Brian Ruhe is the author of the book, A Short Walk on an Ancient Path – A Buddhist Exploration of Meditation, Karma and Rebirth. Brian has an insight into Buddhism and meditation that can only be had by someone who practiced and studied seriously in a Tibetan Buddhist Centre, was a monk in Thailand, and was employed full time as the public relations official for a Chinese Pure Land Buddhist temple. He’s seen the best and the worst of a variety of traditions from the inside looking out and he can be more honest than the lineage holders of most traditions. Brian has taught at community colleges, universities and adult education courses in greater Vancouver since 1997. His first book was Freeing the Buddha, published by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.
Raised within a Unitarian background, Brian was exposed early to the spiritual dimension of life. Originally from Ontario, he studied business and philosophy at Brock University, and moved to Vancouver in 1980, continuing his studies at BCIT. After working in the financial planning industry selling mutual funds for eight years, he felt that although he was a reasonably happy individual, something was missing from his life. Like many of us, he was haunted by the need for meaning and purpose in life.
Brian considered a number of different spiritual paths. He was drawn to Buddhism because he was a truth seeker and because of its penetrating insights into the nature of the mind. After immersing himself in Buddhist teachings he quit the financial planning business, and became a true seeker. The first stage of his journey was a six-month stay at a Tibetan Buddhist centre in Vermont, founded by his first teacher Chogyam Trungpa, after which he moved for four years to Thailand, a Theravada Buddhist country. In Thailand he studied and practiced at various temples and meditation centres, gathering teachings and deepening his meditation practice. He spent a short time in the monkhood with the name Buddhasaro Bhikkhu. At his home temple, Wat Ram Poeng, in Chiangmai, Northern Thailand, he was trained by the abbot, Ajhan Supan, to be a Vipassana meditation instructor. It was in this setting that Brian first began to teach and give formal lectures on Buddhism to the dozens of Westerners who came to the monastery for month-long meditation retreats. It was in this setting, as well, that Brian decided that it was time for him to return to his homeland to share his insights and experiences. Brian is now a student of the Theravada Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah at forestsangha.org.
Brian offers courses of study presenting timeless teachings in a fresh and engaging way, working with ideas from other Buddhist teachers to magnetize and empower people to work out the truth for themselves. “People don’t realize how precious our human life is, just to have the opportunity to follow a spiritual path,” he says. Most of Brian’s teachings are freely available on his hundreds of YouTube videos covering all aspects of his courses, both Buddhist and geopolitical. He believes that the boundaries between faiths are dissolving and that in this climate of change we may come to share more realistic, effective and workable tools in the governance of our lives. Brian is working to do this while not losing sight of the importance of following the Buddha’s original teachings in the Pali suttas.
When working with others, Brian’s objective is to help establish them in their meditation practice and lead them further along the Theravada Buddhist path, as well as into understanding the truth behind our geopolitical world. That is Brian’s vision. That is how Brian sees himself benefiting others by contributing to growth and change.