From ground breaking to grand opening of Bouddha Dharamapithamu

Preamble

The date November 19th 2017 marked a historical milestone in the revival and spread of Buddhism in Southern India where a Buddhist Centre, Bouddha Dharamapithamu at Undrajavaram, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh was completed after three and the half years of laborious work in its construction.

The construction of the Bouddha Dharamapithamu kick started with the foundation stone-laying ceremony on May 24th 2015 witnessed by many local and foreign monks, nuns, dignitaries and guests on this noble and auspicious event.

In order to maximise optimal usage of the Bouddha Dharamapithamu a soft opening ceremony was held on January 16th 2016 when the building was partially completed with two stories ready for occupancy. Six samanaras were adopted to provide linage to keep Buddhism alive in the Southern India vide this Centre. Today it has a total of thirteen samanaras.

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The thirteen samanaras on campaign trail for the opening ceremony of the Centre.

The cumulation of the preceding events climaxed with the grand opening of the Bouddha Dharamapithamu, which incidentally is also the tallest building in the vicinity, serves as a beacon in the propagation of Buddhism in this region of the country.

 It also serves as a resource centre for research and academic pursuits for scholars.  Ironically, Buddhism originated in India some 2500 years ago had somewhat evaporated for the country of birth but flourished in many nations overseas. It is indeed a noble cause that could not come at a more opportune time for the establishment of the Centre for the revival of Buddhism. 

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Archway of glistering lights leading to the Boduddha Dharamapithaum for its grand opening ceremony.

The Visitors

The main group from Singapore departed on November 17th 2017 comprised of nineteen personal viz: four sangha members and fifteen devotees and well-wishers graced the occasion. Ajahn Keng, Bhante Cakkapala,  Bhante Dhammajothy and Bhikkku Lee were among the entourage by invitation.

The complete group of devotees and well-wishers from Singapore were Catherine Wong, Chin Kee Thou, Christine Chew, Cynthia Tan, Doris Yip, Fiona Liu, Goh Swee Pheng, Hing Seng Huat, Lim Hock Kee, Lim Soo Huang, Maggie Tai, Raymond Yow, Sue Simon, Susan Yap, Susie Lee, Tham Chee Keong, Upekkha Chin, Yong Wee Siong and Zhang Yuxian.

The list of the sangha who spells who and who were:

Ajahn Keng from Singapore; Bhante Cakkapala from Myanmar; Bhante Dhammajoti from Sri Lanka; Bhante Khemacara from India; Bhante Kusalananda from Sri Lanka; Bhante Rathanajoti from Sri Lanka; Bhante Saddhananda from Sir Lanka; Bhikkhu Lee from Malaysia; Bhikkhuni Dhammacarini and Bhikkhuni Thitacarini from Indonesia; Bhikkhuni Nguyen Thi Truc Ly from Vietnam and Venerable Hsueh Men from Singapore; with about 100 Sangha studying at Nagasena University attended event.

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Visiting delegation from Singapore.

Advance party

Brothers Raymond Yow, Hing Sing Huat, Goh Swee Pheng and I arrived on November 16th assisted and oversaw the preparation for this grandiose event working in collaboration with the working committee under the charge of Bhante Analayo. Brother Raymond the team leader with a game plan conferred with him on the ritual and ceremonial aspects like sitting position of the sangha on stage for the sanghika dana, procedure for offerings to the Buddha like water, light and fruits by selected lady devotees and selection of monks for delivering of speech.  A rehearsal was held to ensure proper and timely execution of the tasks.

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Raymond Yow and Hing conferred with Bhante Analayo the game plan with members of the local working committee ….

 

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… and execution of the game plan with the contractor.

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Briefing and rehearsal for lady devotees for presentation of offerings to the Buddha

A large turnout

An estimated turnout of about 5000 well-wishers and visitors was envisaged, called for set up  of a large tentage and marquee pitched on the vacant land adjacent to the Centre to accommodate the congregation together with a stage for sanghika dana for 47 monks and nuns.

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A large teenage pitched outside the Centre that held a crowd of 5000 …

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… and a stage for 47 monks and nuns for sanghika dana.

 

Campaign trails

The preceding two days to the grandiose event were campaign trails by monks, nuns and samanaras, led by a bajaj (Indian three wheel tricycle) decorated with banner on each side pitched with two loudhailers on its roof, blasted away and broadcasted the event as they meandered through selected route of roads, allays and lanes to the villagers and residents within the vicinity of the Centre which is about five kilometres in radius.

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Bajaj decorated with banner on each side led the way in the campaign trails pitched with two loudhailers on its roof blasted away broadcasts.

The processions with flag bearing supporters distributed flyers to passers-by, cyclists, motorcyclists, shopkeepers, stallholders and even delivered to their homes. The campaign trial listed for about three hours per trip on each day.

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The procession comprised of monks, nuns, samanaras, supporters, well-wishers and flag bearer distributed flyers along the selected route.

Distribution of flyers

Vernacular press

On the eve of the auspicious day the press called upon the host and selected representatives for an interview and the news items were reported in the vernacular press.

Press interview with the host, Bhante Analayo …

… and team leader from the Singapore delegation, Raymond Yow.

Pindapata or Alms round

The grandiose event started at six o’clock in the morning with a procession of sangha order comprised of monks, nuns and samanaras in a single file formation, led by the most senior monk in term of the number of vasa, went for alms round or pindapata, flanked on both sides by devotees and flag bearers dressed in all white travelled along the rehearsed route.

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Sangha order readied for alms round flanked on both sides by devotees in all-white attire awaited for the signal to proceed.

 

Two set up distribution points

There were two setup distribution points where devotees and well-wishers offered alms or dana to the sangha as they passed by, mindfully dropped them in the alms bowl of each sangha member and samanara.  “In giving food, one gives five things. What five? One gives life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence.  And in giving these things, one partakes in the qualities of life, beauty, happiness, strength intelligence, both here and hereafter.” (A.III,42).

Pindapata

Alms giving in progress.

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“In giving food, one gives five things. What five? One gives life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence. And in giving these things, one partakes in the qualities of life, beauty, happiness, strength intelligence, both here and hereafter.” (A.III,42).

The alms-gathers on their way back were welcome by devotees and well-wishers who lined the walkway of the Centre and sprinkled corollas at the feet as they walked pass and then headed to the washing point had their feet washed and dried before headed for the stage set up for the sanghika dana. 

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Devotees and well-wishers sprinkled corollas at the feet of the sangha as they walked by …

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: … had their feet washed and dried before going up the stage for sanghika dana.

Grand Opening and Consecration ceremonies

The opening ceremony was initiated by Madam Chitturi Usha Rani of the Hotel Chitturi Heritage symbolically cut the blue ribbon attached across the main gate and declared open the Centre while the crowd watched enthusiastically.

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VIP Madam Chitturi Usha Rani of the Hotel Chitturi Heritage flanked by Raymond (left) and Hing (right) who would officiate the opening of the Centre.

Simultaneously on the fourth-storey the Dhamma Hall with the newly installed five-foot marble image of the Buddha from Mandalay was consecrated by the lighting the oil lamp performed by Ajahn Keng, Bhante Dhammajoti, Bhante Khemacaea and Bhante Rathanajoti.  

Dhamma Hall

The consecration of the Dhamma Hall attended by selected local congregators. The entourage from Singapore in full attendance was among them to witness the occasion. 

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Full entourage from Singapore among the congregators witnessed the event …

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… with live telecast of the event to the viewers in the tentage in progress.

Commendable speeches were eloquently delivered by the monks in commemoration of the event which was telecasted live on a gigantic led screen to the congregators under the tentage.

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Monks delivered commendable speeches in commemoration of the event.

Conducted tour of the Centre

The newly completed Bouddha Dharamapithamu serves as a beacon in the propagation of Buddhism and a resource centre for research and academic pursuit.

A conducted tour of the Centre was conducted on November 20th for the entourage of the completed building consists of four storeys and a roof garden.  The first storey or ground floor (colonial inheritance) is the kitchen, dining hall cum visitor lounge and administrative office.

 On the second storey is a small theatre with a wall mount television console, the library and a shrine hall. As the Centre is designated to be a centre of learning and research the collection of books will stage to grow with time to be as comprehensive as possible.

The Library

On the third storey are the guest rooms and dormitory for the samanaras, is a restricted area with a gate which is out of bounds to visitors

The fourth storey is the Dhamma Hall and gallery cum museum.

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Visitors to the gallery cum museum.

What a splendid gift!

The funds for the Centre were contributed by donors from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia; and Singapore – the main benefactor.  It is indeed a noble deed of the incumbents to emulate the great deed of Anăthapindika who purchased Jetavana Grove from Prince Jeta with a handsome price of the number of gold coins that covered the park.  A monastery was built upon the land as a gift to Lord Buddha who spent twenty four raining seasons at the Jetavana Monastery. Although the benefactors’ infinitesimal deed paled in comparison to the gift of Anăthapindika, it is still a meritorious deed and even more magnanimous vis-a-vis in wealth.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

 Contributor: Chin Kee Thou

Date: December 4th 2017

 Readers are cordially invited to visit The Gallery to view more photos.  You may download any photo you desired for keepsake.

Contents, photos and video clip by contributor who takes responsibility for any advertence, factual or otherwise.

 

 

 

   

 

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“Three types of happiness” by Bhante Cakkapala – an audio recording

This last Dhamma talk for the year 2017 delivered by Bhante Cakkapala appropriately wrapped up the Dhamma Talk series organised by the MV Dhamma Fellowship (MVDF) under the Buddhism in Daily Life programme in Buddhist studies held on Monday.

Incidentally, Bhante Cakkapala is also the spiritual advisor of the MVDF and sometimes teacher for the Monday class.

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Bhante Cakkapala, spiritual advisor to MVDF and sometimes teacher for Monday class, elucidating a point.

The rain did not deter or dampen the spirit as there was a reasonable good turnout of about of 90 participants, who braved the cold and wet weather to attend the talk, diligent in their practice and not in idleness.  ““There are these six dangers attached to idleness: Thinking: “It’s too cold”, one does work; thinking “it is too hot”, one does not work; thinking: It’s too early”, one does not work;   think: “It’s too late”, one does not work”; thinking: “I’m too hungry”, one does not work; thinking: “I’m too full”, one does not work.”” (D ii, 148).

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The cold and wet weather did not deter or dampen the spirit to attend.

As usual the questions and answers session from active participants seeking clarification and raising moot point with the speaker who provided enlightening answers.

Q and A session

Questions from the floor …

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… with enlightening answers from the speaker, Bhante Cakkapala.

Propagation of the Dhamma knows no boundary and does not restricted to any medium or platform: be it in the classroom as formal instruction or virtual class vide the internet or digital media.

Thus this recording is for those who could not attend the talk for whatever reason and yet wish to listen and benefit from it as “There are beings with little dust on their eyes who are perishing through not hearing the Dhamma: they will become knowers of Dhamma.(DN ii, 48)

It is indeed a noble cause to bring the Dhamma to them as “the gift of the Dhamma excels all other gifts”. (Dhammapada 354)

The session ended with a closing address by Sister Lily Chan of the Education Committee, gave thanks to all the participants not only for the Dhamma talk but the support throughout the year for the Buddhism in Daly Life class and welcomed them to the new class to commence on January 18th 2018. She also welcomed them to visit the MVDF webpage for updates and all its activities.

Sister Lily Chan, Education Committee gave the closing address with Bhante Cakkapala behind.

 You may wish to mark your calendar and make a date on January 8th 2018 the next and first Dhamma talk for the New Year 2018. The Photo Gallery is opened for you to view more pictures and you may download any photo that you desired.

Contributors:

Contents and photo: Chin Kee Thou

Audio recording: Chin Kee Thou assisted by David Chua and Chan May Wan

Date: October 31st 2017

The contributors jointly and severally take responsibility for any inadvertence factual or otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

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“Mindfulness in Daily Life” by Venerable Seelananda

To sustain the continuity of the interest of the ever popular Dhamma talks organised by Buddhism in Daily Life under its Dhamma Talk series, has scheduled a new talk on 8th January 2018 “Mindfulness in Daily Life” by Venerable Seelananda, even before the closing of the year 2017 with its last talk on 30th October by Bhante Cakkapala.

Do mark your calendar and make a date on January 8th 2018 learn how to cultivate mindfulness and also a reminder for the finale event for the current year on October 30th 2017 .

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All are welcome

Submitted by: Chin Kee Thou

Date: October 20th 2017.

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“Should Buddhists be conservative?” by Venerable Kanugoile Rathanasara – An audio recording

At the invitation of the MV Dhamma Fellowship, Venerable Kanugoile Rathanasara delivered a talk on October 2nd 2017 organised by Buddhism in Daily Life under its series of Dhamma talk entitled “Should Buddhists be conservative?” at the Chew Quee Neo Hall which was also the penultimate talk for the current year.

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Bhante Kanugolie Rathanasara, an eloquent speaker in action.

His reputation as an eloquent speaker is no stranger to the Buddhist commune; and as with his previous talks held here attracted a reasonable large crowd.

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A reasonable good turn up for Bhante …

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… with the attendees listened attentively to his talk.

Questions and answers session

There was a good response and active participation during the questions and answers session. An enthusiastic participant engaged in sparring with the speaker and also a weigh in support from the floor expressed his view and stance in support of the speaker.

Q n A Dhamma Talk Oct 2 17

Audio recording clip

As with all the other Dhamma talks held here and for the benefit of those who could not attend the session this audio recording is embedded for your listening pleasure and also for those attendees who may wish to listen to it again.

The session ended at about 9:15 pm with the dedication and sharing of merits recitation conducted by Bhante.

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Dedication and sharing of merits.

The gift of the Dhamma excels all other gifts, the flavour of the Dhamma excels all other flavours. (Dhp 354)

You are cordially invited to visit The Photo Gallery to view more photos.

Do mark your calendar and keep a date for the last Dhamma Talk of the year on October 30th 2017.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Contributors:

Content and photos by Chin Kee Thou

Audio recording by Chin Kee Thou assisted by David Chau and Chan May Wan

The contributors collectively take responsibility for any inadvertence factual or otherwise.

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The Community Outreach programme celebrates Mid-Autumn festival (中秋节) with senior citizens of Eunos Crescent

The MV Dhamma Fellowship on October 1st 2017 brought joy and celebrated 中秋节 (Mid-Autumn festival) which falls on October 4th 2017 with the senior citizens at Eunos Crescent vide its Community Outreach programme.

The group congregated at Mangala Vihara (Buddhist Temple) posed for a group photograph with Bhante Cakkapala, religious advisor, before dispersal to visit the chosen families.

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Group photo with our religious advisor, Bhante Cakapala

The true nature of annica

Realising the philosophy of Buddhism in a nutshell is annica, dukkha and annata.  It is the intrinsic nature of impermanence that is the reality of life as everything changes by the seconds and minutes. So is the nature of this Community Outreach programme that imperatively faces changes as well, which debuted in 2011.

The Community Outreach programme kick started with visits to half a dozen of families has somewhat dwindled to three families due to the inevitable attrition like old age, illness and death.

Since its inception in 2011 and over the years, three deaths had occurred and currently three senior citizens who are afflicted with ageing ailments, chronic illness and infirmity have been admitted to nursing homes.

Festive goodies

As usual during this visit to the three families we showered them with festive season goodies like multi-flavour moon cakes and pomelo; beverages like high calcium milk powder fortified with omega 3 & 6, coffee bags, Milo, instant oat cereal, instant mixed brown rice and oat and assorted biscuits.

Household items like toothpaste and tooth brush, medicated plaster and medicated cream for muscle ache.

Visit to nursing home

We have not forgotten a Mr Gan, former resident who is admitted to the All Saints Home in Tampines and three volunteers: Brother Yeap Cheow Soon, Sisters Lily Chan and Cheng Seow Eng visited him to share and celebrate the festive occasion. (As a respect for his privacy we refrained from taking any snapshot).

Family visits

The rest of the entourage visited the three families together instead of individual group to the respective family, shared and brought joy to them collectively with love and care.

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Joyful visit to the first family with smiling faces all around …. …

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… … followed by the second family with happy faces abound … …

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… … and the last family in boisterous mood.

Benefit of the visits

It was a delightful visit and the benefit of visiting these lonely citizens that brought and shared the joy with them was to show concern for others. “How is a person concerned with his own and the good of the others? Concerning this, one is concerned with the restraint of greed, hatred and delusion in himself, and he encourages others in the same restraint.” (A.III,172).

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

You are cordially invited to visit the Photo Gallery for more photos.

Contributor: Chin Kee Thou

Date: October 3rd 2017

The contributor takes responsibility for any inadvertence factual or otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An audio recording: “Two aspects of morality” by Bhante Cakkapala

The MV Dhamma Fellowship under its Buddhism in Daily Life programme was grateful to Bhante Cakapala who delivered a talk on September 18th 2017 under the Dhamma Talk series, entitled “Two aspects of morality”.

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Bhante Cakkapala delivered his talk … … …

Bhante Cakkapala was the second resident monk from Managal Vihara (Buddhist Temple) to grace the event, the first being Venerable U Cittara.

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… … … and the second resident monk from Mangala Vihara (Buddhist Temple).

As with any of the other talks it garnered a respectable turnout of nearly a hundred participants and the talk was injected with humour in lighter vein to their amusement.

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The talk injected with humour to the amusement of the participants.

There was a lively questions and answers session from the floor with some intrigue questions raised. You may be able to hear them from the audio recording and be amused.

Q and Time

Like any event, there were some who missed it due to whatever reasons best known to themselves.

However, in the spirit of propagating the Dhamma it is a noble deed to bring the Dhamma to them with this audio recording.

The gift of the Dhamma excels all other gifts. (Dhammapada verse 354).

The Dhamma Talk series has scheduled two more talks on October 2nd 2017 and October 30th 2017  and do make sure you mark your calendar so as not to miss them.

Upholding the tradition of Mangala Vihara (Buddhist Temple) every lesson conducted by the resident monks ends with the chanting of the Chatta Manava Gatha as the finale of the session.

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Chanting of the Chatta Manava Gatha as the finale of the session.

You may view more photos from The Photo Gallery and perhaps catch your presence in it.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Contributors:

Text and photos: Chin Kee Thou

Audio clips: Chin Kee Thou, David Chua and Chan May Wan

Date: September 19th 2017

The contributors take responsibility for any inadvertence factual or otherwise.

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Dhamma Talk – “Three types of Happiness” by Bhante Cakkapala

We all want to be happy. But which type of happiness do we desire?  

If you wish to know more about the three types happiness from a Buddhist perspective then make a date on October 30th 2017 to hear from Bhante Cakkapala.

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 All are welcome.

Submitted by: Chin Kee Thou
Date: September 13th 2017  

Posted in Abhidhamma in Daily Life, Buddhism in Daily Life, Dhamma in Daily Life, Dhamma Talk, Events, Meditation in Daily Life, Uncategorized | 2 Comments