The Novayana Society for Eastern and Western Studies is part of a larger worldwide group of Western Buddhists. The teaching of this tradition is eclectic, with a foundation in Tibetan and Theravadin Buddhist practices, but with many modern interpretations and developments.
The Novayana Society for Eastern and Western Studies is part of a larger worldwide group of Western Buddhists. The Novayana Society is a charitable organization that is part of a larger worldwide group of Western Buddhists whose root teacher is the Venerable Namgyal Rinpoche. The teaching of this tradition is eclectic, with a foundation in Tibetan Vajrayana and Theravadin Buddhist practices, but also including many modern interpretations and developments.
Students of Namgyal Rinpoche have lived in Edmonton since the 1970’s. The first Tibetan teacher to visit the city was Kalu Rinpoche who came in 1973 and gave a Chenrezig wongkur (empowerment of the Buddha of Compassion).Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche paid his first visit in 1978 and His Holiness Sakyapa (head of the Sakyapa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism) also visited that same year.
The Novayana Society was first incorporated in 1982, and in that year Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche’s teacher, Sayadaw U Thila Wunta of Burma, first came to Edmonton to teach. In the 1980s, a Namgyal House was started and was, for a time, a focus for the group’s activities.
In 1990 the Sayadaw returned to Edmonton and with students’ help, built a Burmese pagoda. The Sayadaw has built pagodas in many locations around the world. They contain relics of the Buddha and of arahats (fully purified beings) and so act as beacons of light and compassion for all beings.
It was decided in 1991 that gaining society status and eventually charitable status would help further Novayana’s goals. In June 1992, Novayana received society status. In October 1995, Novayana applied for charitable status. It was granted in February 1996.
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE NOVAYANA SOCIETY FOR EASTERN AND WESTERN STUDIES ARE:
- To promote the teaching and exploration of Buddhadharma through meditation, and various religious, artistic and educational activities, for the benefit of all sentient beings
- To provide support for teachers of Buddhadharma and other teachers whose objectives are in harmony with those of the society.
- To establish, by purchase of land and/or buildings, or otherwise, suitable meeting, teaching and/or retreat centers for the various activities of the society.
- To carry out charitable work.
ABOUT VEN. NAMGYAL RINPOCHE
The Venerable George Dawson (Namgyal Rinpoche) is the main meditation teacher of many people in the Novayana Society. Rinpoche was a Canadian Buddhist monk who studied, practiced and taught meditation in many different parts of the world since the early 1960’s. His name and title of Rinpoche (which means Precious or Jeweled One) were conferred on him by His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Karma Kargyu school of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. Previously, the Rinpoche was known as the Ven. Ananda Bodhi, the name given him by the Venerable Sayadaw U Thila Wunta when he received the robes of a Bhikku (fully ordained Buddhist monk; literally meaning “wanderer”) at that teacher’s temple in Burma (Myanmar). After spending many years in the East, involved in meditation and study with different teachers in Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand, he returned to the West at the invitation of the English Sangha Trust, to teach in London, England as their resident Bhikku. During this time he also established Johnson House, which he later passed on to Ven. Akong Rinpoche and Ven. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and which became known as Saye Ling. He returned to Canada to teach in 1965 and continued to give teachings and empowerments until his death in Switzerland in October of 2003.
Several of his students, teachers in their own right – Cecile Kwiat, Tarchin Hearn, Wangchuk, Karma Senge, Karma Chime, Doug Duncan, Jeff Olson (Lama Lodro) and Bonnie Ross – have taught in Edmonton at the invitation of the Novayana Society. Cecilie Kwiat, who passed away in 2014, was for many years the resident teacher for Novayana