June 27th 2018 was Canadian Multiculturalism Day - some of us celebrated by visiting different places of workshop along Richmond No. 5 Road which has the nickname of "Highway to Heaven" because of all the different places of worship along that road.
(1) Thrangu Monastery
We visited Thrangu Monastery, Canada’s very first traditional Tibetan Buddhist monastery. During this pre-arranged visit, Lama Tenzin Yonten took us into the brightly decorated prayer hall where we sat and observed the Green Tara Practice - a prayer session believed to be extremely beneficial in helping people to overcome difficulties and obstacles in lives. The chanting accompanied by the occasional drumming was a very special auditory experience. Thereafter, Lama Tenzin answered many of the newcomers' eager questions such as - "How does one become a Lama?" and "Do you wear your uniform (robe) all the time?" The answer to the latter question of the wonderfully humorous monk was,"Most of the time. But not when we go skiing in winter. It'll be hard to ski in these robes, you know?"
(2) India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas
We made our way to the India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas, where we were so privileged to be welcomed by Mr. Balwant Sanghera, a highly respected educator, community activist and bridge builder between various communities and groups. Mr. Sanghera gave us an illuminating talk on the significance of Sikhism, emphasizing on being a good person - helping others, being generous. We also learned about the 5 Ks and practised pronouncing the name of the religious scripture of Sikhism - Guru Granth Sahib. To wrap up our visit, Mr. Sanghera invited us to the langar (community kitchen) where all of us enjoyed a very delicious vegetarian meal, and the chickpea dish was my personal favourite!
We all agreed this field trip has been a truly eye-opening, mind-opening and heart-opening experience. And it would be so wonderful if only we had time to visit all the different places of worship along the entire stretch of Highway to Heaven!