Urban Buddhist Monk
Reverend Dr. Bhante Saranapala

By Troy MacLean

The Urban Buddhist Monk, Global Public Speaker and Teacher of Mindfulness Meditation, Spiritual Counsellor & Founder of “Canada: A Mindful and Kind Nation”

- Recipient of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms from the Government of Canada

- Recipient of “Canada 150 Medal and Sesquicentennial Community Award” from the Government of Canada

- Recipient of Spirit Award from the Government of Ontario

Known as the "Urban Buddhist Monk", an appropriate nomenclature for a Buddhist Monk for modern times, Bhante Saranapala has been acclaimed as a consummate teacher of meditation by a growing number of seekers of spiritual and healthy life and peace of mind in North America and Europe who admire his simple and all-embracing approach in transmitting the universal message of love, kindness, compassion, understanding and wisdom. He has earned an enviable reputation as a global public speaker and a meditation master par excellence. Born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, Bhante Saranapala, after receiving both his monastic and secular education in Sri Lanka, made his way to Canada to further his studies (did his undergrad and grad studies at the University of Toronto and McMaster University) and soon addressed his mind to the noble task of spreading in the West his own tested approach to Mindfulness and Insight Meditation. Settling down in the City of Mississauga-Toronto West, he has been a monk in residence at the monastic fraternity of the West End Buddhist Temple and (Monastery) Meditation Centre for the past 23 years.

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 / Sharing is Caring, now in its 16th 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. In 2017 and 2018, the Government of Canada has recognized his mindfulness meditation sessions with the Canadian police and spiritual services to the different communities across Canada by granting him “Canada 150 Medal and Sesquicentennial Community Award” and “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” 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.