Fri. Bhikkhu Sanghasena attends the inauguration of the new Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka

- through Henry Oudin

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Image courtesy of MIMC
Image courtesy of MIMC

Renowned Buddhist leader and socially engaged monk Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena, founder and spiritual director of the non-profit International Mahabodhi Meditation Center (MIMC) in Ladakh, far north India, on February 23 led a delegation of senior members of MIMC from Delhi. branch to attend the inauguration of a Buddhist temple on the campus of the Umandawa Global Buddhist Village in the ancient royal capital of Kurunegala, Sri Lanka.

“Umandawa Global Village, spread over 70 acres (28 hectares) of land, is a unique village founded by the famous visionary monk, Venerable Siri Samanthabadra Mahathero,” MIMC announced in a message shared with BDG. “More than 100 people, including dignitaries such as former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and several government ministers, attended the inauguration of this magnificent Buddhist temple.

“The occasion also marked the celebration of the 49th birthday of Ven. Siri Samanthabadra Mahathero, founder and director of the Umandawa Global Buddhist Village, and the opening of a charitable hospital. Fri. Bhikkhu Sanghasena was the chief guest on this auspicious occasion.

Image courtesy of MIMC
Image courtesy of MIMC

In his opening speech delivered on this occasion, Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena recalled the centuries-old cultural and religious ties between Sri Lanka and India and expressed gratitude to the monastic and secular sangha of Sri Lanka for preserving the Buddhadharma with untiring faith and devotion. He also recalled the valuable contributions of Ven. Anagarika Dharmapala, founder of the Mahabodhi Society of India, on the revival of Buddhism in India.

Fri. Bhikkhu Sanghasena then presented the Himalayan Triratna Prize 2024 to Ven. Siri Samantabhadra Mahathero for her contribution to the revitalization of Buddhism in the 21st century.

“The Umandawa Global Buddhist Village is a vision conceived by Ven. Siri Samanthabhadra Arahath Thero as a refuge for seekers of truth and lovers of peace,” Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena observed. “Built in harmony with nature and reminiscent of the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka, Umandawa imparts complex Buddhist teachings to ordained monks and lay people in a simple and practical way for their physical, mental, spiritual and psychological health and happiness. »

Image courtesy of MIMC
Image courtesy of MIMC

The MIMC and the Umandawa Global Buddhist Village also signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing to undertake joint activities and programs dedicated to promoting cultural ties, mahakaruna meditation, yoga, world peace and equitable livelihood initiatives.

Fri. Bhikkhu Sanghasena and the MIMC delegation also visited the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum in Kandy and attended a private audience with His Holiness Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thero, Supreme Head of the Malwatta Chapter of the Siam Order Nikaya, to discuss the revival of Buddhism in India and the unprecedented challenges facing the world.

Fri. Bhikkhu Sanghasena founded the International Mahabodhi Meditation Center in Leh, the common capital of Ladakh, in 1986. It has since become an example of socially engaged Buddhism in the region, launching numerous humanitarian projects, events and initiatives. Its outreach work includes providing educational opportunities and shelter for disadvantaged children, empowerment and literacy programs for women and other socially disadvantaged groups, healthcare for the sick and needy, and a retirement home for the elderly and destitute. MIMC's growing campus has become a hub for a multitude of socio-cultural and community programs in the region.

He is also the founder of the Mahakaruna Foundation, Save the Himalayas Foundation and spiritual advisor to the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB).

Image courtesy of MIMC
Image courtesy of MIMC

In addition to integrating spiritual development and human well-being, Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena and the MIMC are also closely involved in peacebuilding and interfaith dialogue, environmental conservation and in promoting Buddhist and Himalayan cultural heritage through national and international festivals. Fri. Bhikkhu Sanghasena has traveled extensively to participate in international conferences, seminars and workshops aimed at promoting spiritual and cultural values, environmental awareness, non-violence and world peace, and to elevate the status of women in society, especially those from disadvantaged communities.

In 2021, Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena led an MIMC team on a humanitarian relief mission to the border regions of Ladakh, offering material aid in the face of COVID-19 as well as much-needed emotional and spiritual guidance to local residents who were living in fear during the double crisis in Ladakh. pandemic and the military standoff on the border between Indian and Chinese troops. The same team also led a peace campaign in the conflict zone, calling on both nations not to resort to violence, but to resolve the conflict through peaceful means.*

* Work, walk and pray for peace: Bhikkhu Sanghasena embarks on peace pilgrimage to Ladakh (BDG) and Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Sanghasena calls for a peaceful resolution amid Sino-Indian border tensions (BDG)

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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