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About Us

About Us

Sangha Members at a Vajrayogini Wongkur

Awaken in Toronto (AIT) is a community dedicated

to awakening in this lifetime. We practice Vajrayana

Buddhism with an emphasis on eco-dharma,

trauma-informed dharma, and active sangha

participation. We find these explorations cultivate a

deep sense of belonging amongst members and

allows for profound spiritual growth. 

We host weekly online meditation classes and offer

meditation retreats at the Dharma Centre of

Canada that allow us to explore some of life’s

deepest questions and their application to daily life.

We meet socially and interact online to build

friendships and community.  

Our Teachers & Lineage

Awaken in Toronto is led by Lama Linda, (Linda Hochstetler),

and follows the teachings of the Namgyal Lineage

(Namgyal Rinpoche). The teachings include books and live

discourses as taught by Namgyal Rinpoche. AIT is closely

associated with Clear Sky Meditation Centre, whose

resident teachers are Qapel (Doug Duncan) and Catherine

Pawasarat Sensei, also teaching in the Namgyal Lineage.

Lama Linda is supported by a group of committed senior

students who also teach and provide leadership to the AIT


Lama Linda
Qapel & Catherine Sensei

​Lama Linda has studied both mindfulness meditation and Vajrayana Buddhism for more than 25 years. She trained in mindfulness meditation with Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 90s, and studied with Namgyal Rinpoche (the first Canadian-born Rinpoche) from 1995 until his death in 2003.  She received permission to teach in the Namgyal lineage from Qapel in 2014. Lama Linda weaves together her meditation experience, her professional background as a social worker and ecotherapist, her mother and step-mother roles, and her passion for awakening in this life time. She teaches group classes and retreats, and engages with her students one-on-one. She also specializes in dying and death issues, and is the author of 21 Days to Die: The Canadian Guide to End-of-Life.

Get Involved

Information about our classes, retreats and social gatherings is available on Meetup, and we also distribute a monthly e-newsletter to subscribers.  We invite you to subscribe to our e-newsletter, and visit our Meetup page for up-to-date information on all of our offerings. Our weekly classes are held online, and retreats, ecotherapy vision quests, and social activities are held in person. 


All of our events are offered on the basis of dāna, or generosity. This provides our members with the opportunity to practice generosity, and contribute in a way that reflects their value of the teachings and ability to pay. All funds received go to support the teacher, the teachings, and the organizing of the group. Dana can be sent by e-transfer to or by PayPal. The receipt will come from AIT Treasurer Hon Tong Fung (Bat).


Upcoming Classes & Events

Click below to see our upcoming events and RSVP classes, outings and retreats


Our team

Linda Hochstetler

Primary teacher


Lama Linda (aka Linda Hochstetler) has studied both mindfulness meditation and Vajrayana Buddhism for more than 20 years.  She weaves together her meditation experiences, her professional background as a social worker, her years as a mother and step-mother, and her passion for awakening in this life time into each of her classes and retreats.  She encourages students to join the Awaken in Toronto community, supports students in one-on-one relationships, and invites you to join her in your own explorations.

Bat Fung



Bat Fung has been studying with Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasaratt since 2003. He brings his wry sense of humour and pragmatic sensibilities to teaching meditation, and enjoys expounding on traditional Buddhists practices as well as interpreting meditation practices for everyday urban life.  He brings to life meditation practices for new and old students alike.

Ariel Mod



Ariel first met meditation in 2006, and fell instantly and deeply in love with it.  She found her first meditation home with the Mindfulness Practice Community of Toronto, and remains deeply grateful to the community she found there.  The silent meditation retreats she attended at the Ontario Vipassana Centre raised deep spiritual questions for her, which she now explores with Awaken in Toronto.

Richard Clark



Richard has been studying meditation practices for more than 25 years. He first studied with Namgyal Rinpoche, and has dedicated significant time in Karma Yoga to the Dharma Centre of Canada. He connects strongly with the Vajrayana practices of mantras, visualizations, and insight meditation. He has travelled extensively with Sayadaw U Tila Wanta to build Burmese pagodas in three Canadian provinces and in South Africa. He is a master builder and helped construct the Ecological Caretaker Residence (Sky Roots) at the Clear Sky Meditation Centre in BC.

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