Since a very young age, I’ve had a fascination with Buddhism, it’s philosophies, and the various forms of practice. Although I researched the religion generally throughout my youth (and even studied it through various university courses) I did not start formal training until 2014. That was the year that I began searching for a Sangha in the small community of the Ottawa Valley (located in Ontario, Canada). I quickly found the Tendai priest Innen Parchelo, who is the leader of Tendai Canada, and began my journey.
Formal practice was very rewarding from the start and I soon became more involved at the Red Maple Tendai Sangha, helping Innen prepare for retreats and morning services. This also led me to travel for training periods at TBI. In 2015, I took Jukai and was given the name Jiho.
Around the same time, it was discussed that Innen would eventually step down as head priest of Red Maple and I knew it was my duty to begin my training to become a priest and eventually take lead. It is my hope to see Tendai Buddhism become more prominent in North America and I believe a presence in Canada is essential to that expansion. I believe Tendai truly is the most diversified school of Buddhism and I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn and serve.
In the summer of 2017, I attended my first Gyo at TBI. I will continue this process in the years to come, working towards Soryo. At Red Maple, I have taken on more leadership responsibilities under Innen’s direction. This includes writing and recording for the Red Maple Tendai blog and our monthly podcasts. My plan for 2018 is to start an additional practice session, at a location in Pembroke, where our sangha can meet for meditation while Innen continues the formal services in Renfrew.