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Bhante Saranapala

Chaplain to the University of Toronto is a young Buddhist monk living in the monastic community of the West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, Bhante Saranapala continued his secular and monastic education in the ancient sacred City of Kandy, the seat of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, joining the Primrose Gardens Branch of the Dharmayatanaya, one the leading Colleges for the Training of Buddhist Monks in Asia where he received his Upasampada or Higher Ordination under the Most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayaka Thero, the Supreme Patriarch of the Amarapura Sector of Sri Lanka as his preceptor and the Most Venerable Ampitiye Sri Rahula Mahathero as his teacher.

 

Having enrolled for undergraduate studies at the University of Peradeniya he studied Buddhism and Oriental Languages. He obtained a summa cum laude Royal Pundit Degree in Sinhalese, Pali and Sanskrit studies from the island’s hallowed Oriental Languages Institute while studying for his B.A. in Buddhist studies. Abandoning his university studies, Bhante Saranapala moved to Canada in obedience to his religious superiors accepting an assignment as a resident monk at the fledgling West End Buddhist Monastery in Mississauga, Canada.

 

He enrolled at the University of Toronto and obtained his B.A. Honors Degree in Comparative Religions and Western Philosophy in 2000 and was appointed Chaplain to the University the same year. After obtaining a Masters Degree in Religious studies from Hamilton’s McMaster University in 2002, Bhante Saranapala returned to the University of Toronto as a Teaching Assistant, and did his doctoral studies in Religious Studies at the Centre for the Study of Religion.

A veritable dynamo of activity at his Mississauga Buddhist Monastery, he is the Principal of its Sunday Dhamma School and the Director of its Youth Forum that conducts a  Soup Kitchen Project, now in its 15th year, in collaboration with the Toronto Downtown’s Good Shepherd Centre.

Acclaimed as a Buddhist monk for the modern times by a growing band of admirers, Bhante Saranapala has earned an enviable reputation as a public speaker and a meditation teacher par excellence. Within a short period of time, his scholarly lectures expounding the Teaching of the Buddha and mindfulness and Vipassana meditation began to attract the attention of the university academic circles and the Inter-faith community of Canada. Bhante Saranapala soon became a popular guest speaker at many a prestigious parley. In 2004, he was invited to address the parliamentarians in Ottawa. In 2005 September, he was accorded the honor of officiating on behalf of all religious denominations at the induction ceremonies connected with the Order of Ontario Awards in the Ontario Legislature. Bhante Saranapala is a recipient of Spirit Award from the Government of Ontario for his humanitarian services.

 

He has conducted meditation retreats to the City Counselors in Mississauga, Brampton, Toronto, the Peel Region and the Toronto District School Board Principals. His inspiring lectures at the Peel Region’s District and Catholic Schools Boards’ Secondary Schools have won him much praise making him one of the most sought after speakers on Buddhism.

 

During his monastic training in Kandy, Sri Lanka, Bhante Saranapala had taken meditation classes and retreats under some prominent meditation masters: the most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayaka Mahathera, the most Venerable Ampitiye Sri Rahula Mahathera, the most Venerable Mahawatte Pemalankara Mahathera, Venerable Dr. Madawela Punnaji Mahathera, Venerable Brahmanagama Muditha Mahathera, Venerable Mahawatte Kamalasiri Mahathera and Mr. Godwin Samararatne.

 

For two decades, Urban Buddhist Monk, Bhante Saranapala has been teaching mindfulness and Vipassana meditation in the Greater Toronto Area and across North America. He currently conducts meditation classes on Wednesdays and Sundays and conducts mindfulness and Vipassana meditation retreats at the West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre in Mississauga, ON, Canada.

 

*(Excerpted from “Profile: A Monk in Motion” – by Aloy Perera, “Dhamma Wheel” – West End  Buddhist Centre Journal)

aka Urban Buddhist Monk, Buddhist

Warren Reynolds

Warren Reynolds is an accredited Certified International  Meditation Teacher. Appreciation for nature and spirituality  has grown over 40-years leading Warren to his vocation as owner and practitioner of WEM Meditation. While previously in the hospitality, Canadian Forces, security and financial fields he always enjoyed and found it important to help people.

 

Having traveled extensively nationally and globally most of his life Warren has connected with many in an effort to improve the health and wellness of others. He was exposed to meditation more than 20-years ago and what started as a genuine interest Warren soon realized it was his true calling and living from his most authentic self. Warren’s reality of what he refers to as “spreading the love” helps people to live in the present – appreciating each moment for what it is without judgement. Often he is known by his saying, just “Be” and remember we are human Beings not human doings!

 

In 1983 Warren Reynolds studied Hotel & Restaurant Management in college and has worked in the Hospitality and Customer Service Industry his whole life. He always wanted to help people in some way.


In respect to the memory of his grandparents’ tradition he served his country as a regular force member in the Canadian Forces. The winds of time were changing and Warren knew it was to his benefit to take advantage of the early retirement package being offered to those military members who qualified of which he was.

Warren felt the pull to run his own business and he did. He was a management consultant and broker agent in the Financial Investment Industry. He has also taught children and adults as he is certified to teach English as a Second and Official Foreign Language.

 

After an economic down turn it was time to return to military related work to help support a newly started family. And so after helping a friend launch their business and receiving offers to work in the Security Industry he joined the Commissionaires and worked with the RCMP and York Regional Police.

 

Over the years and after receiving ongoing requests to teach Meditation Warren developed the WEM Meditation Program. Through travels in his native Canada to countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, India, Nepal, China & Philippines he always showed an interest in mindfulness, spirituality and helping others. Warren was extensively trained by those with more than 100-years of collective experience in Meditation. Ron Aviet (respectfully referred to as ‘Ronnie-ji’) residing in Laguna Hills, California as well as Vipassana Master S.N. Goenka (Goenka-ji) is residing in Mumbai, India both who are his most influential mentors. Warren has more than twenty years experience and he has built a strong base of practice for the benefit of himself and others. He is a graduate of the intense Meditation course at the Ontario Vipassana Centre located North of Toronto. Vipassana is an ancient, authentic technique dating back more than 2500-years originating from India of which Warren’s Program is based.

 

Warren’s guided instruction WEM Meditation Program includes the first level of Focused Attention-Breathing and how to learn to develop some mastery over the mind by awareness of natural breath. The second level is Mindfulness-Sensations the practice of observing sensations throughout the body, understanding their nature, and developing equanimity by learning not to react to them. The third level one learns Compassion-Kindness finishing with the relaxed, light Meditation Exercise. It is a process of self-transformation through self observation, resulting in a mind full of balance, strength, love and compassion. Warren’s WEM Meditation Program is unique to those of other practitioners as it is not only one method of meditation. It includes three methods of meditation with a self-created custom designed meditation exercise. This is a comprehensive and flexible meditation program.

Certified International Meditation Teacher

Sarah MacDonald

Sarah started her cooking career with NSCC's Culinary Arts course in Halifax N.S. finishing in the top of her class with special accolades in Bakery. She moved quickly to the larger port of Toronto and spent her first 7 years working at Fressen, one of Torontos first fine dining vegan restaurants. Fressen leaned towards the meat substitute side of veganism and fresh gluten and tempeh was made on site.

A time for change of scenery led to a new start with Live, Torontos first and foremost raw vegan cafe Operated by the amazing Jennifer Italiano. Life at Live began with learning everything from raw crackers/tortillas/patés and sauces to sugar-free desserts and cold pressed juices. She took on the role of Head Chef for 4 years. Seasonal Menu changes combined with an increase in healthy food delivery services in Toronto led to a boom of activity in the 3 years following. Making innovative, flavorful, healthy plant based meals for the masses became a welcome standard. This increased exposure to all walks of food sensitivities, allergies and tastes, lends to a variety of flexible recipies.

 

Currently retired from the high stress and long hours of the restaurant industry, Sarah is free to continue her world travels and put her tried and tested kitchen skills to work creating innovative and pleasing menus for you, experimenting with local ingredients and the tropical flavors of Belize.

Vegan Chef Extraordinaire

Tyler Jackson

Tyler has a passion for the practice of yoga because he believes it is a living, breathing and progressive body, mind and spirit  modality. He is inspired by the tradition of yoga paired with  biomechanics, Axis Syllabus and the work of Tom Meyers. In classes, he attempts to create a functional movement in his practice for everyone. Movement is unique to each person, so combining a mix of movement disciplines, not just yoga, in a fun and practical way helps us to connect to a dynamic expression of our anatomy's potential.

 

Tyler teaches at a number of studiosacross the city of Toronto  and creates workshops for Kids Yoga and Yoga for Cyclists. He was introduced to the practice while living in Vancouver in his early twenties working as a Plant-Based Chef with Aaron Ash, of Gorilla Food (Raw vegan restaurant).

 

An interest in tonic herbalism, Chinese medicine and wild food soon followed in Tyler's interests in rebuilding the body and connecting more deeply with the landscape.

 

After moving to Toronto, he worked as a Chef at Raw Aura, and later Live Organic Food Bar, committing to a self practice throughout all life’s transitions and as such,  yoga naturally took over as his creative outlet. He completed his Teacher Training at Breathe Yoga Studio and after becoming a CYA registered teacher, he became involved with youth through the non-profit organization SKETCH, teaching yoga and movement to kids.

Tyler feels that actively pursuing a connection between your mind and body reveals an ancient truth that can be safely adapted to benefit the life you live.

Yoga Instructor

Copy Of -Tyler Jackson

Tyler has a passion for the practice of yoga because he believes it is a living, breathing and progressive body, mind and spirit  modality. He is inspired by the tradition of yoga paired with  biomechanics, Axis Syllabus and the work of Tom Meyers. In classes, he attempts to create a functional movement in his practice for everyone. Movement is unique to each person, so combining a mix of movement disciplines, not just yoga, in a fun and practical way helps us to connect to a dynamic expression of our anatomy's potential.

 

Tyler teaches at a number of studiosacross the city of Toronto  and creates workshops for Kids Yoga and Yoga for Cyclists. He was introduced to the practice while living in Vancouver in his early twenties working as a Plant-Based Chef with Aaron Ash, of Gorilla Food (Raw vegan restaurant).

 

An interest in tonic herbalism, Chinese medicine and wild food soon followed in Tyler's interests in rebuilding the body and connecting more deeply with the landscape.

 

After moving to Toronto, he worked as a Chef at Raw Aura, and later Live Organic Food Bar, committing to a self practice throughout all life’s transitions and as such,  yoga naturally took over as his creative outlet. He completed his Teacher Training at Breathe Yoga Studio and after becoming a CYA registered teacher, he became involved with youth through the non-profit organization SKETCH, teaching yoga and movement to kids.

Tyler feels that actively pursuing a connection between your mind and body reveals an ancient truth that can be safely adapted to benefit the life you live.

Yoga Instructor

Charlotte Singmin

In 2008, Charlotte’s love for yoga led her to her first 200hr teaching certification at the Sivananda ashram on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.  Since then she has had the opportunity to travel and study internationally with several renowned teachers, while maintaining a regular practice in Toronto.

 

She holds certifications in hatha, vinyasa, therapeutic/restorative, and prenatal, and most often teaches an all-level, dynamic, flowing class with an emphasis on mindfulness and relaxation.

 

Charlotte delivers her mediation and yoga services to corporate spaces in Toronto, and has the pleasure of working with Twitter, Aol, The Huffington Post, Aveda, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nelson Education, as well as several ad agencies and other progressive minded clients.  She creates and hosts wellness content for Huffington Post, and is active within her community, partnering with brands like Vega and Lululemon to support local initiatives through yoga.

 

Charlotte has previously co-hosted yoga retreats in Nicaragua and Mexico, and is thrilled to bring her passion and experience to Serenity Retreats in Belize.

Meditation & Yoga Instructor

Emmanuel Mark

Exotic Food Chef. Bio coming soon!

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Plant-Based Living

1588 Serenity Road
Corozal, Belize
email: info@serenityretreatsbelize.com
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