22 December 2009

New Centre for a Progressive Community

After 6 months of earnest and diligent hard work, we finally witnessed the much anticipated Officiating Ceremony of Nalanda Centre last Friday, 11 December 2009. Support and encouragement for this project had been tremendous since the very beginning, hence this historic day marked the joyous victory for the Buddhist community in Malaysia. Nalanda was honoured to have the Most Venerable Sri Pandit H. Gunaratana, Sangha Nayaka Thera of North America, to preside over the ceremony. More-over, we were also honoured by the presence of the Maha Sangha and guests from all states in Malaysia, as well as from Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia.

The new Nalanda Centre wasted none of her presence to serve as a Buddhist Education Centre on the night itself. The ambience of the Shrine Hall created a feeling of peace and calmness to the visitors. Special guided tours were arranged to impart Buddhist teachings and to promote Buddhist arts and culture embedded in the Srivijayan decorative motives.

On 12 December, the Convocation Ceremony for students of Certificate and Higher Certificate in Buddhist Studies was held at the Srivijaya Seminar Hall. The event celebrated the students’ steadfastness in learning Buddhism over half-a-year, which was rewarded with much joy and inspiration to continue Dhamma-learning and practice.

On Sunday, 13 December, the Annual Buddhist Conference WACANA 2009, with the theme “Dhammaduta – Uniting Our Vision, Engaging Our Community”, took place at Nalanda Centre. The conference gathered 160 leaders from various Buddhist organizations from all states in Malaysia. This was a testimony of the Buddhist community’s readiness to share, learn, and serve the society at large. We believe that the participants have benefited from the presentations and discussions, and have brought back with them memorable lessons and valuable experience to reinforce their Dhamma propagation endeavours.

WACANA 2009 ended with presentation of two awards to two outstanding individuals who have contributed vastly to Dhamma propagation. The highest Sri Pandita Award was conferred to the Most Venerable H. Gunaratana Nayaka Thera, who is indeed an indefatigable Dhammaduta par excellence. The Nalanda Award in Dhammaduta was presented to another octogenarian, Mr. Tan Teik Beng, in recognition of his outstanding achievement, invaluable services and contribution to the Buddha-Sasana in Malaysia.

New Spirit – Faith, Generosity and Dedication

With the successful completion of Nalanda Centre, we have also completed 200 days of daily chanting and blessing services at Nalanda. To all brothers and sisters who joined us in the daily prayers, we are touched by your sincerity and loving-kindness. We recognize that it is not easy to mindfully maintain loving and harmless thoughts for all. Sadhu to your spiritual development!

Important historical milestone in Nalanda would not have taken place without the 4 important pillars in the Buddhist community - bhikkhu sangha, bhikkhuni sangha, laymen and laywomen - coming together in unison in supporting us. We are privileged to be guided by prominent members of the Maha Sangha locally and abroad. The words of encouragement and mutual appreciation expressed by the bhikkhu and bhikkhuni sangha have also greatly inspired us to work harder and emulate their noble examples.

Nalanda Centre stands tall today as a result of unwavering commitment and hard work rendered by the Building Team steered by our Advisor Bro. Tan Ho Soon. The team had worked closely and professionally to thoroughly plan, design and oversee the rebuilding and renovation work, both in its appearance and its intrinsic spiritual value. Their perseverance for excellence in completing this mammoth task in a timely and successful manner is indeed marvelous. We are confident that this place meets the changing needs and expectations of today’s community while fulfilling Nalanda’s mission of Dhamma propagation.

Beginning June 2009, Nalanda faced a challenging task of raising RM2.3 million to facilitate its rebuilding and renovation work. We are truly grateful to the astounding generosity of the community that RM2.1 million was raised via personal contributions and various fund-raising events, ie a Walkathon, a concert in collaboration with Dama Orchestra, and the Pesta Nalanda Food & Fun Fair, all organized in the last six months.

Last but not least, we cannot help but be filled with immense gratitude and admiration for all Nalandians, students of NV and NI and all volunteers’ commitment and proficiency in handling these events in a harmonious and calmly manner. Once again, like so many times before, you have gone beyond the call of duty and risen above self interest to serve your best. It is in this high professional volunteering spirit that we found new hope and inspirations!

"Sukha sanghassa samaggi, samaggamam tapo sukho - Happy is the unity of the Sangha. Happy is the discipline of the united ones".

Thank you!

Sis. Buddhini
Assistant Secretary,
Nalanda Buddhist Society

PDF version of Officiating Ceremony souvenir book is now available at:
Nalanda website: http://nalanda.org.my/souvenirbook.html

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