Budhist nun Tinh Quang to give teachings in Kenora

The Enterprise, August 27, 2011

Kenora, Canada -- Sister Tinh Quang has been following Zen Buddhism principles nearly her entire life.

"I had just learned how to read and I came across a book with the words "Zen Buddhism" on the cover," said the Canadian Zen Buddhist nun.

"I asked my mom what that meant and the best answer she could give me was that 'they don't think like we do.' And I thought at that moment, but we can't choose what we think, so where do our thoughts come from?"

That question stuck with Quang and at 20 years of age led her to pursue Buddhism in the Vietnamese tradition in Toronto before entering university as a philosophy major.

"I studied philosophy for so long and philosophy can keep you in your head, either debating and discussing and in the end do we really know the answer," said Quang, who was ordained in Vietnam 10 years ago and returns regularly to do humanitarian work. "Zen is about experiences, we don't get caught up in gathering information or someone else's information or perception into our heads."

Quang is in Kenora this week for the Summer Reflections Zen Retreat and Workshops. She'll be passing along her spiritual wisdom and teachings of Zen, which de-emphasize theoretical knowledge in favour of direct self-realization through practises like meditation.

Wednesday and Thursday evenings Quang will be offering workshops on meditation and acceptance and from Friday to Sunday she'll be guiding a Zen retreat focused on forgiveness at Gunn Lake Lodge in Minaki.

"It's really about letting go," she explained. "One of the basic teachings is not to be attached or have aversions. Often when we're having difficulty in our lives it's because we're not letting something go and we're attached to an idea or belief that we are holding on to."

All programs are run on the Buddhist principles of generosity or Dana, meaning that it is customary to make a donation to a monk or nun for their time, however, there is no wish to deprive anyone of the opportunity to attend a workshop because of financial inability.

For more information on the workshops being held at Bethesda Lutheran Church call 466-7915 and for more information on the retreat call 543-2087.