The renowned spiritual leader and socially engaged Buddhist monk Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena recently published a new book of Buddhist sayings and wisdom teachings titled Echoes from Shangri-La, published by the Mahabodhi International Meditation Center in Ladakh, northern India.
Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena is the spiritual director of the non-profit Mahabodhi International Meditation Center (MIMC) in Leh, Ladakh. He is also the founder of the Mahakaruna Foundation, the Save the Himalayas Foundation, and a spiritual advisor to the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB).*
“This small book contains the thoughts, views, and wisdom of Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena on various aspects of life, Buddhist practice, and the world around us,” an MIMC representative shared with BDG. “This small, 42-page book contains many short sayings on different aspects of life accompanied by intimate images of life and Buddhism in the remote Himalayas. These words come from Bhikkhu’s years of Buddhist practice and his long and intensive search for meaning and ultimate truth.”
Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena founded the Mahabodhi International Meditation Center (MIMC) in Leh, the joint capital of Ladakh, in 1986. He has since become an exemplar of socially engaged Buddhism, launching numerous projects, events, and initiatives. His outreach work includes providing educational opportunities and refuge for underprivileged children, empowerment and literacy programs for women and other socially disadvantaged groups, healthcare for the sick and needy, and a care home for the aged and destitute. The MIMC has evolved into an expanding campus that has become a hub for a multitude of socio-cultural and community programs in India’s far north.
In addition to integrating spiritual development and human welfare, Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena and the MIMC are also closely involved in peace-building and inter-faith dialogues, environmental conservation activities, and in promoting Buddhist and Himalayan cultural heritage through national and international festivals. Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena has traveled extensively to participate international conferences, seminars, and workshops to promote spiritual and cultural values, environmental awareness, non-violence and world peace, and elevating the status of women in society—especially those from underprivileged communities.
Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena is also the author of Climate Change and the Himalayas and Religion and Science, among other titles. The beautiful collection of images and Buddhist wisdom gathered in Echoes from Shangri-La is are available from the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre in Leh, Ladakh, along with Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena’s other books.
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Meditation is experiencing buddhahood within oneself. Compassion is radiating the fragrance of that buddhahood in all directions, for the benefit of all.(Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena)
Perched high on the Tibetan Plateau, Ladakh, which translates as the Land of High Passes, extends from the mountains of the Himalaya to the Kunlun Range and includes the upper valley of the Indus River. Much of the region stands at elevations in excess of 3,000 meters. In 2019, Ladakh became the largest union territory in India after the government reconstituted the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.*** Spread across more than 59,000 mountainous square kilometers, much of which is arid and inhospitable, the culture and history of Ladakh is closely interwoven with that of Tibet—so much so that Ladakh is sometimes known as “Little Tibet.”
Ladakh’s population is divided between the districts of Leh and Kargil. In Kargil, 76.9 per cent of a population of about of 140,800 are Muslims (mostly Shia), according to census data for 2011, while in Leh, 66.40 per cent of a population of roughly 133,500 are Buddhists, the majority of whom practice Tibetan Buddhism. Overall, Muslims account for 46.4 per cent of Ladakh’s populace, while Buddhists make up 39.7 per cent, according to the same data. Hinduism represents 12 per cent, and Sikhism, Christianity, and other religions each stand at less than 1 per cent.
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