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Echoes from Shangri-La: Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena Publishes a New Book of Buddhist Wisdom

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Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena. Image courtesy of MIMC

By  —  Shyamal Sinha

The Buddhist monk Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena recently published a new book of Buddhist sayings and wisdom teachings titled Echoes from Shangri-La, published by the Mahabodhi International Meditation Center in Ladakh, northern India.

Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena is the spiritual director of the non-profit Mahabodhi International Meditation Center (MIMC) in Leh, Ladakh. 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 small book contains the thoughts, views, and wisdom of Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena on various aspects of life, Buddhist practice, and the world around us,” an MIMC representative shared with BDG. “This small, 42-page book contains many short sayings on different aspects of life accompanied by intimate images of life and Buddhism in the remote Himalayas. These words come from Bhikkhu’s years of Buddhist practice and his long and intensive search for meaning and ultimate truth.”

Image courtesy of MIMC
Image courtesy of MIMC

Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena was born in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, India. At the age of seventeen he joined the Indian Army, where he developed a strong sense of personal discipline and responsibility. 1977 was a particularly significant year in his life, for this is when he felt the inner spiritual call and decided to leave the army. He left the mountains of Ladakh far behind him and became a committed disciple of the renowned Buddhist scholar and celebrated monk, Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita Mahathera, the abbot of the Mahabodhi Society Vihara, Bangalore. Having received full ordination, Ven. Sanghasena undertook enthusiastic studies of the Dhamma and also practiced various methods of Buddhist meditations. In 1986, Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena founded the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC) in Ladakh. Since then he has worked tirelessly and selflessly to put the Buddha’s

Teachings on loving kindness and compassion into action and now MIMC has become one of the leading NGOs in India.

He has since become an exemplar of socially engaged Buddhism, launching numerous 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 has evolved into an expanding campus that has become a hub for a multitude of socio-cultural and community programs in India’s far north.

In addition to integrating spiritual development and human welfare, Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena and the MIMC are also closely involved in peace-building and inter-faith dialogues, environmental conservation activities, 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.

Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena is also the author of Climate Change and the Himalayas and Religion and Science, among other titles. The beautiful collection of images and Buddhist wisdom gathered in Echoes from Shangri-La is are available from the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre in Leh, Ladakh, along with Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena’s other books.

Bhikkhu Sanghasena is also the Founder of Save the Himalaya Foundation (SHF), New Delhi — dedicated to the beautiful Himalayan Mountains & Regions, the Foundation for Indian Buddhists (FIB) New Delhi — dedicated to the revival of Buddhism in its birth place – India, the Mahakaruna Foundation, New Delhi — dedicated to promote universal compassion and Ladakh Think Tank Forum — dedicated to future vision of Ladakh.