Pioneering Peace, Cultural and Humanitarian Achievements of Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena
- 1986Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena founded the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC) in Leh, Ladakh.
- 1991Established the Mahabodhi Devachan campus on 200 acres of barren and isolated land in Choglamsar, approximately 10 kilometres away from Leh town.
- 1991Established the Mahabodhi Girls Hostel, a pioneering project providing holistic education and a safe home environment for under-privileged girls from remote homesteads scattered across Ladakh.
- 1992Established the Mahabodhi Residential School, dedicated to providing high quality holistic education aimed at eradicating illiteracy and poverty across the region. This school is now providing High School level education to some 600 students.
- 1992Established the Mahabodhi Meditation Centre, dedicated to promoting physical and mental well-being, social harmony and world peace.
- 1992Established the Mahabodhi Charitable Hospital - the first non-governmental hospital in Ladakh - dedicated to providing healthcare and support for under-privileged patients through a purpose-built and well-equipped 50 bed hospital.
- 1992Started the Mahabodhi Green Project, under which tens of thousands of trees have been planted on the once barren and isolated land at Mahabodhi Devachan.
- 1993Established the Mahabodhi Mobile Health Clinic, dedicated to providing regular healthcare and dental visits for communities in remote and previously inaccessible areas.
- 1995Hosted the International Sakyadhita Conference on Buddhist Women in Ladakh. Gyalmo Deskit (Her Highness the Queen of Ladakh) and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche (Supreme Head of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism) were the principal guests. Many eminent Buddhist women, nuns, teachers, leaders and thinkers of different Buddhist traditions and sects from all over the world participated in this historic gathering. This conference was of great significance in working toward improving the education, life standards and status, and general recognition of the Bhikkhuni ordination of nuns and women in Ladakh.
- 1996With the generous support of friends and well-wishers from Taiwan, organised a grand Sangha Dana - offering the monastic requisites to some 6,000 monks and nuns from across Ladakh. This offering was the first of its kind in Ladakh. His Holiness the Sakya Trizin Rinpoche (Supreme Head of the Sakya Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism), all the Supreme Heads of the different Buddhist sects of Ladakh, the President of the Ladakh Buddhist Association, the President of the Ladakh Monastery (Gompa) Association, and the Chief Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) were present, as well as many other local and international dignitaries.
- 1996Established the Mahabodhi Boys Hostel, dedicated to providing holistic education and a safe home environment for under-privileged boys from remote homesteads scattered across Ladakh. At present, there are some 150 boys living in this hostel.
- 1996Established the Mahabodhi New Delhi Branch.
- 1997Established the Mahabodhi Nunnery, a truly pioneering project dedicated to providing a fully integrated and holistic education for young nuns.
- July 1998In collaboration with the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF), based in the UK, organized a 3-day international conference for young adults of different faiths to promote inter-religious harmony, peaceful co-existence and brotherhood. Many delegates, drawn from different parts of India and overseas, participated in this important conference. All the religious heads of the various denominations of Ladakh attended and participated in the event. Dr. Karan Singh (Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Department and India’s Ambassador to UNESCO) was the chief guest. The participants visited various religious places (a Buddhist temple, a mosque, a church and a Gurudwara) in Ladakh, with the intention of building greater understanding and mutual trust between the participants.
- 1999Founded the Mahabodhi Branch School in Tingmosgang village, dedicated to providing high-quality holistic education to students in this remote rural location, where at present some 150 students attend each day.
- Since 2001 scores of Mahabodhi Residential School graduates have travelled to Bangalore,
South India to pursue their higher education studies with the ongoing encouragement and support of the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre.
- 2002Constituted the "Acharya Buddharakkhita Humanitarian Award" - awarded to those noble citizens, whose service to the poorest and most marginalized communities warrants both praise and recognition. The late Kushok Bakula Rinpoche (Head Lama of Ladakh), Shri. Thupstan Tsewang (Former Honourable Member of Parliament for Ladakh), Shri. B.K. Modi (Chairman and Founder of Spice Global India) & Lamdon Social Welfare, Leh are amongst the list of award recipients.
- 2003Established the Mahabodhi Home for the Aged and Destitute, a pioneering project dedicated to providing a safe residential home, personal and social care, and respect for the most vulnerable members of Ladakhi society.
- 2004Established the Mahabodhi Jetavana Monastery, dedicated to providing both traditional spiritual and modern-based education to young monks.
- Since 1996Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena has been an active member of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) and the International Association of Liberal Religious Women(IALRW), actively participating in their conferences in Italy, Hungary, South Korea and various parts of India. Besides this, he has also organised various interfaith meetings, seminars and dialogues aimed at promoting greater understanding and peace throughout the region.
- 2005Organised an international Grand Buddha Jayanti Celebration to commemorate the 2550th Buddha's birthday, at which Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (His Excellency the then President of India), Lt Gen. S.K. Sinha (the then Honourable Governor of Jammu & Kashmir), Shri. Ghulam Nabi Azad (the then Honourable Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir) were present. Many eminent dignitaries from different countries, as well as monks and nuns, participated in this week long celebration. Street campaigns advocating the eradication of animal abuse, alcohol, cigarette smoking and the taking of other intoxicating materials were organised. In addition, a large-scale peace march was organised.
- 2005Established the Mahabodhi Elder Women's Literacy Programme, dedicated to providing basic education and empowerment for elderly women across the Ladakh region.
- 2005Established the first school and hostel for blind and visually-impaired students in Ladakh, which was inaugurated by His Excellency Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (the then President of India), in the presence of His Excellency the Governor and the Honourable Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
- 2006Established the Mahabodhi Branch School in Bodhkharbu, dedicated to providing high quality holistic education for students living in this remote and under-developed village in the Kargil district of Ladakh.
- 2007Established the Mahabodhi Vocational Training Programme, a pioneering project dedicated to providing a practical vocational platform for school drop-outs, enabling them to develop and exhibit their talents in music, traditional woodcarving and painting, as well as providing them with a vital means of generating income.
- 2008Established the Mahabodhi Branch in Jammu district, dedicated to fostering and promoting social and mental harmony, as well as world peace.
- September 2008Organised a 5-day international youth Sangha conference in association with the World Buddhist Sangha Council, whereupon representatives of the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions from different countries, including Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and India, came together in order to promote greater understanding, universal brotherhood and world peace.
- 2010In collaboration with the Museum of World Religions, based in Taiwan, organised a 3-day International Buddhist Muslim Dialogue Conference in order to promote greater peace, harmony and friendship between the two most populous religions of Ladakh. His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa Rinpoche (Supreme Head of the Drukpa Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism), Shri. Nawang Rigzen Jora (Honourable Minister for Tourism and Culture, Jammu & Kashmir), Maulana Umair Ahmed Ilyasi, President, (All India Organisations of Imams of Mosques, New Delhi,) the President of the Ladakh Buddhist Association, the President of Anjuman Imamia, Leh, President Moin - ul- Islam, Leh, Shri. Asgar Ali Karbalai (Former Chief Executive Councillor, Kargil, LAHDC) and many other important dignitaries from the United States, Germany, Malaysia, Taiwan, France, Sri Lanka and India participated in this historic event. The students of various schools actively participated in this dialogue. Following this, all the participants visited and paid obeisance at the Leh Main Buddhist Temple, Leh Jamia Masjid, Leh Imambara and Imambara at Shey village.
- 2010Established the Mahabodhi Meditation Centre Branch in Chandigarh, dedicated to promoting social and mental harmony, and world peace.
- 2010Established the Mahabodhi Girls Hostel in Chandigarh, wherein 100 female students can be accommodated in a safe home environment where they can concentrate on their higher education studies.
Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena has distinguished himself as both a charismatic and highly energetic social and spiritual worker over the years.
He has also received several awards and certificates fro
- In public recognition of his selfless service to society, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, presented him with the "National Award for the Welfare of People with Disabilities" in 2000.
- The Gandhi Peace Foundation, India, honoured him with its prestigious "World Peace Award for the Year 2004" in recognition of his work for world peace, interfaith service and inter-religious harmony.
- In 1999, his name was included in the prestigious book "Marquis' Who's Who". "Marquis' Who's Who" believes men and women around the globe whose achievements influence people of today are worthy of permanent record.
- The American Biographical Institute recognised Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena as its "Man of the Year 2002".
- He was nominated as the Chancellor of the International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), based in Huntsville, USA, for the Jammu and Kashmir State Chapter, India.
- On the occasion of the United Nations "World Environment Day, Third World Congress", which was held in Verbania, Italy, in 2005, the "Peace Environment Award" was presented to Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena in recognition of his invaluable contribution to a "culture of peace through education and international friendship".
- The International Centre for Advanced Studies and Research in Global Environment and International Institute of Ecology and Environment, Delhi has also appointed Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena as their Global Ambassador and Regional Director.
- The Ladakh Buddhist Association presented the "Bharat Ratna Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar Award 2009" to Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena in recognition of his invaluable humanitarian and benevolent service to the needy people of Ladakh.
- The Ashwagosha Buddhist Foundation, based in Nagpur, India, presented the "Sakyamuni Buddha International Award 2009" to Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena.
- The Dharma Buddhist University of Malaysia conferred their Honourary Degree of the Doctorate of Philosophy to Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena in 2009.
- More recently, on the occasion of the "World Management Congress", Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena was awarded with the "Lifetime Achievement Award" in the area of spirituality and religious studies, which was jointly constituted and awarded by the International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP) (affiliated to the United Nations), based in the USA, the Global Open University Nagaland, Confederation of Indian Universities, the Educational Standards and Testing Council of India at the India International Centre, New Delhi on 30th -31st Dec, 2010.
For the past 25 years Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena has travelled extensively, visiting many countries around the world, to share the Buddha-dhamma through numerous international conferences, seminars and workshops. In particular, he has made many regular visits to the USA, Canada, Brazil, Australia, the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Israel, Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and several parts of India.
Wherever he goes, and whomever he meets, Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena urges all to promote cultural and spiritual values, literacy, environmental protection, non-violence, inter-religious harmony and peaceful co-existence, the concept of a single global village and world peace. He actively supports the elevation of the status of women, the provision of compassionate care and support for poverty-stricken people, and raises his voice against destructive armaments, degradation of the environment and ecology, human injustice, consumerism, economic imbalance and racism.
Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena has devoted his adult life to the service of mankind through a number of national and international organisations, holding the following positions:
- Founder/President, Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC), Leh, Ladakh, India
- Former Council Member, International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF), UK
- Chairman, United Religious Initiative, Ladakh Branch
- President, International Association for Religious Freedom, Ladakh Chapter
- Member of the Board of Directors, Buddha's Light International Association (BLIA), Los Angeles, USA & Taiwan
- Former Vice President, World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth, Bangkok, Thailand
- Advisor, International Association for Engaged Buddhists (INEB), Thailand
- Executive Member, World Buddhist Sangha Council, Taipei, Taiwan
- Chancellor, International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), Huntsville, USA, Jammu and Kashmir State Chapter, India
- Governing Body Member, Nava Nalanda Deem University, Bihar, India
- Patron, Kampus OnlineTM IGNOU Virtual Community College, New Delhi, India