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The Theravada tradition, which is reckoned the surviving school dating from the time of the historical Buddha, has only recently established roots in Canada. There are seven ethnic Theravada temples in the Vancouver area, but the Theravada Buddhist Community of Vancouver is the only Western group committed solely to Theravada Buddhism. Our spiritual advisor is Venerable Ajahn Sona, abbot of the (Sitavana) Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery near Kamloops. Venerable Sona is a Canadian, born and raised in the Vancouver area, who has over 25 years seniority as a monk. Teachings are given by Brian Ruhe and guest teachers.

Director:

Brian Ruhe

Brian Anthony Ruhe, author of Freeing the Buddha & A Short Walk on an Ancient Path, has an insight into Buddhism and meditation that can only be had by someone who practiced and studied seriously in a Tibetan Buddhist Centre, was a monk in Thailand, and was employed full time as the public relations official for the largest Chinese Pure Land Buddhist temple in Canada. Brian has seen the best and the worst of a variety of traditions from the inside looking out and he can be more honest than the lineage holders of many Buddhist traditions. He has lectured at UBC and he taught for three years at Douglas College. On CBC national radio he explained the new innovation of teaching meditation by teleconference to stressed out dot.com executives. Brian also currently teaches Buddhism and Meditation in Adult Ed. at the University-College of the Fraser Valley, and four School Boards.

Raised within a Unitarian background, Brian was exposed early to the spiritual dimension of life. Originally from Ontario, he studied business and philosophy at Brock University, and moved to Vancouver in 1980, continuing his studies at BCIT. After working in the financial planning industry selling mutual funds for eight years, he felt that although he was a reasonably happy individual, something was “missing”from his life. Like many of us, he was haunted by the need for meaning and purpose in life.

Brian considered a number of different spiritual paths. He was drawn to Buddhism because of its penetrating insights into the nature of the mind. After immersing himself in Buddhist teachings he quit the financial planning business, and became a true seeker. The first stage of his journey was a six-month stay at a Tibetan Buddhist centre in Vermont, founded by Chagyam Trungpa, after which he moved for four years to Thailand, a Theravadin Buddhist country. In Thailand he studied and practised at various temples and meditation centres, gathering teachings and deepening his meditation skills.

Spiritual Advisor:

Venerable Ajahn Sona, Abbot, (Sitavana) Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery

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