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Welcome to Toronto Buddhist Church! Founded in 1947, TBC is a temple in the Jodo Shinshu
tradition of Pure Land Buddhism. Jodo Shinshu is the largest school of Buddhism in Japan, and
was the first to organize temples in Canada (1905). Today we are an integrated sangha with a
Japanese Canadian base and members from many backgrounds.

Our emphasis on welcome is based in the teachings of our founder, Shinran Shonin. Shinran taught that Amida Buddha embraces all beings equally and provides liberation to everyone, without discrimination. With this as our guiding star, we strive to pursue inclusivity as a Buddhist practice, to build a strong, diverse sangha (community) wherein all are welcome and share the gift of their wisdom and presence.

Unlike in many Buddhist traditions, Jodo Shinshu was founded 800 years ago as a non-celibate
Buddhist order. We understand that sexuality is a part of the human experience, and support
members’ diverse expressions of sex, gender, and relationships. Various temples are served by
gay, lesbian, trans, and nonbinary Jodo Shinshu ministers, and many laypeople are part of the
LGBTQ+ community. Some temples have LGBTQ+ affinity groups, which provide a place for
community support and help the larger membership understand how to live up to our
commitment to genuine inclusion and celebration of everyone. Our temples are frequent hosts of workshops and programs on and for the LGBTQ+ community.

No religion has a perfect record on LGBTQ+ issues, including Buddhism, unfortunately. But in a comparative sense, Jodo Shinshu is one of the most progressive forms of Buddhism, with a
long history of inclusion and acceptance.

Starting in the 1970s, Jodo Shinshu ministers were the first Buddhists in the world to perform
same-sex marriages. When World Pride was held in Toronto in 2014, TBC was the only temple
to participate: our minister at the time performed many weddings at the event. Toronto Buddhist Church is proud to offer wedding services to couples of any gender.

Jodo Shinshu’s history of support for LGBTQ+ persons and rights is not limited to marriage. We
helped to establish the first Buddhist hospices for people living with HIV during the 1980s AIDS
epidemic. In the 1990s, our temples were the first Buddhist institutions to host PFLAG groups,
and we were the first Buddhist organization to officially petition the government to protect
LGBTQ+ rights. Toronto Buddhist Church is the first Canadian Buddhist institution to march at
Pride, and Jodo Shinshu temples in the USA have regularly done so for many years.

If you would like to learn more, here are some links to explore the connection of LGBTQ+
persons and Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.