August Weekthun in Toronto

Article by Phyllis Cohen.

August 20 marked a first for the Shambhala Meditation Centre of Toronto. It was the first time the centre had ever hosted an urban weekthun.

The concept of a meditation retreat in the city seems almost like an oxymoron. How can it be a “retreat” when you leave the quiet, orderly, and soothing environment of a shrine room (and meditation centre) each evening to return to the loud, ragtag, and caustic environment of the city streets, public transit, and sometimes even family homes?

Yet that segue felt “spot” on—as if it went to the very heart of the Shambhala path that encourages us, perhaps even challenges us (oh so softly), to take what we learn out into the world, work with chaos, and transform society.

Led adeptly by Donald Eckler with his gentleness, wisdom, and humour, and seamlessly coordinated by our Director, Margaret May, who also contributed to the discussions and teachings, the week flew by.

It was an auspicious beginning for, what I hope, will be more urban weekthuns offered by SMCT.