Holding True to the Original Intents of Buddha Through Offering Saṅghadāna

Holding True to the Original Intents of Buddha Through Offering Saṅghadāna
Offering thousand monks to protect Three Gem, reshow the grand history of The Sixth Buddhist Council

Myanmar (Burma), like other Asian countries such as Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, is hot during December. You can feel the high temperature from Burmese monks holding dhamma fans in their hands. The dhamma fans cannot resist the hardness of sunlight and penetrated on their face. A common person might think of basking in sunshine summer, whereas these monks walks gently on pitched road. they are going to Mahā Passana Guha (Great Cave); a cave in Myanmar which was built for 6th Buddhist council in 1952. The Buddhist monks in Myanmar mostly follow Theravada tradition of Buddhism which is earliest Buddhist teaching of the Buddha. This teaching is preserved by Burmese monks in its original form. They live same lifestyle which the Buddha taught to his disciples in the earliest development of Buddhism. The robe of the Burmese monks have same pattern which were used by Buddha's disciples in early India. Therefore, those who see the Saṅgha (Monk), the first notion comes in mind, 'it is the Saṅgha (Monk) of the Buddha's period, which has preserved the teaching, the lifestyle and rules in its original forms. No one can deny the fact that Myanmar is one of Buddhist nation which has maintained and preserved Early Buddhist Tradition in its original forms. On this day, around 1503 monks, including short term monastics from Taiwan, gathered in Mahā Passana Guha (Great Cave) to attain Saṅghadāna.

The Mahā Passana Guha is situated north of the World Peace Pagoda (Kabar Aye Pagoda), on Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Yangon. It is an artificial cave built in 1952 by Myanmar prime minister U Nu to organize The Sixth Buddhist council, and to celebrate 2500 year anniversary of Buddha's Enlightenment. The name Mahā Passana Guha is derived Sattapani Cave which is situated in Rajgraha, Bihar, (India). The Sixth Buddhist council lasted for two years, from 1954 to 1956. 2500 monks from eight countries such as, Myanmar, Thailand, Srilanka, Laos, Cambodia, India, Nepal and Vietnam participated this event. Main purpose of this council was to preserve the Buddha's teachings and practices as understood in Theravada tradition. Out of Six Buddhist Councils after Buddha's attainment of Mahāparinibbāna, two councils are held in Myanmar. The Fifth Buddhist council was organized by King Mindon of in Mandalay, Myanmar. The main objective of this council was to recite all teachings of the Buddha according to Pāli cannon of Theravada Buddhism and examine them in minute detail to see if any of them had been altered, distorted or dropped. In December 2016, Ling Jiou Mountain from Taiwan organized Saṅghadāna ceremony in the Mahā Passana Guha, Yangon. In this ceremony almost all representative Mahāthera from Myanmar National Saṅgha Committee and preceptors, around 43 Mahāthera from 15 province participated. Besides, the dean of International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, the dean of Myanmar International University, altogether 1503 monks joined this auspicious occasion.

Thera, Mahāthera and their disciples (Monks) gently entered into sacred shrine of Mahā Passana Guha to accept the offering from Buddhist devotees all over the world including Taiwan. The inner scenario of the cave is extra ordinarily exquisite which comprises The Sixth Buddhist council held in 1954. Devotees after bowing three times to the Saṅgha, request for the Trisarana and Panchseela (take three refugees and five percepts). The auspicious ceremony started with the transfer of merit through pouring water, as it is observed as most important event in Theravada tradition. Venerable monks chanted the Pali sutta and blessed devotees for their support to the Saṅgha. The Minister of Culture and Religious affairs, Myanmar, Mr. Thura Aung Ko delivered a speech. He mentioned, 63 years passed since The Sixth Buddhist Council, today the entire representatives of Myanmar Buddhist Saṅgha gathered here to for Saṅghadāna, which seems no less than The Sixth Buddhist Council. He said, I personally pay my respect to Most venerable Master Hsin-tao who maintained the tradition of the Buddhist council by inviting monks from 15 different provinces all over Myanmar. His continuous medical support and social activities in the country is highly admired. All events and occasions organized by Master Hsin-tao give strength to Buddhism as well as society in Myanmar.

Venerable Master Hsin-tao was born in Myanmar, left the country at very young age. After 50 years he continuously coming to Myanmar to help Saṅgha and needy people in the society. His contribution towards propagation and development of Buddhism is magnificent. Venerable Master Hsin-tao wish to built Life and Peace University which focus on the idea of peaceful life, Sramanera school has already started in Naungmon Village in Lashio Township. This university has accepted a number of Sramneras who will get education from elementary to university level. Continuously from last thirty years he had been developing religious peace dialogue with many different religions around the world. The objective behind doing is overcome religious conflicts in the society, such as Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bosnia, Paris etc. He had organized more than 15 Muslim Buddhist dialogue all over world. Through the Buddha's wisdom, Venerable Master Hsin-tao is helping many nations by transforming their policy and bringing harmony in the society. Transforming enemy and hate into friendship and love. This is the way of Bodhisattva. These all makes the dhamma continue to eternity.

After that the Saṅgharāja (Head among the Saṅgha) of the Burmese National Saṅgha Commission (State Sangha Mahā Nayāka Committee) Venerable Dr. Mahāthera Bhaddania Kumarabhivamsa delivered Triratna (three refugees), Panchseela (five percepts) and the dhamma. He mentioned, those who support the Saṅgha they are blessed by tremendous merits. The merits accumulated by doing good karma, such as offering and supporting the Saṅgha through donation, helping other etc., helps sentient being on the path of Enlightenment. He said, "all of you have supported today through your contributions to the Saṅgha, the merits accumulated by you will develop your wisdom and lead you on the right path of dhamma. I would suggest you to follow the Buddha path bravely and courageously, make yourself one with the dhamma, propagate the dhamma and support Saṅgha. In the future you can born in heavenly and Brahman world, which means the attainment of the fruits, completion of merit".

The contribution of Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Order this year to the Myanmar Buddhist Saṅgha and Mahāthera of nation is not only an affirmative action towards propagation of Buddhism but it has also founded strong root in Myanmar through organizing such activities for last 15 years. Beside, Ling Jiou Mountain also provides scholarship to promote education for young, and the construction of orphanage schools, restoration and renovations of Buddhist monuments and other social activities, all these has resulted positive for the dhamma propagation . In 2006, Venerable Master Hsin-tao was awarded by Medal of Excellence for Promotion and contribution of Buddhism at the national level in Myanmar “Agga Mahā Saddhamma Jotika Dhaja” a highest honor for propagation of dhamma. Ten years later, during July, The Life and Peace University, Sramanera School was established by Ling Jiou Mountain at Naungmon Village in Lashio Township, Northern Shan State, now at the end of December, the National Buddhist Association for Buddhist Saṅgha held Saṅghadāna by devotees from all over the world at National Level in the Holy Cave Mahā Passana Guha. Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Order step by step manifesting Venerable Master Hsin-tao’s concept of "Through love and peace to generate the idea of multi-coexistence, which can maximize the great unity of the Myanmar national well-being, and for the world peace, regardless of time and space, caste and color, different background. All these makes it as one of best Buddhist organization for global peace". The event in the holy cave contributes high significance of devoting themselves spreading the Dharma to benefit sentient beings.