Devachan: A grand reception was held to welcome the 40 venerable monks from the Royal Temple of Singpuri, Thailand, who started the Dhamma Padh Yatra (Peace Walk) from Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh) on May 21 on the auspicious occasion of Buddha Purnima, at the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC) on June 17, 2016.
H.E. Chosje Togdan Rinpoche and several respected figures from the Buddhist community from Ladakh, including Venerable Sanghasena, the founder president of MIMC, Lama Lobzang, general secretary of International Buddhist Confederation, New Delhi, and representatives of Ladakh Buddhist Association and its wings and other prominent monks and members of monasteries from Ladakh, took part in the peace walk on June 17 from Shey to Mahabodhi Center in Choglamsar.
People from various parts of Ladakh, dressed in traditional clothes, waited by the roadside to accord warm welcome to the monks. The peace walk started at 2pm from Shey and it culminated at Mahabodhi Centre. “The reception of the venerable monks was beyond my expectations and I am thankful to the people of Ladakh. I am sure that this peace walk will further strengthen the relationship between Thailand and Ladakh. I also hope that the footfall of guests from Thailand will increase in coming years,” said Ven. Sanghasena.
Speaking on the occasion, Ven. Phrateppariyattisuthi Thongsukas, said, “I am very happy and excited to be here in Ladakh. I feel very indebted to India because Lord Buddha was born here. It was Ven. Sanghasena who inspired me to take this peace walk. We have faith in him that he will continue to serve the people. I am grateful to the gratitude shown towards us by the people of Ladakh.”
Later, Ven. Sanghasena presented the “Tri-Ratna Award” to Ven. Phrateppariyattisuthi Thongsukas on behalf of LBA, MIMC and the Buddhist community of Ladakh.
These monks were given a grand reception at the Mahabdohi Centre in Choglamsar. Padma Shri Morup Namgyal delivered the welcome speech followed by a speech from Venerable Sanghsena, who also welcomed the guests. Later, a cultural event was held in which students from Mahabodhi School and Tibetan students from other schools showcased their talent. Dorjey Stakmo, the popular singer from Ladakh, also performed on the occasion.
At Mahabodhi Center, two of the Thai film stars will be ordained under Ven. Sanghasena and Ven. PhrateppariyattisuthiThongsukas, the abbot of the Royal Temple of Singpuri, Thailand, as a part of the Dhamma Padh Yatra.
At the start of the one-month peace walk, these 40 monks received the rare blessings of H.H. the Dalai Lama, who also provided them with a medical team and other essential amenities for a hustle-free padh yatra.
This historic but arduous undertaking is firmly focused on promoting the timeless Buddhist ideals of loving-kindness or goodwill (mettā) and compassion (karuṇā) in the world.
The monks from Thailand will later offer prayer for world peace at Shanti Stupa, Khardung La, Hemis, Thiksey, Likir and Alchi monasteries, and at Pangong Lake also.
About the Dhamma Padh Yatra (Peace Walk):
Since time immemorial, India and Thailand have shared a cordial religious and cultural relationship. This rapport, of course, is still growing in the present time also with growing facets of developmental ties. Buddhism is by and large one of the strongest reasons in this blossoming relationship. India is the birthplace of Buddhism from where Buddha’s universal messages of love, peace and compassion spread and flourished in the whole world. It is the repository of Buddhist heritage, and pilgrimage sites and Buddhist knowledge endowed with the Buddhist scholars and sources of archived materials based on Buddhism.
And Thailand is one of the few countries that have successfully preserved the Buddhist tenets and practices to the present day. It is the one of the living Buddhist Kingdoms in the world with true Buddhist practitioners.
Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC) takes great pride in sharing a strong and cordial relationship with Thailand for the propagation of Buddha Sasana. Venerable Sanghasena, the founder president of MIMC, enjoys distinguished association with several reputed organisations based in Thailand like the World Fellowship of Buddhist, World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth, Thailand; Save the World Foundation and Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, etc. Venerable Sanghasena is also the proud recipient of the World Outstanding Buddhist Leader Award, which was presented by HH Somdejphramaharatchamangala- jarn, the acting supreme patriarch of Thailand, and World Peace Ambassador Award was conferred upon him by the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth, Thailand and Save the World Foundation, Thailand respectively, for his exceptional services to Buddha Sasana.
Another historical and auspicious religious ceremony that took place was the Royal Thai Katthina ceremony, which is celebrated at the end of the rain’s retreat. A delegation of officials sent by the Royal king of Thailand visited MIMC to offer the Royal Katthina for the first time in Ladakh in October 2014. A renowned cultural troupe from Thailand also visited and performed in Ladakh during the International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh 2015, which was organised by MIMC.
The Royal Thai Ambassador to the Republic of India, His Excellency Mr. Chalitmanityakulhad also visited MIMC several times during important occasions.
In 2015, Ven. PhrateppariyattisuthiThongsuk, the abbot of Phranonchakkrasri Royal Temple, Thailand visited Mahabodhi Center in Ladakh and spent few spiritually uplifting days at the Mahabodhi Sambodhi Retreat Centre on the campus. During this time, Venerable PhrateppariyattisuthiThongsuk and Ven. Sanghsena collectively decided to hold a historic month long “DhammaPadhYatra” of 40 venerable monks from Thailand from Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh) to Ladakh. On the full moon day of May 21, or Vesākha Puja as it is known in the Pāli calendar, a group of forty monks led by most venerable PhrateppariyattisuthiThongsuk, and renowned Thai film star Thun Thana Korn finally began their peace march on foot.
At Dharamsala, the place from where these monks started the historic yatra, the holy Sangha received the rare blessings of H.H. the Dalai Lama who also provided them with a medical team and other essential amenities for a hustle-free Padh Yatra.
This historic but arduous undertaking is firmly focused on promoting the timeless Buddhist ideals of loving-kindness or goodwill (mettā) and compassion (karuṇā) in the world. “We are having this yatra ['pilgrimage'] for the world peace and to share with the world about the peace of mind and soul as per the teachings of our teacher, Lord Buddha,” said one of the monks at the start of their long journey.