Fri. Bhikkhu Sanghasena leads week-long Vesak celebration in Ladakh

- through Henry Oudin

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Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena. All images 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, celebrated Vesak or Buddha Purnima with a week of observances in May in honor. of birth, enlightenment and mahaparanirvana of the Buddha.

The week-long festival included a range of spiritual and cultural activities at MIMC, with visits to local communities, as well as a two-day meditation retreat program and a special symposium titled "Engaged in the Timeless Teachings of Lord Buddha and the Unprecedented Challenges of the 21st Century,” which brought together many distinguished speakers, including local officials, academics, artists and community leaders.

In accordance with the fundamental teaching of the Buddha on Days; offerings were made to the venerable monks and nuns of Mahabodhi Jetavana Monastery and Mahabodhi Monastery, as an expression of the generosity and respect of the community. This act was later extended beyond the monastic community to all those living on the Devachan campus of MIMC, with special meals served to students of Mahabodhi Higher Secondary School, students of Mahabodhi Girls and Boys Hostels, to those of the Mahabodhi Karuna Charitable Hospital, the residents of the Mahabodhi Maitri Geriatric Home and all the workers, volunteers and residents of the MIMC Devachan campus.

On May 23, Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena visited the village of Timosgang, where it was said that the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, had manifested himself at the Khar Gompa temple, located on the top of a prominent hill between the villages of Tia and Timosgang, which is also the birthplace of Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena.

People from all over Ladakh attended the festivities, thousands of people gathered to honor this sacred tradition with reverence and devotion. Students from government and non-government schools joined the celebration, singing devotional songs and presenting cultural performances. Addressing the participants, Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena emphasized the importance of the Buddha's profound teachings, urging everyone to use the precious gift of human life for the well-being of themselves and others.

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, the Save the Himalayas Foundation and an advisor to the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB).

This year's Vesak celebrations also included a two-day residential retreat at MIMC's Devachan campus from May 21-22. Fri. Bhikkhu Sanghasena told the retreatants that the gathering represented a sacred refuge for introspection and spiritual growth, and he urged them to embark on a profound journey of self-discovery.

The Vesak celebrations continued with a visit to the Taru Gayphel Tsogspa Animal Welfare Society, where Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena donated food for the animals cared for by Taru Gayphel Tsogspa.

“Lord Buddha’s great compassion for animals is exemplary in human history,” said Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena remarked in a statement shared with BDG. “Without the memory of innocent animals, the week-long celebration of Buddha Jayanti would have remained incomplete. The harmonious interaction with animals not only provided food, but also highlighted the importance of extending compassion to all living beings, a key teaching of the Buddha.

In addition to integrating spiritual development and human and animal 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)

See more

International Mahabodhi Meditation Center
International Mahabodhi Meditation Center – MIMC (Facebook)
Bhikkhu Sanghasena
Bhikkhu Sanghasena (Facebook)
Mahakaruna Foundation
Save the Himalayas Foundation
Umandawa Global Buddhist Village
International network of committed Buddhists

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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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