Thrangu Monastery in Richmond, British Columbia, hailed as the first traditional Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Canada, officially opened on Sunday, July 25. The centerpiece of the new shrine room is a 12-foot gold leafed Buddha rupa, flanked by 34 smaller buddhas, and surrounded by 1,000 Medicine Buddhas. This magnificent space is the Canadian seat of the Very Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Presiding over the opening ceremonies, Rinpoche said that Richmond is a good home for the monastery: “Everyone is very loving and kind to each other.”
The opening was attended by hundreds of people, including Senator Yonah Kim Martin, MLAs John Yap and Linda Reid, and Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. Martin addressed the gathering, saying that the monastery was “a place of calm and stillness in the hustle and bustle” of the city. Lyle Weinstein, English language spokesman for the monastery, said: “This is now a public place … it’s a wonderful place whether you are part of the monastery community or not, whether you’re a Buddhist or not.”
Thanking the assembled guests, Thrangu Rinpoche said that as a simple monk, “I don’t have the ability to build a temple on my own,” and thanked community members for their generosity. “This is a good way to serve all the dharma practitioners of the world,” he said. When Thrangu Rinpoche finished speaking, the curtain behind him was lowered to reveal the 12-foot golden Buddha.
Thrangu Monastery joins the 20 temples, mosques and churches that line No. 5 Road in Richmond, BC, which is often called the Highway to Heaven.