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Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena Attends Inauguration of New Buddhist Temple in Sri Lanka

Image courtesy of the MIMC
Image courtesy of the MIMC

The renowned Buddhist leader and socially engaged monk Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena, the founder and spiritual director of the non-profit Mahabodhi International Meditation Center (MIMC) in Ladakh, in India’s far north, on 23 February led a delegation of senior members from the MIMC’s Delhi branch to attend the inauguration of a Buddhist temple on the campus of Umandawa Global Buddhist Village in the ancient royal capital of Kurunegala, Sri Lanka. 

“Umandawa Global Village, spread over 70 acres [28 hectares] of land, is a unique village founded by the renowned visionary monk, Venerable Siri Samanthabadra Mahathero,” The MIMC announced in a message shared with BDG. “More than 100,000 people, including dignitaries such as the former president of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa and several government ministers attended the inauguration of this beautiful Buddhist temple.

“The occasion also marked the 49th birthday celebration of Ven. Siri Samanthabadra Mahathero, founder and director of Umandawa Global Buddhist Village, and the opening of a charitable hospital. Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena was guest of honor for the auspicious occasion.”

Image courtesy of the MIMC
Image courtesy of the MIMC

In his keynote speech for the occasion, Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena recalled the centuries-old cultural and religious ties between Sri Lanka and India, and expressed gratitude to the monastic and lay sangha of Sri Lanka for preserving the Buddhadharma with tireless faith and devotion. He also recalled the valuable contributions of Ven. Anagarika Dharmapala, founder of Mahabodhi Society of India, to the revival of Buddhism in India.

Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena then presented the Himalayan Triratna Award 2024 to Ven. Siri Samantabhadra Mahathero for his contributions to revitalizing Buddhism in the 21st century. 

“Umandawa Global Buddhist Village is vision conceived by Ven. Siri Samanthabhadra Arahath Thero as a haven for seekers of truth and lovers of peace,” Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena observed. “Built in harmony with nature and reminiscent of ancient Sri Lankan kingdoms, Umandawa delivers complex Buddhist teachings to both ordained monastics and laypeople in a simple and practical manner for their total physical, mental, spiritual, psychological health and happiness.”

Image courtesy of the MIMC
Image courtesy of the MIMC

The MIMC and Umandawa Global Buddhist Village also signed an MOU, agreeing to undertake joint activities and programs dedicated to the promotion of cultural ties, mahakaruna meditation, yoga, world peace, and right livelihood initiatives.

Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena and the MIMC delegation also visited the Buddha’s Tooth Relic Temple and Museum in Kandy, and attended a private audience with His Holiness Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thero, supreme head of the  Malwatta Chapter of the Siam Nikaya Order, to discuss the revival of Buddhism in India and the unprecedented challenges facing 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.

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).

Image courtesy of the MIMC
Image courtesy of the MIMC

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.*

* Work, Walk, and Pray for Peace: Bhikkhu Sanghasena Undertakes Peace Pilgrimage in Ladakh (BDG) and Buddhist Monk Bhikkhu Sanghasena Urges Peaceful Resolution amid Sino-Indian Border Tensions (BDG)

See more

Mahabodhi International Meditation Center
Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre – MIMC (Facebook)
Bhikkhu Sanghasena
Bhikkhu Sanghasena (Facebook)
Mahakaruna Foundation
Save the Himalayas Foundation
Umandawa Global Buddhist Village 
International Network of Engaged Buddhists

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