and Jean Low arrived in Montreal in 1979. From that moment
on the Center underwent great changes from the original group
that was situated in NDG, affiliated to the Rochester Zen Center.
These changes began with finding a more suitable location and
moving there in October of that same year. We should remember
that underlying what is now a dynamic and viable Center lies
an enormous amount of work, dedication, courage, often boldness,
and sometimes sheer faith.
The Rochester Zen Center was directed by Roshi Philip
Kapleau, author of the Three Pillars of Zen and other books.
The Rochester Center in turn was modeled on Hoshinji Zen
Monastery of Japan, which in its heyday was under the direction
of Harada Roshi, and was considered to be one of the most
dynamic monasteries in Japan. Harada Roshi and one of his
chief disciples, Yasutani Roshi, were two of the teachers
Kapleau worked with during his thirteen years in Japan. Harada
Roshi was originally a Soto Zen Buddhist, but later worked
with a Rinzai master and came to awakening under his direction.
Yasutani also, before working with Harada Roshi, was a Soto
teacher. They are both remarkable in that they started as
Soto priests and came to awakening under Rinzai masters.
This is said to be remarkable because Zen practice in Japan
has polarized into two distinct groups or sects: Rinzai and
Soto. For someone to span both sects and to see that each
has its advantages and disadvantages requires considerable
courage and openness of mind. This heritage has been passed
down to the Montreal Zen Center where some aspects of both
sects can be found.
"There is that sphere wherein is neither earth nor water,
fire nor air: it is not the infinity of space, nor the infinity
of perception; it is not nothingness, nor is it neither idea
nor non-idea; it is neither this world nor the next, nor is it
both; it is neither the sun nor the moon. It neither comes nor
goes, it neither abides nor passes away; it is not caused, established,
begun, supported; it is the end of suffering. " Buddha
For thirty years or more the Montreal Zen Center has
provided an oasis of peace and quiet for the people of Montreal,
Quebec, and the rest of Canada; indeed for people from all
over the world. We have members from all walks of life: professors,
lawyers, psychiatrists, psychologists, businessmen, journalists,
computer experts, nurses, students and many other occupations.
People come here from France, Spain, Israel, South America
and there are many members who live in the United States. We
are open to all religions and it is not necessary to abandon
your own religion to practice Zen Buddhism. Indeed, until he
died recently, a Monsignor of the Church was a member for more
than 17 years.
We are recognized as a non-profit organization and
do our best to keep the membership costs to a minimum. We are
in any case always ready to accommodate people who have financial
difficulties. Our object is not to make money but to give people
the opportunity to find themselves.
The peace of the Center and the magnificence of its
garden has been the subject of innumerable comments made by
the hundreds of people who over the years have come either
for a short period or, as is the case with many, for the thirty years or more
that we have been here.
The Center is situated in a peaceful part of the city
at the end of St. Hubert across the street from the river,
yet readily accessible by Metro and bus.
For directions to the Center please click on the star.