Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation @ University of Ottawa

Laureen Osborne will be teaching a series of 4 evening classes at the University of Ottawa Center for Continuing Education entitled “An Introduction to Buddhist Meditation”  on April 21, 28, May 5, 12, 2015 and there are still some places available. It is possible to register from the web site:

Laureen Osborne is a Buddhist teacher. She has been a practising Buddhist in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh for over ten years. She has taught a workshop on mindful eating. Her other passions include a love of dogs and vegetarianism. She has worked as an editor, writer, and seminar speaker and is the author of four books including a cookbook titled ‘Vegetarian for a Day’.


Meditation Course @ U. Ottawa Nov. 25 – Dec. 16, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 9.07.59 AMI will be teaching a series of 4 evening classes at the University of Ottawa Center for Continuing Education entitled “Buddhist Meditation and the Gentle Art of Letting Go”  on November 25, December 2, 9, 16, 2014 and there are still some places available.  It is possible to register from the web site:

Weekend Retreat, 10-12 May 2013, Arnprior Ontario

Monastics from Blue Cliff Monastery are on tour in Canada in the month of May 2013. They will be leading a weekend retreat at the Galilee Center in Arnprior Ontario, May 10-12, offering guidance in the practices of sitting meditation, total relaxation, touching the earth, and the practices of deep listening and loving speech.

We welcome beginners as well as experienced meditators. There is no separate programming for youth, however, we will accept individuals 12 to 17 years of age if accompanied by an adult.

Cost: $254 (early bird registration before April 2) or $279 (after April 2)

For more information please download the Information Sheet. To register, download the Registration Form.

Why Meditate?

The meditation (introductory and intermediate) classes that I teach for the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Ottawa are wonderful! For one thing, the students ask such great questions.  One question I had from an experienced student last term was: “why practice awareness of the present moment?”.

I can’t remember the answer I gave when the question was asked but the question is still with me.  One answer that comes to mind is “what else is there to attend to?”

In “Now is the Knowing” Ajahn Sumedho writes

Yesterday is a memory
Tomorrow is the unknown
Now is the knowing

Of course we can know our memories too.  And memories of the past have an impact on our conciousness in the present.  So being aware of the here and now doesn’t mean ignoring the past. Nor does the unknown of tomorrow mean that what goes on in the present isn’t thinking or planning – this is a legitimate function of the mind, perhaps even a characteristically human feature – that we can and do anticipate the future an act accordingly in the present.

Yet all of this (remembering, planning, thinking) takes place now – side by side with breathing, feeling hungry, worrying, tasting…. all these things that are happening in the present.

So what there is to attend to – life – is happening now. It’s actually not possible to attend to the past or the future.  There is nothing else to attend to.

So perhaps the question is: “why pay attention at all?” Why not just watch spend all your time distracting and watching good movies on Netflix?

An experiential answer was once given to me by a teacher to whom I asked that very question.  Her answer was to get me to close my eyes and breathe, whereupon she whacked me on the head with a slipper. It hurt just enough to give me the answer: if you don’t pay attention the result can be painful!

The other answer – the transcendant one – is that awareness is the refuge, the path to a happiness that does not depend on conditions.

Ottawa Week-End Retreat w/ Greg Scharf, June 15-17, 2012

Join the OBS for a special weekend retreat

being taught by Greg Scharf

June 15 (Friday evening) to June 17, 2012 (Sunday afternoon)

Where: Maison Bruyere, 57 Rue du Couvent, Gatineau (Aylmer) Quebec

Cost: $227.00 OBS members*

Cost: $257.00 non-OBS members*

Greg Scharf has practiced with both Asian and Western teachers in the Theravada tradition since 1992, including training as a monk in Burma at Panditarama and Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centers. His teaching emphasizes the natural unfolding of love and wisdom through the cultivation of mindful awareness. Greg has been teaching residential retreats in the USA and abroad since 2007, including being a member of the teaching team for the annual Autumn 3-month retreat at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts for the past 3 years. Co-teachers for this retreat include Joseph Goldstein and Carol Wilson, among others. Greg has also taught at the IMS Forest Refuge, for one month periods, annually, since 2009, and has been a member of the teaching team, along with Michele McDonald and Rebecca Bradshaw, for an annual 16 day Metta/Vipassana retreat at IMS each Spring over the past 4 years.

Insight, or Vipassana meditation is the simple direct practice of moment-to-moment observation of the mind/body process with relaxed, open and careful awareness. By learning to observe our experience from a place of spacious stillness and balance, we begin to access a natural clarity of mind and openness of heart. As our practice unfolds, we respond to the inevitable joys and sorrows of life with increasing sensitivity, stability and love. Loving kindness or Metta meditation develops the heart’s capacity for patience, acceptance, and forgiveness as we connect with and care for ourselves and others.

This retreat will emphasize how the unfolding of wisdom through present moment awareness opens the heart to the beautiful qualities of love and compassion. The format will include guidance in both Insight and Loving-kindness meditation and is suitable for both beginning and experienced students.

Information about the registration and where to send it and your payment can be found in the registration form. To download the registration form, click here.

If you have questions about the registration process, please contact Evelyn Tan at

Registration is open starting April 22th

*All fees include applicable taxes. Please note that all fees only go to cover the cost of running the retreat. Donations are not included in the fees.

Accommodations at Maison Bruyere will be shared with other retreatants of the same sex.

Part of the practice at the retreat is to not eat past the mid-day meal. Tea and hot chocolate will be available in the early evening.

Mindful Eating Workshop – Sept. 7th 2011

One in four Canadians is currently overweight. We are facing an obesity epidemic.

One of the primary causes of overeating has been identified as ‘mindless’ eating. Overeating is a cause of great suffering in our society.

Do you know someone who is suffering because of excess weight? Do you know someone who would like to end the cycle of endless dieting?

Chan Huy and Laureen Osborne (from the Mindful Coaching Clinic) are offering a community outreach workshop to the general public at the University of Ottawa on September 7th at 7PM to offer an opportunity for participants to learn mindful practices which can be incorporated into daily life.

Please see the poster for details.