Derek's Dharma Blog

A blog about meditation, Dharma and activism

Amitabha, Community and Ecology: A Retreat with Tarchin Hearn in Morin Heights, Quebec (June 21-26, 2014)


Tarchin Hearn, a great Buddhist writer and teacher from New Zealand will be teaching across Canada this summer, and he is kicking off his tour with a one-week retreat in Morin Heights.  Tarchin’s approach to dharma is non-sectarian and universal in nature, linking personal healing with a deep ecological perspective in ways that have inspired a wide range of people from a variety of diverse backgrounds and traditions. He has taught in many countries and has helped establish a number of centres for retreat and healing since 1997. For more than 40 years he has studied and practiced in both Theravadin and Mahayana schools of Buddhism with 12 of those years as an ordained monk (he was originally ordained by the Ven. Kalu Rinpoché, and received the full Gelong/Bhikkhu ordination from H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, and trained extensively with the Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche and the Ven. Sayadaw U Thila Wanta of Burma). Tarchin is a wonderful and compassionate teacher who rarely teaches in Canada so this is a great opportunity.  There is more about Tarchin here

All are welcome to attend this retreat; there are BnB’s and camping possibilities in Morin Heights. The teaching is always offered for free; there will be a dana bowl for the teacher.  Please contact Jane Marenghi for details at

More detailed info from Tarchin’s website Green Dharma Treasury, is posted below. Sarva Mangalam.

June 21 – 26, 2014, Morin Heights, Quebec
The Meditation of Amitabha:
A Practice of Deep Ecology, Community, Boundless Wonderment and Love
– heart teachings of a modern buddhadharma –

Tarchin writes: “We are living in a time of great fragmentation where the seamless mystery of life has largely slipped from public view, replaced by a chaos of separated parts that often appear in conflict or competition with each other. Yet, from a biological perspective, and from a Buddhist perspective, every multi-celled creature is a symbiosis of myriad living beings. Inwardly, my body is composed, not only of human cells, but collaborating communities of micro beings that live in my gut, in my tissues and on my skin. Even a single cell is collaboration of myriad molecular communities! I am a ‘we’ and we together, make an ‘I’. Outwardly, I mesh, breath by breath, with the photosynthesizing world, breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide. Uncountable societies, realms of responsive knowing – chemical, physical, emotional, conceptual and perceptual – are continuously dancing me into being and this is so for everyone. We live in and through each other with no absolute beginning or end.

Buddha Amitabha represents the wisdom of of simultaneously understanding the infinite diversity and profound unity of all that is. During this week we will use the Meditation of Amitabha to explore in a contemplative way, a path of deep ecology, community, boundless wonderment and love. This is a way of living that is totally inclusive yet radically ordinary; embracing birth and death, self and other, inner and outer, mundane and spiritual. These are heart teachings of a modern buddhadharma.”
For more information contact Jane at


June 29 – July 6, 2014, Teaching in Ottawa, Ontario
Living Dharma, Reverence for Life
The Path of Natural Awakening
a week of contemplative exploration

In Buddhism, wisdom is not a knowledge of ultimate facts or truth but an ever deepening process of understanding, life enhancing connectivity, and communion.

We radically intermingle; cells and organs, minds and bodies, creatures and communities, beings and environments, the so called animate and the so called inanimate. This is a broad and all-encompassing view.

Learning the art of compassionately embracing this multi-leveled dynamic of interpenetrating realms and times, is to master the craft of meditation.

Maturing this craft, until the hint of wholeness permeates all our actions, and we discover a sense of utter at-homeness in the mist of everything we do, is the fruition of this work.

In the temple of this living world, we are deeply intermeshed with the lives of our families, friends, neighbours, strangers and adversaries, and the myriad other species and beings that we travel with from birth to death. Our bodies and minds are rivers of evolving life – landscapes of unfolding communities. What could it mean to be fully human?

During this week, Tarchin will outline a flow of caring enquiry that opens our bodies and minds into a place of understanding and experience that is immensely inclusive and rich with reverence and awe for this world in all its abundance.
for further information contact Samaya: bgordon [at] magma [dot] ca

July 11 – 27, 2014, Dharma Centre of Canada, Kinmount Ontario
Mahamudra, Deep Ecology and Natural Awakening
a residential retreat

Mahamudra is a name given to the Buddhist path of natural awakening. Although commonly associated with Tibetan teachings, its ancestry goes back to traditions of contemplative science and yoga found in ancient India, which themselves drew inspiration from a diversity of religious sources. Spacious and open, profoundly inclusive, and luminous with the recognition of the interdependence of all manifestation, mahamudra path and practice integrates myriad aspects of dharma exploration including investigations into mind, consciousness and perception while at the same time developing skilful and compassionate ways, of participating in the unfolding community of all life. This is deep ecology, in action. It is what I am. It is what you are. It is a path and practice of natural awakening in action.

During this mostly silent meditation retreat we will cultivate the ancient arts of loving-kindness and clear-seeing presence and enquiry. We will explore how bodies and minds of myriad species weave together a mystery suffused with nowful intelligence. We will draw on the mindfulness teachings of Buddhism and the wisdom teachings of radical wholeness found in the Avatamsaka Sutra, and mesh them with science, personal healing and social responsibility to find a way of living, that in this age of economic/ecological anxiety and uncertainty, is wondrously inclusive, joyously life affirming and profoundly freeing.

The retreat will involve much sitting and walking practice, group exploration, and body awareness work, punctuated with experimental exercises to cultivate inner and outer clarity, presence and compassion in action.

Tarchin has asked that participants come prepared to practice outdoors. It would be good to bring a magnifying glass and a notebook for jotting down observations.

for more information contact
or e-mail

Tarchin will also be teaching in Edmonton and Winnipeg this summer, check Green Dharma Treasury for details.

June 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Appreciating the myriad non-human communications necessary for a healthy living world

Well, this was too good; I had to cross-post it here. It’s from New Zealand meditation teacher Tarchin’s blog. He says: “Will there be silence? I sincerely hope not,”–that made me smile.
Happy Chinese New Year!

Silence and Retreat
by Tarchin Hearn on September 20, 2011

These words have arisen in response to the many enquiries over the years as to whether or not an upcoming retreat would be held in silence.

Will the retreat be in silence? Actually, if there is silence, the whole universe would have disappeared! If the retreat is in silence, we will all be in deep trouble. I expect the birds will continue to sing. The leaves will rustle in the breeze. Crickets and frogs will chorus with cicadas and the growing grasses and wild flowers. The cells of our bodies will continue to converse with each other. Organs will speak to organs. Intestinal fungi, flora and fauna will gossip and exchange news. Will there be silence? I sincerely hope not. We will, however, gently and care-fully, encourage ourselves, and each other, to listen deeply to the complex symphony of our lives unfolding responsively in the great togetherness of this living world.

Retreat is a time for so much more than just refraining from talking while engaging in disciplined effort. Retreat is precious opportunity to cultivate a continuity of patient thorough listening and deep empathic experiencing. Setting aside our habitual use of verbal communication will support an ambiance in which we can become more sensitive to the wisdom and stories and singings of our bodies and minds, as they commune with the embodied minds of all the other beings that together compose this extraordinary mystery of life.

Many people today float through life in an almost non-stop cacophony of radio, TV, internet, i-pods, cell phones, piped music and person to person talking. From waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night we are immersed in verbalizing and if none is available, we invent some; filling the gap with internal dialogues, critiques and imagined entertainments. We don’t quite know what to do when all this chatter stops. Addictively tuned to the wave length of human language, we risk losing the ancient and life affirming art of appreciating the myriad other non-human communications that are necessary for a healthy living world. This loss is fast becoming a tsunami of disaster for all of us.

It is understandable that people might feel a bit anxious at the thought of not speaking for a day or so, not to mention a week or a month but you might be surprised –– you may find you enjoy it. In retreat, even one that honours silence, we inevitably have moments of speaking to our fellow retreaters; sharing in a class, asking for something in the kitchen or garden, but these moments will be simple and straight forward, and a lot less than what we are used to in our normal daily living.

Silence doesn’t have to be anxiety producing. Rather than signifying a loss of something, an isolation or a cutting off, it could be experienced as a blessing, an invitation to responsive presence.

Like a deep clear pool;
and sometimes even seductive,
silence draws us in,
strips us,
revealing jewels of experience that before were hidden in the noise.

Perhaps what we mean by silence is really an experience of harmonious settling; a natural at-oneness; a blending of inner and outer, without conflict or expectation; a manifesting of deep physical and mental acceptance of being at home in the fullness of whatever is occurring –– with presence, dignity and natural grace. This is the silence of contemplation. This is the stillness of healing presence. Traditionally it has been referred to as the ‘noble silence’. Will it take place in your retreat? In truth, it’s up to you.

© Tarchin Hearn, Sept. 2011

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment