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Emmanuel Announces Collaboration with Buddhist Association of Canada

Feb. 26, 2024

A new continuing education program called Compassionate Canopy: Practical Buddhist Studies in Canada will be the first of its kind at Emmanuel College. (Photos by Minh Truong)

By Joe Howell

Victoria University welcomed The Venerable Dayi Shi and other representatives from the Buddhist Association of Canada for a special Lunar New Year lunch at Emmanuel College on February 14! The Buddhist Association of Canada provided traditional vegetarian meals to mark the announcement of a $50,000 gift endowing the creation of The Venerable Dayi Shi Scholarship, which will be awarded annually to two Emmanuel College students pursuing studies with a Buddhist focus. 
 
The Venerable Shi, who has studied in both Eastern and Western environments in his 41 years as an ordained Buddhist monk, said he understands the challenges students face when seeking knowledge. “Over the past year, we have had the privilege of engaging with Emmanuel College on many occasions, witnessing how both faculty and students embrace the theory and practice of Buddhist teachings for the betterment of our communities,” The Venerable Shi told the gathering. 

During the lunch, Emmanuel and the Buddhist College of Canada, affiliated with the Buddhist Association of Canada, also announced the launch of a jointly offered non-degree continuing education program called Compassionate Canopy: Practical Buddhist Studies in Canada. This unique program, which kicks off in Fall 2024 with classes held at the new Wutai Shan Buddhist Garden in Bethany, Ontario, will not only cover the foundational principles of Buddhism but also delve into its practical applications in contemporary life. 
 
Courses such as “Buddhism and Psychotherapy” and “Buddhist Approach to Death and Dying in Canada” are tailored to address the complexities of modern living and dying from a Buddhist perspective. “Buddhist Mindfulness and Secular Mindfulness” explores the intersection between traditional practices and their modern adaptations, while courses like “Buddhist Ritual Music” and “Chinese Buddhist Liturgy” will offer immersive experiences that go beyond theoretical knowledge. 
 
“It is the first continuing education program of its kind in Emmanuel College history,” said Principal HyeRan Kim-Cragg. “Thank you for joining us to mark this historic moment and great partnership. Together, we will grow in wisdom and help reduce suffering in the world.” 

“Emmanuel College stands as a testament to the transformative power of theological education,” said Ken Chan, bursar and chief administrative officer of Victoria University. From its beginnings as a Christian institution, continued Mr. Chan, Emmanuel has “transcended religious boundaries to create an inclusive space where different faiths coexist and thrive together. As we gather here, we recognize the importance of embracing diversity and fostering interfaith dialogue in our increasingly interconnected world. Through this program, we not only celebrate the richness of Buddhist teachings, but also reaffirm our collective dedication to cultivating a culture of respect, tolerance and compassion.” 

Following the lunch, attendees moved to the Emmanuel Chapel for a special multifaith service honouring both the Lunar New Year and Ash Wednesday. The speakers included Dr. Henry Shiu, the Shi Wu De Assistant Professor in Chinese Buddhist Studies at Emmanuel, who introduced the Year of the Dragon with a reading from the I-Ching. The Rev. Dr. Wenh-In Ng, one of the first ordained women of Chinese descent in the United Church of Canada, also provided a poem presentation on “Chinese Festivals and the Christian Year.” 


Interested in learning more about Buddhist education and other programs at Emmanuel College? Please write admissions counsellor Andrew Aitchison at emmanuel.admissions@utoronto.ca for more information.

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