Definition of zen –
Welcome to ZenSeekers.
Our objective is to bring our readers and followers stories about people and places that will enlighten and inspire.
Our stories will tell you about a peaceful hike in an ancient rainforest or about climbing a mountain peak for the first time, perhaps motivating you to do the same or something very much like it.
Or, we might share with you a really cool event such as the Tibetan Happiness Festival which might just give you pause and think about life in a whole new light.
“As humans we all have a choice; we can choose to be happy or unhappy. Most humans have the mental capacity to train ourselves to be happy, says Penny McGuire, our Buddhist monastery happiness guide.
What is the pursuit of happiness and why are so many people chasing it? In the busyness of today’s world, when you ask someone how they’re doing, you’ll likely hear, ‘I am so busy, not very often do you hear the answer, ‘I am so happy,’
Set within the countryside of Vancouver Island, near Coombs, B.C., is the Kathok Centre, a Buddhist Monastery where McGuire helps visitors to learn more about living happily.
McGuire has dedicated the past 10 years of her life to working at the centre, sharing her teachings on how to attain happiness. Her tips and tricks are for anyone who may want to learn how to have a more positive outlook on life.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not promoting a religion, but rather a new way of looking at life, inspired by teachings, which embrace a deep appreciation of nature.
McGuire invited me to attend the debut of the Happiness Festival. What, you might ask was that like?
“The purpose of our first ever Happiness Festival is to reach out to the community,” says McGuire. There’s no intention of converting people to Buddhism, she says.
Photos by Doc Pow
Rather, “We created this day for people to enjoy this sacred space and introduce more options to discover happiness.”
The festival even has adopted it own theme song. No surprise that it’s ‘Don’t Worry, be Happy.
Vancouver Island is home to an abundance of joyful experiences and the point of this festival was to remind people that it’s OK to find pleasure in the everyday.
I picked up a few tips from McGuire that day, but also got to enjoy a guided mediation, live music, archery (popular at Tibetan festivals), a variety of Zen-related vendors. One of the most special part of the day was getting to experience the temple and its calming setting, also home to one of the world’s 25 golden Buddha’s.
Be your true self
This huge Buddha statue was placed here, just as the others around the world, strategically in the belief it will help bring more positivity to the planet and wishes of happiness.
The Kathok Centre opened in 1993 and offers regular meditation and Buddhist teachings.
McGuire explains that the centre’s rinpoche – a person who is revered teacher -travels the world delivering messages of peace and happiness with his teachings, but is based at the centre in Coombs.
Coombs is also well known for their market, which features goats on the roof!
“The basis of Buddhist teachings is that you are in control of your emotions, and so you can make the decision to be happy or not,” says McQuire. If you choose that path, she says, there are some options to help you become happy.
While heading to the Hapiness Festival on a BC ferry, I experienced a Zen moment I spied a pod of humpback whales during the hour and a half crossing out of West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay. I remembered than that I had started writing more than 15 years ago after being inspired by a pod of whales.
Bliss on the ferry
From that experience I later came to start Seekers Media, dedicated to bringing stories to people about experiences they might know about or would love to try for themselves.
Interested in learning more about the Kathok Centre? Like them Facebook to stay in the know on all things Zen, or become a member so you can get alerts about next Happy Festival or any of their many workshops that pass on positive teachings year- round. www.PeaceisWithin.ca
For more information on BC Ferries getaways to find out more about activities like surfing or storm watching and everything in between, check out www.BCFerries.com/vacations
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