Category Archives: Meditation

Focus Here and Now: The Key to Progress on All Paths, with Douglas Veenhof

Lama Doug headshot

Presented by Durham Dharma

Sat May 11 & Sun May 12, 2013 – 1:00-3:00pm and 4:00-6:00pm daily

At The Centering Space 59 Cambridge Ave (Broadview & Danforth)

We are extremely fortunate to have Douglas Veenhof returning to Toronto to share his insightful teachings on how to develop shamata, or single-pointed concentration. Friends in Vancouver have been raving about these classes, and now Lama Doug is bringing them here to Toronto! Come and learn how to sharpen up your focus in meditation, or any other pursuit in your life.

Whether your practice is Vipassana, Yoga, prayer, tennis, or enjoying your breakfast, your ability to concentrate your full attention on the present moment of experience is the key to attaining the results you hope for.  For 2500 years, Buddhist contemplatives have regarded single-pointed concentration to be as vital to health  as food and sleep, and generations of meditators have refined step-by-step techniques for training the mind.  In this experiential workshop you will learn proven methods drawn from three meditative traditions that can  reverse the fragmenting influence of our multi-tasking, virtual culture on your ability to stay focused on the  here and now. These skills can be used in a daily practice to explore the potential of human consciousness  as well as to relieve the stress and anxiety of everyday life.

Doug Veenhof is a former mountain guide, an award-winning journalist, and the author of White Lama,  the acclaimed biography of Yoga pioneer and Tibet explorer, Theos Bernard (Harmony Books, 2011).  He has studied and practiced Buddhism for more than twenty years and graduated with honors from  the seven-year program of advanced Buddhist studies at Diamond Mountain, the academy founded by  Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally. Known for his broad knowledge of the intersection of Buddhist, Yoga, and scientific traditions, Doug is a frequent guest of radio and television interviewers  and a popular teacher at Yoga and Dharma centers throughout North America and Europe.

• How the quality of your attention creates the world you experience
• Our default state: the uncontrollable infomercial of our ruminating mind
• Unplugging incessant memories of the past and fantasies of the future by training  attention to focus moment to moment on the physical sensations of the breath
• The first key to mindfulness: balancing relaxation and clarity.

• The second key to mindfulness: adding stability and continuity to your attention without losing relaxation and clarity.
• How to notice distractions before you are kidnapped by them and how to infuse your attention with brightness.
• How to make your attention more acute by focusing on more subtle physical sensations.

• Shifting balanced attention to the space of the mind and its contents.
• How to maintain stillness of awareness while observing the motion of the mind
• The liberating distinction of objective and subjective appearances in the mind
• How mindful attention can get you through the day with peace and grace

• The space of the mind you discover between thoughts
• What can focused attention reveal about the potential of the human mind?
• Using finely tuned attention to focus on the nature of I and the world
• The keys to establishing a successful daily meditation practice

Full weekend $75, single session $25.

Drop-ins welcome, but registration for entire weekend strongly encouraged.

Email or call 647-692-2995 to register.

Scholarships available – contact  for information.


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Shamatha Retreat with Douglas Veenhof in BC

While most of what’s on this site are Dharma, yoga and meditation events in and around the Greater Toronto Area, this is a very special event that begs to be shared.

Join Three Jewels Vancouver from March 15 to March 24 (a 4 day option of March 15-18th is also available) on a Shamatha retreat in Squamish, British Columbia led by popular teacher and author Douglas Veenhof.

For over 2,500 years, Buddhist meditators have considered developing single-pointed concentration as the prerequisite for progress on the path to liberating wisdom. Shamatha is that step-by-step progression of meditative techniques for training our unruly and drowsy minds to be perfectly attentive to the present moment of experience.

The enthusiastic response to his weekend intensive at Three Jewels Vancouver last fall inspired them to create a retreat with all the support, instruction, and inspiration needed to make a leap in the stability and clarity of your attentional skills.

Douglas Veenhof is a former mountain guide, an award-winning journalist, and the author of White Lama, the acclaimed biography of Yoga pioneer and Tibet explorer, Theos Bernard (Harmony Books, 2011). He has studied and practiced Buddhism for more than twenty years and graduated with honors from the seven-year program of advanced Buddhist studies at Diamond Mountain, the academy founded by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally. He has been interviewed on both radio and television and is currently at work on a new book examining his own spiritual experiences in light of contemporary theories of consciousness.

The retreat is intimate (maximum 25 students), and whether you are just beginning to meditate or are a long-time practitioner looking for the keys to go deeper, this is a great opportunity to learn, ask questions, and enrich your practice.

Early bird tickets are now available via Eventbrite.

And keep your eyes peeled for a visit by Lama Doug to Toronto later this spring….


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Steps of the Path Meditation

photoJoin me for a weekly hour of retreat-like serenity right here in the city, starting January 8. 

Each week will include guided meditation, a brief teaching and support to develop your personal practice, all in the magical space of The Yoga House. Suitable for absolute beginners and experienced practitioners alike.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be bringing meditation to The Yoga House, a hidden gem right here in my very own Danforth East neighborhood. Just 12 minutes from the Coxwell subway, it is a “nature sanctuary in the city”, lovingly created by Celeste Shirley. A beautiful studio space opens with full French doors onto a garden with towering oak trees and the Merrill Park ravine, with a little creek nearby too. (The photo above is from the lovely back patio.) Come take a tour – I promise you will be totally enchanted… 7 Copeland Ave., near Coxwell & Danforth. The Yoga House provides a wide selection of cushions, mats, backjacks and chairs to help you find a comfortable meditation seat.

Every Tuesday from 6:30-7:30pm (starting Jan 8/13). 

Offered by donation – what you can happily give.

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Lama Shadi Mogadime returns with The Great Ideas of Buddhism Part II – ACI Course 17

Shadi Mogadime headshot

I’m very excited to announce that Lama Shadi Mogadime of 3 Jewels Vancouver will be returning to Toronto to teach ACI Course 17: The Great Ideas of Buddhism, Part II, over two weekends in January. This is a rare opportunity for in-depth study of Buddhism with a remarkable teacher and experienced practitioner.

This course is an overview of ACI Courses 6-10, serving as either an introduction for those new to Buddhism, or as a review for those who have previously taken these courses.  Topics covered include: The Diamond Cutter Sutra, Bodhisattva Vows, Death and the Realms of Existence, The Ethical Life (Vinaya) and The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.

The Asian Classics Institutee is dedicated to the study and personal practice of the original teachings of the Buddha. The Institute was established by Geshe Michael Roach under the spiritual direction of Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin, a distinguished scholar and master of Buddhism from Tibet.

Shadi Mogadime is a certified Yoga Instructor, Master Coach, Buddhist Philosophy Teacher, and Mentor.  She has studied many spiritual traditions and modern modalities to the level of mastery including Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Reiki, and Shamanism.  She has over 15 years of Buddhist studies including the completion of all 18 Asian Classic Institutes courses along with a rigorous 7-year program in advance studies at Diamond Mountain University and with her heart teacher Lama Sumati Marut.  Shadi served for over three years as Lama Marut’s Assistant, Tour & Business Manager.  She is the publisher of (the ezine about retreat) and works in the community as a fundraising consultant to non-profit organizations of all types.

At Bikram Yoga Toronto East – 111 Island Road, Toronto ON

Offered by donation – what you can give happily. Course materials available for free download at Please contact me at 416-523-9542 or to pre-register or if you have questions about the course.

Class 1 – Fri Jan 18 from 7-9pm

Class 2, 3 & 4 – Sat Jan 19 from noon-9pm

Class 5 – Fri Jan 25 from 7-9pm

Class 6, 7 & 8 – Sat Jan 26 from noon-9pm

Class 9 & 10 – Sun Jan 27 from 10am-4pm

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9 Steps to Sanity: how to start & maintain a daily practice

Saturday, December 1 from noon-3pm

Are you looking to start a daily practice, but don’t know where to start? Have you tried in the past but found yourself unable to keep it going?

Join me for a fun afternoon where we will cover 9 practices to create a framework for a daily spiritual practice. Put any or all of them to use immediately for more sanity, balance and happiness. You will leave knowing how to start – and better yet – maintain a daily practice.

Includes 2 guided meditations. No experience required – bring your beginners mind!

Offered by donation – what you can give happily. Meeting in a private residence near Broadview & Danforth. Call 416-523-9542 or for directions.

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