Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year 2011!

Dear Friends of Malaysia Desk Ladakh,

As the year 2010 is coming to an end and the New Year is coming to dawn. I take immense pleasure in wishing you a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

May true peace, happiness, harmony and peaceful co-existence prevail all over the world.
May all kinds of conflicts, confusions, violence, war and division disappear from every corner of the world.
May the light of pure love shines brightly and boundlessly.

Let us contemplate on the gone year.
let us feel regret and repent for all the mistakes we have committed and let us take a vow not to repeat those mistakes in the coming year.
Let us also contemplate on the good things we have been able to achieve and let us rejoice in them.
Let us pray and invoke the blessings of the Lord to give us stronger strength and means and ways not only to continue the noble service, but to redouble them.

May all beings be happy and well.
Yours Sincerely,
Bhikkhu Sanghasena
Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre
Devachan, P.O. Box # 22, Leh - Ladakh 194101, INDIA
Ph: +91-1982-264372 Mobile: +91-9906902025, +91-9419178667

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Report on Chandigarh events

Inauguration of Mahabodhi Padmaloka Girls Hostel, Chandigarh Branch,
Mahabodhi Int’l Meditation Centre, Chandigarh Branch
One-Day International Seminar on Buddhism
in Panchkula, Chandigarh

For hundreds of poor children in Ladakh, the miracle of education came as a blessing in disguise called Mahabodhi. Mahabodhi has been a haven for hundreds of children to realize their potential and dreams, a support for old to live with dignity, a shelter for the sick to get care and medical attention and a solace for the truth seekers. The Mahabodhi Residential School was started in the year 1992 by Ven. Sanghasena, in a deserted place in Ladakh with 25 little girls selected from the most remote areas of Ladakh. Today, the school has grown in its size and facilities embracing more than 700 children in Ladakh who are provided the most essential education and other facilities free of cost. Mahabodhi school has also successfully established its three sister branches in three of the most remote villages of Ladakh. However, the main school in the campus has facilities up to 10th std only after which the students have to move out of Ladakh to pursue their higher education. Accordingly under the Mahabodhi higher education scheme, the 1st batch girls who passed out in the year 2002 from Mahabodhi were sent to Bangalore for their further studies. Thereafter, the subsequent batches of students were sent to Bangalore every year.

With the growing number of students each passing year, the expenses involved were becoming unbearably expensive in a metro city like Bangalore. Thus, choosing an alternate place closer to Ladakh and less expensive for the post-metric students became inevitable and crucial. Chandigarh being an educational hub with a wide range of educational institutions and colleges offering students a wealth of curriculum choices apart from its beauty was the most appropriate place in all aspect to send the girls for their higher studies. However, there were currently no existing hostel facilities to accommodate these students, as a result, they either had to hire rented rooms or stay with the local residents as paying guest (PG) in their houses. Moreover, the issues of social security in rental accommodation and the growing expenses of the PGs provisions are matters of great concern and worry for the parents and guardians of these Ladakhi students.

As such, to facilitate our girl students to pursue their studies in a safe and congenial environment, Ven. Sanghasena very kindly made efforts to established the Padmaloka Girls Hostel at Ramgarh where at present 32 girls are comfortably continuing their studies in different schools and colleges of Chandigarh. The hostel building is designed to accommodate 100 students in the future. A branch of the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre is also being established alongside the hostel, to provide spiritual guidance for students studying away from home, and for the residents of Chandigarh city, Panchkula city, Punjab and surrounding areas who are also inspired to follow the teachings of the Buddha. Ven. Sanghasena again has taken the pioneering initiative to establish a meditation centre alongside the Padmaloka hostel, enabling the Mahabodhi Meditation Centre to impart holistic, spiritual and value-based education along with the more conventional curriculum subjects. It will serve as a vital source or nucleus to facilitate both spiritual and secular education to the students in this most challenging of times, bringing together and bonding a strong sense of shared community and values for the future.

The formal inauguration of the hostel and the meditation centre was scheduled on Saturday the 4th of Dec 2010. The meditation centre was very kindly inaugurated by Most Ven. Lama Lobzang, Hon’ble President, Ashoka Mission, New Delhi and the Padmaloka Girls Hostel was very kindly inaugurated by Datuk Dr. Victor Wee, Hon’ble President, Buddhist Gem Fellowship, Malaysia. The inaugural ceremony was studded with the blissful presence of Ven. Sanghasena, President, Mahaobdhi Int’l Meditation Centre other venerable monks and nuns from Taiwan, Myanmar and delegates from Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and India. The hon’ble members of Mahabodhi from Ladakh, Jammu and the Tricity were also present along with many other well wishers from various parts of India and abroad. Many students from Ladakh, north-east states of India, Lahaul Spiti, Bhutan and Myanmar were also present on the occasion.

Mahabodhi also organized a One-Day International Seminar on Buddhism on the theme “Resurgence of Buddhism in the land of its birth” at Inderdhanush Auditorium Hall in Panchkula city on Sunday the 5th of Dec, 2010. His Excellency the Governor of Haryana, Shri. Jagannath Pahadia very kindly inaugurated the seminar. Datuk Dr. Victor Wee, Hon’ble Chairman, Tourism Malaysia and President, Buddhist Gem Fellowship, Malaysia, Most Ven. Lama Lobzang, Hon’ble President Ashoka Mission, New Delhi, Mr. Charlie Chia from Malaysia, Prof. P.R Trivedi Pro Chancellor, Global Open University, Nagaland, Dharmacari Lokamitra, President, Jambu Dvipa Trust, Nagpur, Dr. Ravindra Panth, Vice Chancellor, Nava Nalanda University, Bihar, Lt. Gen. M.S Buttar, Chief of Staff, HQ Western Command, Lt. Gen. S.S Grewal, (Retd), Shri. Phunchok Stobdan, Hon’ble Vice-President Ladakh Buddhist Association and Shri. Tsewang Thinles, Hon’ble President, Ladakh Buddhist Association Youth wing were among the guests of honour who graced the opening ceremony along with Ven. Sanghasena, the founder President of Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre.

Many eminent personalities and scholars from India and abroad shared their insight and addressed the various challenging issues such as Buddha’s teaching and the Global Weather Change, Ancient wisdom for the modern problems, Peace through Vipassana Meditation, The Buddha’s teachings and challenges of the 21st century; terrorism, fanaticism and sectarianism, Importance of Pali language and the History of Buddhism, Buddha’s teachings and modern education, Balance between spirituality and materiality etc. Over 1000 audiences including students’ community of Chandigarh and Buddhists from the adjoining states thronged the auditorium. The Mahabodhi cultural troupe and delegates from Malaysia presented a colourful songs and dances during the opening ceremony as well as the valedictory function. The Ladakhi cultural troupe was invited to perform at the SAARC Folklore and Heritage festival, where they were honoured with a cash prize. All the electronic and print Medias did a wide coverage of the inaugural function of the Girls Hostel and Meditation Centre on 4th of December and the seminar on 5th of December.

We express our grateful thanks for the generous donation by the members of Buddhist Gem Fellowship (BGF) and the Mahabodhi Desk for Ladakh (MDL) towards the construction of the Girls Hostel. Our special thanks to Datuk Dr. Victor Wee, President BGF and Mr. Charlie Chia for organizing the big group of devotees and we also thank all the Malaysian delegates for their participation in the Inaugural ceremony of Mahabodhi Girls Hostel, Mahabodhi Meditation Centre and the One Day seminar on Buddhism. The talks and the Dhamma songs presented by Datuk Dr. Victor Wee and Mr. Charlie Chia were applauded by everyone present on the occasion.

May all the Buddhas, Bodhisattavas and the Devas shower their blessing upon all of you.
May all of you continue to progress on the path of Dhamma.

With kind regards and much Metta,
Bhikkhu Sanghasena

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Havoc Flood in Ladakh

Photos update by Bhante Nagasena >>

Havoc of Flood in Ladakh

Dear friends of Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre, Leh, Ladakh.

The beautiful valley of Ladakh turns into a valley of horror in minutes. The noisy thunder, torrential rain and swift wave of storm and wind turn the atmosphere dark and gloomy. Suddenly an unprecedented flood created destruction, devastation, havoc and turn the city and valley into ghost city. Hundreds of residential houses are destroyed, several hundreds lives lost, thousand of people are severely injured and effected. Search for lost lives are in search process. Lots of cattle, wealth and crops are destroyed.

“I didn’t witness and heard about such devastation in my entire life” says an 80 years old man. Apart from lost of lives and property, all infrastructures, communication and social welfare installation are affected. Radio station, power supply, mobile phones, hospital are severely effected. There is no telephone, no power and no communication facilities for the last two days. Roads and bridges are cut and totally destroyed.

The Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre also witnessed flood resulting the Old Aged Home, the main secretariat and the hospital are made to non-functional. Drug store, ration store are flooded and water supply is partially destroyed. Thanks to the Triple Gem, there is no lost of life in Mahabodhi. All inmates are busy in cleaning process and revive the vital installation. Inmates of all residential buildings are evacuated to safer places on elevated points.

More detailed report will be submitted later on.

With Prayer
Bhikkhu Sanghasena
MIMC, Ladakh.

Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre
Devachan, P.O. Box # 22, Leh - Ladakh 194101, INDIA
Ph: +91-1982-264372 Mobile: +91-9906902025, +91-9419178667

Monday, March 1, 2010

Touching lives - article from TheStar

Excerpt from "Touching lives by MAJORIE CHIEW" from this article from TheStar Monday February 22, 2010.

Far-reaching aid

The compassionate arms of volunteers reach out to the far ends of the Earth. Some 39,000m up in the Himalayas lives a small community of 400 impoverished Ladakhis at the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre in Ladakh, Kashmir, in Northern India. For 23 years, they had to rely on well water which was not available during winter. Power supply was also disrupted after a certain time at night.

“Each building had a small well for water supply. This well water was pumped up to tanks on the roof-top. However, the pipes were not winter-proof, so piped water was frozen in the winter. A tanker would make its rounds to supply water to the buildings during winter,” explains retiree Lee Keat Hin, 68.

Lee from Petaling Jaya, Selangor, had volunteered his services as project manager for a solar hot water project in Ladakh. The project was funded by an anonymous donor from Sandakan, and Malaysian volunteers readily offered their services.

“The new water supply system has an insulated 450,000-litre reservoir and insulated pipes for distributing water during winter,” says Lee.

With the installation of solar panels for the seven buildings, at a cost of RM600,000, hot water was available to the community, even during winter.

The Ladakhis were overjoyed to find water gushing out of the tap to meet their daily needs. They could enjoy hot water too, thanks to the solar hot water system.

Lee was a technical assistant with a plantation company, prior to his retirement.

In 2006, Lee was approached by a friend, Charlie Chia, 54, general manager of a property firm, for his expertise during a charity lunch. For his volunteer work in Ladakh, Lee had to forego a one-and-a-half-year contract as project manager of a new palm oil mill in Papua New Guinea.

Devachan going through a harsh winter in the desert. Thanks to a generous Malaysian donor, folks here were able to get piped water and a solar hot water system after years of depending on well water and in the winter, tanker water.

Lee’s first trip to Ladakh was in 2007. He was there for 10 days to get a feel of the place and to see if he could fit in.

“For the first two days, I was gasping for air and was advised to take it easy to allow the body to acclimatise to the high attitude,” Lee recalls.

The Ladakhis call the area surrounding the meditation centre, Devachan (which means shangri-la). Located on a sprawling 80ha of desert land, the centre has a school, hospital and guesthouse for visitors.

Devachan, an integrated community, was set up by Ven Sanghasena, a Ladakhi monk, in 1986.

“Initially, Ven Sanghasena took in 20 children, aged three to four, from poor villagers in the Himalayas to provide them with education. The young charges were housed in a small school and hostel,” says Chia.

“In 1992, the first batch of children graduated and six stayed behind to work in the school,” says Chia, who plans to revisit Devachan soon.

‘For the first two days, I was gasping for air,’ says Lee Keat Hin of his first trip to Ladakh
Lee himself has been to Ladakh thrice. His second trip was in May 2008 to implement the water and solar power project. He stayed on for four months. When he left, the reservoir was completed and water pumped into it, ready to be channelled to the buildings.

According to Lee, the reservoir of reinforced concrete was built to store water for domestic use and for irrigation of orchards. Two wells were dug to channel water to the reservoir.

Lee’s last visit in July last year was to oversee additional piping works for the solar hot water system. He was there for two months.

“It is satisfying to know that I can do my bit to benefit the folks up in the Himalayas,” says Lee.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A New Year Message by Ven. Sanghasena

Dear dhamma friends,

As the New Year is about to knock at the doors, before it enters your life, I wish you all a very good beginning of the year 2010. May it brings you all enormous joy, happiness, contentment, prosperity, good health and real peace of mind.

Dear friend, in the novel year, let our lives be;-
A source of happiness for those who are unhappy,
A source of water for the thirsty,
A source of food for the hungry,
A source of healing for those who are ill,
A source of light for those in darkness,
A source of companionship for those who are lonely,
A source of protection for those without protection,
A source of help and friendship for all in need,
A source of crutches for those with broken limbs,
A source of parental love and care for the orphaned,
A source of shelter for the homeless,
A source of asylum for those who have no safe place,
A source of warmth, of real love and compassion for those who are abandoned in the coldness of war and hatred.

May each moment of the New Year give you and your near and dear ones real happiness, real peace and real harmony.

With best wishes for a very happy and prosperous New Year 2010

Yours truly
Bhikkhu Sanghasena

Monday, August 31, 2009

Letter from Bhante Sanghasena > Search for Sis Jennie Cheong in Ladakh

Dear Charlie,

First of all please accept my sincerest condolence on the unfortunate and sudden demise of our sisters in dhamma Late Tan Guat Gnoh, Late Ang Ee Lee, Late Lee Ah Yem and our missing sister Jennie Cheong. It has shaken our consciousness and definitely all of us will take a very long time to overcome this grief. We are still in a state of shock and despair.

We are very sorry; we couldn’t share many emotions when you had to leave Ladakh with an utter sense of deprivation and sadness. When I came to see you off at the airport, my emotion charged with a great despondency. I had no words in my mind to share with you that would have equated your sadness at that moment. I still cannot believe that we are having such a harsh moment to experience. What we anticipated a pleasant trip, turned into a fearful nightmare. I am feeling deeply sorry for what has happened with our departed dhamma sisters and their grieving families.

Though we all had a tough time to live through, I deeply appreciate the state of equanimity and courage that you had maintained during that phase. You had taken more than half of my loads on your own shoulder. I shall ever remain grateful to you for your supports. I can imagine the hardships that you had to go through in the entire process. I don’t know how to thank you for all your helps, the state of mind that you maintained and the heavy responsibility that you took to manage everything in that distressed situation. Please accept many many thank from the depth of my heart.

On the 26th, 27th and 28th of this month we had arranged for a very special Puja and Merit Sharing Ceremony in our campus for our departed sisters and for sister Reena’s and the driver’s speedy recovery. A condolence meeting was also held on the 28th along with the prayer and merit sharing sessions. On the same day robes and alms bowls were offered to the members of the Sangha in the name of the departed sisters especially Sister Julie. The other gifts from the Malaysian devotees were also distributed and the merits were offered to the departed ones. We had also arranged for special Pujas in various monasteries in Ladakh for all of them. And we are praying day and night to find Sister Jennie at the earliest.

We have also decided to build a small Stupa on a very nice site in the campus in the memory of our departed sisters. Our prayers will continue for them and we do hope our sincere efforts and prayers will be answered soon.

Regarding Sister Jennie’s search operation, we had approached the top civil authorities in Ladakh to get resourceful helps from the Indian Army in the search operation. They agreed to pass on the appeal, but their response has not been as prompt as we expected. And today we have approached to them to pressurize the India Army in this regard yet again.

I have heard that the Malaysian embassy has sent an appeal letter to the Indian Ministry of Defense to render help in the search operation of Sister Jennie. I guess it would be really helpful in intensifying the operation from the Army’s side if we can get a copy of that appeal letter. Thus, I have requested Mr. Paul in this regard to try and get a copy of that letter to us.

At our own level we are trying all efforts to find Sister Jennie as soon as possible. The Mahabodhi search teams from Leh and Tingmosgang branch are continuing the search with sincere prayers and efforts. A group of 30 volunteers have spread out in various regions in search for her in the last two days but unfortunately they still couldn’t trace. Never the less the search is still on. The police from the Khalste stations are also continuing the search in all the possible areas.

The Mahadbohi Tingmosgang branch had called for an emergency meeting yesterday and they have formed a “Search Team” to intensify the search process further for the next one week. We have also sent posters of Sister Jennie, with an appeal to inform at the earliest, to Leh town and many villages, especially towards the regions where people can possibly find her.

We have also made repeated announcements in the local radio news so that more and more people can join hands with us to look for her at various places. We shall try every way out and will make all possible arrangements required in this operation.
And regarding sister Reena, we are constantly in touch with sister Bee and Mr. Sonam in Delhi to enquire about her health progress. We leant from them that Sister Reena is fine and getting better. Mr. Sonam and Gurmet are there in Delhi to give any help that she and her family require.

Yesterday the rest of the Malaysian guests left for Delhi. We were very sad that we didn’t have sweet memories to send with them. All the members of the Devachan family were really heart broken to send them with such harsh experiences. But our Malaysian friends were so encouraging and strong minded that they boosted our hopes and determinations. They also collected donations for the suffering driver and his family before leaving. It was really touching and all were moved by their gesture. I must say we really feel proud and fortunate to have such friends like you all, around us. And they also expressed that they would love to visit Ladakh and Mahabodhi again in the future. It was very kind of them to show such enthusiasm and interest in continuing the friendship and understanding with Mahabodhi. I am grateful to all the members of the Malaysian team, to have shared their emotion, wisdom and co-operation in the hour of sadness. And thank you once again for your help and concern.

I shall update you soon as things develop.

Yours in Dhamma,
Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena

Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre
Devachan, P.O. Box # 22, Leh - Ladakh 194101, INDIA
Ph: +91-1982-264372 Mobile: +91-9906902025, +91-9419178667