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I heard: « If you’re too busy to meditate for 10 minutes, then meditate for 20. »
Going to a Buddhist monastery by motorcycle is the kind of compromise my boyfriend and I do. He drove the motorcycle while I sat behind him, fearing to die every 10 minutes. I cannot say I fully appreciate being a passenger on a motorcycle. However, it provides me a rare moment of peace. My mind juggles from fear to appreciation of the wind on my skin and there’s no room for anything else.
This morning, I needed peace and he needed to ride a motorcycle, so we headed up to Tam Bao Son, a Buddhist Monastery located in Harrington, Quebec, not too far from Montreal.
Upon our arrival, we could smell the delicious food from the parking lot.
Two old ladies stood up behind their pots, dressed in loose brown clothing and speaking Vietnamese. « Tell me when it’s enough », one said while filling my plate. « No waste food. If want more, come back. » At the monastery, if you arrive between noon and 3pm, you are welcomed with a warm vegan meal. There’s no cost, only voluntary donations. If you prefer, you can bring your own lunch, but no animal products or alcoholic beverages are allowed on site.
If you wish to join a guided tour, there are four per day. We decided to walk alone and explore this culture we didn’t know anything about.
At the entrance of the Temple, were were kindly asked to remove our shoes. Walking bare foot on soft red carpet, surrounded by statues of Buddha, I felt at peace. I am not Buddhist, but the lady in the Temple told me that everyone has a Buddha inside them, no matter their religion.
The monk told me there are more than 1000 statues of Buddha inside the Temple, each one representing a donator who contributed to building the temple by giving money or labor. Together, these men and women built the Temple in less than four months.
Tam Bao Son means « large pine forest » which is a well-suited name. You can walk and meditate for hours on the 337-hectares domain, wandering from statue to statue.
Elderly people took their time while kids ran around laughing. People were praying, kneeled in front of certain statues, with a smile on their face. I talked with a woman and she told me joy is sacred too, I answered with a smile.
In this pine forest, I made the promise to be good and do good.
We climbed back on the motorcycle and left, leaving behind a small cloud of dust.
Tam Bao Son : 690 Chemin de la Rouge, Harrington, Quebec, J8G 2S7
I invite you to check their website for opening hours.
To discover other culture in and around Montreal, you might like: Russian Address to Discover in Montreal.