The renowned spiritual leader and socially engaged Buddhist monk Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena distributed prostheses and mobility aids for 1,000 people with disabilities as part of the Third Free Mobility Camp in Ladakh, northern India, earlier in June. The ceremony was co-organized by the Mahabodhi International Meditation Center (MIMC) in Leh, in collaboration with the Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust, Mumbai, and Rotary International Districts 3141 and 3070, and was attended by the lieutenant governor of Ladakh, R. K. Mathur.
“The Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC) was established in 1986, and ever since has been offering various humanitarian services and initiatives, such as education, meditation, environmental initiatives, and free medical services to the people of Ladakh,” Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena said in a message shared with BDG. “Our Mahabodhi Karuna Charitable Hospital has been rendering outstanding medical services and support, as well as organizing in-campus and mobile medical camps, free of cost, in remote areas of Ladakh.
“The MIMC and the Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust, Mumbai, have previously organized two large-scale orthopedic camps at Mahabodhi Karuna Charitable Hospital in 2012 and 2017. This year, the Third Free Mobility Camp in Ladakh was organized again at the MIMC on 12 June, with sponsorship from the Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust, and Rotary International Districts 3141 and 3070. We have joined together to distribute prostheses and aids—including leg braces, crutches, prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, and hearing aids—all free of cost to more than 1,000 patients and differently abled people.”
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).*
Lieutenant Governor Mathur expressed his appreciation for the contributions of Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena and the MIMC to disabled people in Ladakh. He also praised the MIMC for providing educational opportunities for underprivileged students from remote communities, and for founding a care home for the destitute elderly people.
In his address at the ceremony, Mathur emphasized the importance of actively accommodating and including people with disabilities and the differently abled in mainstream society. He citied efforts by the Ladakh administration and local councils to integrate children with disabilities into mainstream schools, and requested the continued support of the MIMC, as well as Rotary International and the Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust, for the benefit of all people with disabilities in Ladakh.
“During the Third Free Mobility Camp ceremony, certificates of appreciation were presented to two especially deserving MIMC students: Chunzin Angmo and Stanzin Chuskit, for their accomplishments in education and sport despite the challenges presented by their disabilities,” Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena observed.
He added: “The district governor of Rotary International District 3141 also laid the foundation stone for the Mahabodhi Himalayan High-Altitude Library. In addition, we had the temporary installation of 20,000 books donated by the Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust, Mumbai, and the inauguration of the Mahabodhi Residential School’s new library by the hands of the attending dignitaries.”
Perched high on the Tibetan Plateau, Ladakh, which translates as the Land of High Passes, became the largest union territory in India in 2019 after the government reconstituted the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. Spread across some 59,146 mountainous square kilometers, much of which is desiccated 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.”
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, among them 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.
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
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