The renowned spiritual leader and socially engaged Buddhist Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena led observations to celebrate Mahakaruna Diwas (Great Compassion Day) 2024 in New Delhi on Sunday. The program, held annually, launched 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.
Mahakaruna Diwas 2024 was jointly organized by the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC) in Ladakh, the Mahakaruna Foundation, Delhi, and Adhyatm Sadhna Kendra, Delhi. Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena is the spiritual director of the non-profit Mahabodhi International Meditation Center 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).
“This magnificent event was graced by many spiritual luminaries, representing the major religions of the world—Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism,” the MIMC shared with BDG. “Several ambassadors from various countries were also in attendance, as well as eminent scholars and educators, including Dr. Priyaranjan Trivedi and Dr. Sandeep Marwah, alongside a number of notable peace activists and advocators of the power of mahakaruna—Great Compassion.”
The day’s program began with the lighting of a holy lamp by the spiritual masters in attendance, followed by prayers for world peace, chanted by the venerable monastics attending from Vietnam. More than 400 people attended the celebration, including a large number of male and female Buddhist monastics from various Buddhist countries, including India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“All were united by a single intention to display, as well as communicate, the radically transformative power of compassion in a world beset by so much suffering, both natural and that inflicted as a result of the greed, hatred, and delusion of so much of humankind,” the MIMC noted. “Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena, himself, appealed to all those present to join together to work in partnership to carry the ancient wisdom teachings and practices of India—mahakaruna, ahimsa, maitri, meditation, yoga, and vasudhaiva kutumbakam (Skt. “The World Is One Family”)—to every corner of the world.”
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 the region.
During Sunday’s proceedings, Mahakaruna 2024 Awards for World Peace were conferred on more than 30 distinguished peace activists, educators, and advocates of mahakaruna. VBS Young Embodiment of Compassion in Education Awards 2024 were also presented to students from various schools in Delhi.
The occasion also witnessed the launch of a 640-page book titled Mahakaruna: A Holistic Movement for Global Peace through Compassion in Action, co-authored by Dr. P. R. Trivedi and Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena.
“This book, a long-cherished dream of Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena, is a cause for great personal gratitude toward Chancellor Dr. P. R. Trivedi, who contributed so enormously and entirely selflessly in its preparation and final publication,” the MIMC explained. “And it is now hoped that it will be used as text book in many universities and educational institutions.”
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 observed. “Through Mahakaruna Diwas, 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.”
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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