The renowned spiritual leader and socially engaged Buddhist Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena has announced plans to celebrate Mahakaruna Diwas 2023 (great compassion day of celebration). The annual program, which begins on 7 January, will launch a series of events and initiatives in India and internationally aimed at sharing the Buddha’s timeless wisdom and teaching of compassion for the benefit of all beings.
“Although we are still finalizing some parts of the program, this year we are planning and hoping to hold this program on a bigger scale than before—with events in in India during January and February, in Thailand and Malaysia during March, and in Germany during April,” Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena told BDG.
Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena is the spiritual director of the non-profit Mahabodhi International Meditation Center (MIMC) in Ladakh, in India’s far north. 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).
“Compassion is a concept that has been spoken of for centuries, and over the past three years in particular, compassion has shown itself to be the most effective and necessary healer and therapy for our afflicted world,” Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena explained. “From 7 January onward, we are firmly committed to daily revisiting and reaffirming our guiding principal of ‘Compassion in Action.’ We wish for this Mahakaruna Diwas to be a guiding light, freeing all beings from unwarranted suffering. I sincerely pray and hope for all to be a part of Mahakaruna Diwas 2023 and for the light of love and compassion to shine brightly in the hearts and minds of all people, dispelling darkness across the globe.”
Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena founded the Mahabodhi International Meditation Center in Leh, the joint capital of Ladakh, in 1986. He has since become an exemplar of socially engaged Buddhism in the region, launching numerous humanitarian 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’s expanding campus has evolved into a hub for a multitude of socio-cultural and community programs in India’s far north.
“While we live in this world, we are bound to encounter many challenges and obstacles—as we have experience over the past three years with the global COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the MIMC has always held mahakaruna at the core of its social, spiritual, and humanitarian activities,” Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena emphasized. “This practice eventually took on a more formal and recognizable shape by scheduling Mahakaruna Diwas on 7 January each year to focus on magnifying the amplitude and reach of our endeavors to promote peace worldwide for all sentient beings. Through this journey of compassion, we strive to realize, personally and collectively, the guiding principal of great compassion as taught by the historical Buddha.”
The MIMC has previously organized numerous well-received “Mahakaruna – Compassion in Action” events in cities across India as well as in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and in Europe. Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena has also petitioned the United Nations to recognize Mahakaruna Diwas as the Global Day of Compassion In Action.
In addition to integrating spiritual development and human welfare, Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena and the MIMC are also closely involved in peace-building and interfaith dialogue, environmental conservation, 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.
In 2021, Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena led a team from the MIMC on a humanitarian relief mission to the border regions of Ladakh, offering material COVID-19 relief as well as much-needed emotional and spiritual counseling for local residents who were living in fear during the dual crises of the pandemic and the military-led border standoff between Indian and Chinese troops. The same team also led a peace campaign in the conflict zone, appealing to the two nations not to resort to violence, but to resolve the standoff through peaceful means.*
“Mahakaruna is a fully embodied, highly engaged, and socially transformative program for addressing the many challenges and crises facing our world today—from sectarianism, violence, poverty, hunger, disease, and environmental degradation to unchecked consumerism,” Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena concluded. “Through Mahakaruna Diwas 2023, we aim to raise public awareness and recognize the priceless value of all life, demonstrate the power of gratitude and compassion, and how this can profoundly benefit humanity and our planet. Therefore we appeal to all to be a part of this auspicious program, whether in body, mind, or spirit. In order to help us conduct this ambitious program of events, we humbly appeal to you for any for or donation or support to manifest our dream of Universal Compassion in Action.”
International donations for the MIMC can be made to:
Bank Name: State Bank of India
Account Name: Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre
Account No: 40084614732
Branch Code: 00691
Address:FCRA Cell, 4th Floor, State Bank of India, New Delhi, Main Branch, 11 Sansad Marg, New Delhi, 110001
FCRA No.: 152710017
Donations within India can be made to:
Bank name: State Bank of India
Account Name: Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre
Account No.: 10942164077
Account Type: Savings
IFSC CODE: SBIN0001365
For more information
Email: [email protected]
Mahabodhi International Meditation Center
Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre – MIMC (Facebook)
Bhikkhu Sanghasena (Facebook)
Save the Himalayas Foundation
International Network of Engaged Buddhists
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