Cecilie Kwiat


Cecilie Kwiat is a meditation teacher with skill in crafting traditional meditation techniques to accommodate individual needs. Cecilie considers herself to be a Buddhist practitioner rooted in North American culture. Since the mid 1960’s when she met her first Buddhist teacher – then known as the Venerable Ananda Bodhi, later recognised by the late Holiness, the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and given the name Venerable Namgyal Rinpoché – Cecilie has also had the good fortune of receiving teachings from many excellent teachers from the three main schools of Sakyamuni Buddha’s lineage – most notably H.H. the Dalai Lama, H.H. the 16th Karmapa, H.H. Sakya Trinzin and H.H. Penor Rinpoché. Cecilie has also studied Soto Zen Buddhism, spending nine months in Japan sitting in a Soto temple under the guidance of Ven. Uchiyana Roshi. As well, she spent 21 months in Thailand doing practice and studying the Theravadin path. For this rare and precious gift of Dharma she is most grateful.

A Canadian, attracted to the Buddha’s teaching by the Venerable Namgyal Rinpoché’s suggestion that she stop inner wars rather than outer ones, Cecilie has been focused on developing non-clinging, compassionate awareness to still the fires of suffering and ignorance. Her main practices aim at increasing love, skill and a respect for the gift of what is present.


Cecilie is a gifted writer and poet, as well as a Dharma teacher. She shares her love of writing and Dharma by giving writing/meditation workshops in many beautiful places on the planet. To quote Cecilie:

“The gift of language bestows on its recipients great power. It can be used to paint the possibilities of imagination into our daily life. It holds the promise of clarity when we make estimates and measurements. Through language we are able to coordinate group activities. A few words can throw us into loneliness and pain or transform disaster into pleasure. But perhaps the most profound use of language occurs when it is woven into myth. Although the art of myth involves speech, its true power lies in transcending the world of duality. Myth is the language of the undivided heart. Every life, every culture has at its core a myth, calling us into a union beyond words.”

Cecilie Kwiat is the resident guide and teacher for the Novayana Society for Eastern and Western Studies, based in Edmonton, Alberta. She teaches regularly in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta and Boise, Idaho as well as at various Dharma Centres across Canada, including the Dharma Centre of Canada, and Crystal Staff in Ottawa. She has been graced, as well, with the opportunity to teach frequently at various Centres in Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, England, France, and North America.

She currently lives in Didsbury, Alberta, Canada where she provides individual meditation and retreat instruction. It has become a vibrant Retreat Center. Meditators from across Alberta and around the world, travel here to do retreat work. The positive aspirations from all the meditative practice manifests as a tangible presence in the house. This calm, clear, and compassionate atmosphere supports all those who come.

Cecilie is a teacher completely living by the gift of dana – so members of Novayana and students and friends of the Dharma across the world provide this support in the form of ongoing monthly financial contributions and assistance.

For further information regarding ongoing activities, retreats and teaching schedules please contact Don MacKenzie at don.mackenzie@shaw.ca, or Bob or Kathi Sinclair at kstara@end-less-knot.com or on www.novayana.org, the website of the Novayana Society for Eastern and Western Studies.

For New Zealand teachings contact Ana Dorrington at ana.d.smile@gmail.com


Cecilie’s Renovation Project

Well – we are all aging and Cecilie is no exception. At the moment Cecilie lives in her partially unfinished basement leaving the upstairs kitchen, dining room, living room, bath, and two bedrooms for meditators. The stairs to and from her basement living quarters are steep and narrow. It is time for a change to benefit both Cecilie and future meditators.

At 72 Cecilie is a tad creaky and the effects of a run in with a BIG truck when she was 16 are asserting their “it really did happen” daily reminders. Falls are the number one health issue for ‘elderly’ elders. Eliminating steep stairs and thinking ahead is practical and living in a basement at 72 is not on. n short BHIMBGO (Bloody Hell, I Must Be Getting Old pronouced: bee-him-go) has arrived.

So – the renovations will accomplish the following:

  • Enclosed exterior stairs to the main floor so that Cecilie doesn’t have to contend with snowy and slippery steps {and shovelling snow off them}. This will also allow meditators access to downstairs {without going through the kitchen}.
  • Self-contained quarters with bathroom and minimal food prep facilities for 2 meditators in a renovated downstairs complete with a separate entrance and upgraded heating, etc.
  • Self-contained quarters upstairs for Cecilie, along with her library/study, with her own private entrance, etc., …the deck for the birds will remain.
  • A garage to provide outside storage as well as assuring that she won’t have to risk slipping while cleaning off her car in winter.
  • The electrical, plumbing, etc. will be upgraded to code.
  • More comfort and personal safety for her living upstairs rather than down – at least samsaric type comfort.
  • This will allow Cecilie to remain in her home for a much longer time. Should it ever become necessary, the downstairs quarters could also allow for live-in assistance.

After much research and discussion, it has been decided that the purchase of a replacement home with a one floor layout, would still entail renovation, so these ‘in place’ renovations are the best option, and Cecilie has a comfortable place to live (Brenda’s place) during the renovations.

Cecilie can fund approximately 66 – 75% of the total cost out of her own savings over many years; as well she receives the small monthly seniors’ pension provided by the government. We are seeking to fund the remainder. In the interim there is bridge financing in place so that the renovation can go ahead as soon as the general contractor is ready. Right now there are big holes in the ground and as the cold weather abates, the contractor is set to ‘go’. But, renovations are notorious for going over budget, so our budget has a contingency amount built in – hence the ‘range’ of the goal below.

The amount we are seeking to fund is between $40,000 – $70,000… that is to say, if the renovation remains ‘within budget’, the amount of shortfall would be closer to the $40,000 mark. The $70,000 includes the ‘OMG’ contingency shortfall. A fully qualified Architect is donating her time to this project, as well as Brenda (the ‘Accountant’), so these numbers have been vetted very thoroughly, as have the standard holdbacks, etc. We are grateful to have an Architect, experienced with General Contractors, to keep the project, the quality of the work, and the financing of it on track.

The need for fund raising is two-fold:

  1. For those who can give a lump sum, your gift would go to immediately pay down the bridge financing, or address the immediate costs as they unfold per the contracted schedule of payments. No amount is too small. You must be guided by your budget.
  2. For those whose budgets are more limited, a small monthly amount for 2 -3 years (while the debt is retired) would help to pay the monthly interest due on funds drawn to complete the renovation. No amount is too small. Small monthly consistent amounts would be great. A series of post-dated cheques would accomplish this or perhaps even your bank could arrange a monthly automatic deposit to her account. We believe that with a combination of small and larger gifts, the debt can be retired in 2 – 3 years.

Then there is the ‘hybrid’ solution. Perhaps some can give a one- time lump sum (no matter what the amount) and follow up with a monthly amount for the debt retirement period or some portion of it.

Any financially related questions can be directed to Brenda. For convenience Brenda’s email is: brenda@bamintz.ca. Brenda holds Power of Attorney for Cecilie and hence is able to manage online banking, deposits, etc.

One way to send funds is an Interac email transfer. The recipient would be Cecilie Kwiat BUT the email address to use is brenda@bamintz.ca. I can then deposit the funds electronically on her behalf directly to her bank account. Be sure to write in the message section ‘For Cecilie’s Reno’ & remember to send me an email with the security answer!

Attached is further information I both Word format and Pdf format, on how to send gifts in a variety of ways suitable for Canada and internationally along with options to remain anonymous should you wish to do so. <please email me and I will send them to you brenda@bamintz.ca>

Yours in Sweet (as Cecilie would say) Dharma,


Please note:

For people outside Canada: We can easily use Brenda’s PayPal account.

You can send your donations to Brenda’s PayPal account by logging into PayPal, clicking ‘send money’ and entering her email address ‘brenda@bamintz.ca’ then mark ‘for Cecilie’s Reno’ in the payment comments. This is so easy it takes around two minutes to do.

For people in Canada: There is no gift tax in Canada.

These are not charitable donations under Canadian Law. These are gifts to a friend in need and cannot be ‘receipted’ for tax purposes. I strongly advise charitable organizations wishing to send funds under their official charitable status to talk to their Accountant first.

This biography of Cecilie is from the www.wangapeka.org website