Albert Low is the Teacher and Director of the Montreal Zen Center. He and his wife Jean came to Montreal in 1979. At this time the Center was an affiliate of the Rochester Zen Center. With Albert Low's arrival the Center was changed radically.

Albert Low is the author of eighteen books. The two most recent, What More Do You Want Zen questions: Zen answers (please link to You Tube) and Nectar from Heaven: stories from heart to heart, although of great interest to those who have practiced Zen for some time, are particularly useful for those who are just starting to practice, or who are practicing but unable to find a qualified teacher. Most of Low's books have been translated into French. Some have been translated also into Spanish, Portuguese, German and Turkish. To read more about his books please click here.

In 1986 Albert Low received full transmission, which permitted him to become a fully fledged teacher. At this time, the final ties were cut with Rochester and Montreal had its own Zen Center. Today, the Montreal Zen Center's schedule is a very busy one consisting of daily zazen, dokusan (or personal interviews,) two, three, four and seven day retreats, intensive day sittings on some Sundays, and teishos (or talks) as well as introductory workshops and beginners's courses.

Also something new...

Thoughts along the way Albert Low's articles about life

'Religion is under attack' is the introduction to Albert's blog at www.albertlow.wordpress.com where he will periodically, about once per month, post thoughts and articles about religion in general and practice in particular. Albert has decided to open up the website to the public at large in order to make it more interesting. As you will see, a space is available on the blog where you can post your comments and questions. Albert has only a general idea of what he will put up on the blog: the specifics will depend on you. He will not reply directly to your questions, but will blend his replies into the postings. He urges you to keep your comments brief: a couple of sentences at the most, otherwise you will crowd out the comments and replies of others. Also please be sincere, ask those questions or make those comments that are meaningful and come from the heart rather than the head. He regrets he will not be able to have the posting translated into French. However, if you would like to comment in French then by all means please do so.

Please click on the image to visit the blog....

Albert Low was born in England in 1928. He and his wife emigrated to South Africa just after their marriage. He was a personnel executive for the Central News Agency. In 1963, he, his wife Jean, and their three children left South Africa because of the political situation and moved to Chatham in South Western Ontario, Canada. He was a personnel executive for the Union Gas Company up until 1976. During this time he lectured extensively on subjects relating to Management, Creativity and Organization Development to promote creativity. He developed a salary administration system for the personnel including senior management. He was also responsible for Organizational Development and developed new ways of thinking about organization.

Albert Low began Zen practice in 1961 after having had a theoretical interest for a number of years . In 1966 he began formal training under Yasutani roshi, and continued working with Yasutani’s chief student Philip Kapleau Kapleau at the Rochester Zen Center. In 1976 he retired from corporate life. He and his wife, Jean, sold their house and belongings in order to be able to go to Rochester to devote full time to the practice and dissemination of Zen. From 1976-1979 they were on the staff of the Rochester Zen Center, at which time he was the editor of the Center's magazine and Jean headed up the sewing room.

In 1979 Low was asked by Philip Kapleau to be the director of the affiliate group in Montreal. He completed his formal training in 1986, and at that time received full transmission as a Zen teacher.

The Montreal Zen Center is a lay community The members being householders many with a wife or husband as well as children. Low is able to understand and relate to the trials and tribulations that a lay person has when when practicing Zen while supporting a family. He, too, worked in the business world and had a family life while at the same time carrying on his Zen practice. He has many years experience as a counselor and is able to use his own life experience when counseling students living a way of life with which he has close ties. He encourages his students to bring their Zen practice into their daily life rather than to change their life to accommodate the practice.

On May 30, 2003 Albert Low received an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Three faculty members at Queen's are also members of the Montreal Zen Centre and they nominated Albert for an honorary degree based on his scholarship, extensive publications, his teaching and community service. Many letters of support from people accomplished in the arts, medicine, social sciences, physical sciences, and business were included in the formal nomination. There was broad support from within and outside the university.

A university-wide committee considered many nominations and selected a relatively small group of individuals for recognition at the spring and fall 2003 convocations. This is a significant honor from a prominent Canadian university and it demonstrates an unusual openness on the part of the university in acknowledging, in this way, both Zen and Albert's many contributions.

Director and Founder of the Montreal Zen Center

•  Educated at the University of South Africa and at Rochester Zen Centre where he received Full Transmission as a Teacher;

•  Rare intellectual, scholar of Eastern thought and distinguished Zen Master;

•  And a prolific author on Zen; Who has added to his generous abundance of insights and words, his other unique contributions of scholarship, teaching and community service;

•  Former business executive who applied principles from Zen to the practice of business and management in writing what has been called one of the best management books ever published;

• Known also as a compassionate teacher, blind to the backgrounds and idiosyncrasies of his students; Whose bilingual learning centre attracts priests, nuns, devout Jews, leaders in the United Church, separatists, laborers, proud Canadians, atheists, and students from all walks of life eager to find sanctuary and understanding in an increasingly divided world;

• A valued and precious human asset, who is revered by psychologists and psychiatrists in North America and Europe for the very special combination of talents and skills he generously provides them in offering meaningful access to the obscurities of Zen Buddhism;

• Whose humanitarian activities beyond all the sessions and workshops includes volunteer efforts in palliative care, work with prison inmates, and constant communication with a large number of people in all of life's circumstances;

• Also an engaging, inspiring and entertaining speaker whose lectures captivate and make difficult complex concepts accessible and instructive to fervent listeners;

• And a remarkable man who has been exceptionally productive outside the university community and whom we celebrate and honor today by bringing him inside the community of Queen's University.


Albert Low has a busy full-time schedule at the Montreal Zen Center nine months of the year. January, July and August he takes time off to rest and recuperate. During these months, a daily zazen schedule continues. He can be reached by e-mail at albertlow@bellnet.ca or by snail mail at the Center address.


>> books by Albert Low

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