Barinder Saluja, Chandigarh , Dec. 01 : Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre, Leh-Ladakh, one of the fastest growing NGOs in Western Himalayas, will organize an international seminar on “Resurgence of Buddhism in the land of its birth” at Indradhanush Auditorium, Sector 5, Panchkula on December 5th, 2010, where a galaxy of great personalities from India and abroad would share their wisdom. Governor of Haryana, Jagannath Pahadia will be the chief guest. A colorful cultural programme by artists from Leh-Ladakh and by delegates from Malaysia will be presented at the end of the formal inauguration.
Addressing a press conference at Chandigarh Press Club here today, Bhikkhu Sanghasena, Founder President, Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre said, “Buddhism provides a moral and ethical framework suitable for the modern times. It places responsibility for your own happiness in your hands. The seminar on Buddhism is being organize to address the various challenges of the contemporary world, and issues such as terrorism, religious fanaticism and environmental crises from Buddhists perspective.”
Mahabodhi has established the Mahabodhi Padmaloka Girls Hostel at Ramgarh, near Panchkula, where 32 girls are continuing their studies in different schools and colleges of Chandigarh. A new building is being added to accommodate around 100 girls in the future. The new hostel will be inaugurated on Dec 4 at 3.30 PM. A Meditation Centre is also located near the hostel, which will offer meditation courses and talks on various aspects of Buddhism. The 30-member cultural troupe of Mahabodhi Ladakh were also present at the press conference.
Mahabodhi provides access to higher education for bright but poor students of Ladakh. The Mahabodhi Residential School, Ladakh, where 700 students receive education, free of cost, has facilities up to 10th class. Students have to move either to Chandigarh or Jammu for further studies. Consequently there are a large number of Ladakhi students studying in Chandigarh. However, since there are no existing hostel facilities at present to accommodate these students, they are
left with no option but to hire rented rooms or stay with the local residents as paying guests.
Mahabodhi Centre, founded by Bhikkhu Sanghasena Mahathera in 1986, delivers a broad range of spiritual and humanitarian service programmes at its main campus in Ladakh. These programmes include well-established initiatives in education, social and medical welfare, environmental education and conservation, inter-faith dialogue, seminars and workshops on non-violence, peace and other ethico-spiritual programmes. It is affiliated to many reputed international organizations, such as: The World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) Bangkok; World Buddhist Sangha Council (WBSC) Taiwan; International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) Thailand; The Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA),USA; International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF), Japan; United Religions Initiative (URI), USA; and The International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), USA.
Flood Relief Project of Mahabodhi : The terrible catastrophe caused due to the cloudburst of August 6, 2010, resulted into flash flood and mudslide that devastated 34 villages in the Ladakh region, killing over 130 people and leaving over 675 families homeless. It even did not spare our organization, the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre, a known social service oriented organization.540 hectares of agricultural land were ravaged and standing crops were destroyed completely. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the majority of population. Of the total 11,000 hectares of land under agriculture in Leh, 660 hectares was severely affected by the flash-floods.
The agriculture land are either inundated or filled with mud, heavy boulders and rubbles and reduced to uncultivable for years to come. It is beyond a poor farmer’s capacity to be able to clear such heavy boulders, rubbles and the thick mud collected on his cultivated fields. The Old Aged Home, girls hostel, hospital, plantation and agricultural land at the Mahabodhi campus, have been affected. Sanghasena Mahathera along with their flood relief team, visited various flood affected areas and chalked out a strategy to help them on a long-term basis. Since Ladakhi winter starts from November and stretches till March, is of a very sever nature, with temperature dipping down to as low as -30 degrees, implementation had to start early.
Mahabodhi Cultural Troupe : The troupe has been formed in an attempt to preserve, promote and encourage the younger generations to maintain the cultural identity of their native land. It is also one of our prime endeavour to generate income for sustenance of Mahabodhi Centre as a dignified self-dependent organization. It’s functioning has been the desire to be self-sustaining and the desire to stand firmly on its own ground without regular dependence on external support. Aside from vocational training and producing products to generate income, this cultural troupe initiative has a dual purpose- income generation as
well as education to our children and to assist our students to understand their cultural identity. The troupe will also perform at the SAARC Folklore Festival, slated to start on December 3, 2010 in Chandigarh.