: Kellogg’s All Bran Bars, Granola Bars (nut free)
Protein: Noodle Soup, Stagg Chili (Easy Open), Campbell’s Soup at Hand
Snacks: Goldfish crackers (snack size), Raisins (snack boxes)
Fresh Fruit: Bags of apples, Box of Clementine oranges, Bananas
The Organizing Temples and Centres:
West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre – https://www.westendbuddhist.com/
Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple of Toronto – https://www.english.fgs2.ca/
Ching Kwok Buddhist Temple of Toronto – https://www.cktemple.ca/
Participating Buddhist Temples/Centres/Associations:
Toronto Mahavihara Society – https://www.torontomahavihara.com/
Kunphen Buddhist Centre – https://www.kunphen.ca/
Buddhist Prajna Temple – https://www.PrajnaTemple.org/
Toronto Buddhist Church – https://www.tbc.on.ca/
Bangladesh Buddhist Association of Canada – https://www.bbac.ca/
Sirimangalo International – https://www.sirimangalo.org/
Lama Yeshe Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre Group – https://www.lamayesheling.org/
Buddha Meditation Centre of Greater Toronto – https://www.mahamevnawa.ca/
Mahadhammika Temple – https://www.facebook.com/Mahadhammika-Temple-Toronto-Canada-236059110115087/
Cham Shan Temple – https://www.chamshantemple.org/
Huayen Buddhist Community of Ontario – https://www.huayenontario.org/
Sakyadhita Canada Association of Buddhist Women – https://www.sakyadhitacanada.org/
Toronto Zen Centre – https://www.torontozen.org/
Riwoche Tibetan Buddhist Temple – https://www.riwoche.com/
Khmer Kampuchea Krom Buddhist Temple
Shaolin Cultural Centre of Canada – https://www.shaolintemplecanada.com/
Fu Sien Jong Temple – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fu-Sien-Tong-Buddhist-Temple/392759320761173/
Ambedkar Mission – https://www.ambedkarmission.org/
Fo Ding Buddhist Centre
Yanviriya Buddhist Temple – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yanviriya-Temple/115710488510665/
Khmer Buddhist Temple of Ontario – https://www.facebook.com/Khmer-Buddhist-Temple-of-Ontario-Wat-Khmer-Toronto-432704933478357/
Indian Buddhist Society of Toronto
Bodhi Association Canada – https://www.khenposodargye.org/2013/03/bodhi-association-canada/
Buddhist Education Foundation for Canada – https://www.BuddhistEduFoundation.com/
Po Chi Buddhist Centre
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Josephine Nolan is an editor and contributing feature writer for several online publications, including EDI Weekly and Buddha Weekly.