Buddhist centre opens in Metro Moncton

Times Transcript, August 15, 2009

Facility another step in city becoming more cosmopolitan: MP

New Brunswick, Canada -- New Brunswick's first Buddhist centre will open in Metro Moncton today.

Metro MP Brian Murphy, Deputy Mayor Merrill Henderson, Buddhist masters and monks from across North America and Europe will gather to inaugurate the Moncton Buddhist Centre at 10:15 a.m. at the Moncton Lions Club.

The centre is located at 881A Main St. and is a modest converted office space.

Murphy says he thinks the inauguration of the centre is a great thing and another step in making Moncton a cosmopolitan city.

"I was asked to attend the inauguration and I'm very happy to do so," he says. "I think it's great. I think it's a sign of the times and of Moncton becoming even more multi-cultural and multi-faith."

Buddhism currently has about 365 million followers and is the world's fourth largest religion after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. It was founded in northern India by Siddhartha Gautama (563 to 460 BC). According to a 2001 census, New Brunswick has 545 Buddhist followers.

It is sometimes considered to have evolved from Hinduism, with which it shares beliefs in karma, dharma and reincarnation.

Karma is the sum total of an individual's actions of body, speech and mind -- good, bad and neutral -- taken in their current and previous lives.

Dharma, in Buddhism, refers to the teachings of the Buddha, the path to enlightenment and the fundamental principles that order the universe. Reincarnation is the rebirth of living beings into new bodies.

In contrast to Christianity, classical Buddhism does not involve the recognition or worship of deities. It also does not teach the existence of the human soul.

Murphy says the emergence of a Buddhist centre in Metro is not something that happened overnight. He says it's the result of people in Moncton who have been practising Buddhists for many years.

"There have been practicing Buddhists in Moncton for a long time," says Murphy. "I think it's great that they're getting their own official place."