The Black Dog

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In 1972, Piyadassi Mahathera visited the Zen Meditation Centre of Montreal, to give a series of two afternoon lectures on a summer week-end.

The centre was housed in a former estate home on Mountain Street above Pine Avenue. Public lectures were held in what had once been a dining room, with wood paneled walls, leaded windows, and floors decorated by complicated inlay designs. The ceiling lighting was coffered stained glass. Behind this, a conservatory opened through French doors to the back garden. It was a beautiful building with a warm, welcoming charm.

The afternoon of Piyadassi’s first lecture, a large black Labrador retriever came to the garden door and made a terrible fuss. We opened the door and he came inside, where he made himself comfortable at the Mahathera’s feet for the duration of the talk. During the entire lecture, he never made a sound. After the lecture, the dog left the way he had come.

The next day, the dog returned and again barked to be let inside just before the lecture. Again, he lay quietly at Piyadassi Mahathera’s feet for the two-hour lecture but this time, he would not leave. Later that evening, someone rang the front door bell of the centre. It was a man who had been scouring the neighbourhood for his dog, lost for several days. Of course, it was the black dog who had come to hear our visiting Buddhist monk. Both man and dog were happily reunited. We never saw the dog again.

A Sumeru story

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