Toronto has been recognized by the United Nations as the most diverse city in the world, with more cultures and religions represented here than anywhere else. More than half the population of the GTA was born outside of Canada. This diversity is always clearly represented on our retreats.
The Ontario Vipassana Centre north of Toronto welcomes all. Despite our diverse beginnings and our unique lives, when we come to a Vipassana course we are united by a common cause, a common purpose—to solve the mystery of human suffering.
Although this teaching comes from Gotama the Buddha, it is presented in a non-sectarian format. The Buddha was not interested in converting people. He had found the Path to the end of suffering and his only interest was to share this with others. It is the same today. The cause of suffering lies within each of us and we only need to look inside to find its solution. This works for anyone regardless of their origins or traditions. And that is what you will learn here.
When we count up the native languages of the people on our courses, the number often reaches a dozen. Our sound system can provide simultaneous listening in almost 50 languages. When you first open the course schedule page, you will be asked if you are comfortable speaking English. If not, you will be invited to take our English Skills Assessment. This test allows you to determine your English language level and lets us provide you with the materials you will need on the course.
Please take the test and enter your result in the application where we ask “Anything you wish to add to the above information?”
People of all sexual orientations and gender identities are welcome to our courses.
The campuses at all the meditation centers in this tradition are segregated into male and female sides. This extends to the residential accommodations, the walking areas, the dining rooms and the meditation hall. This structure is designed to reduce the tension that derives from the mixing of genders.
We recognize this doesn’t work for everyone and that sometimes members of the LGBTQ community may not feel comfortable on either side of the compound, or having to identify as male or female. With that in mind, please let us know about your sexual orientation or gender identity beforehand. This will allow us to arrange a space for you where you can feel safe and not distracted while you plumb the depths of your mind. You can let us know about your concerns by writing something on the application where we ask, “Anything you wish to add to the above information?” We will contact you and together we will make a plan that works for you. Your private information shall only be used for accommodation arrangement and be kept confidential.
Physical Health Needs
Some applicants may have a special requirement due to a health issue, a physical limitation, pregnancy or a dietary restriction please see our course menu. We are prepared to accept most people with special requests, but we need to know the extent of someone’s requirements before they arrive. Quite often someone may ask for back support or a chair to meditate in. We are happy to provide whatever you need to meditate comfortably. Sometimes people ask for a private space because of personal needs. We do have a limited number of private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. See our Course Accommodations page. If you feel you need privacy for any reason please tell us in the application where we ask, “Anything you wish to add to the above information?” We will contact you and work out a plan.