Had a great chat with a Buddhist monk last week. On an impulse, I visited Ottawa’s Hilda Jayalan temple on Heron Road, not far from my Alta Vista neighbourhood. The building is modest, just a brick bungalow. But last week it was festooned with colourful striped flags and white lights, and was buzzing with people.
I went in, just as the funeral was getting started. Oops. They made me sit at the front — two hours cross-legged on a thin cushion on the floor. I realized about half-way through just how far from enlightenment I am, all unstretched and achy. I need to do more sun salutations or at least lay off coffee.
After the service (which alternated between sermons in Sri Lankan and repetitive chanting) a thin monk in saffron robes gestured me forward. “You must watch your breath, feel it in your nose, and let go. Just let go, Mr. Stuart.”
The experience has inspired me to expand my horizons. After a quick search, I think my next trip should be to Bhutan. But I’m not holding my breath.