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After participating in the celebrations of the United Nations Day of Vesak, Bhante paid a courtesy visit to the Most Ven. Dr. Ashin Nyanissara (Sitagu Sayadaw) at Sitagu International Vipassana Academy (where Sitagu Sayadaw resides) in Sagaing, Myanmar. Bhante delivered copies of a book that highlights Sitagu Sayadaw’s visit to Uganda in April 2017.

The visit also intended to once again invite Most Ven. Sitagu to Uganda in the year 2020, and to update Sitagya Sayadaw on the construction plans at UBC. Construction of decent accommodation for both monastics and laities was postponed as there was a timely need to acquire more land for UBC. Resources were used to purchase land adjacent to the Centre for expansion. The price of land in Garuga area (where the temple is situated) keeps skyrocketing every day, so buying it now is timely and an indispensable investment. Construction is expected to start as soon as funds are available.

 

Furthermore, 5 children are expected to travel to Myanmar to train as novice Buddhist monks under the guidance of Most Ven. Dr. Sitagu Sayadaw.

Bhante later witness a convocation of Diploma graduates at SItagu International Buddhist Academy (SIBA). During the convocation, Sitagu Sayadaw asked his audience to repeat after him 3 times:

 

Ethical conduct supports wisdom; wisdom support Ethical conduct

Ethical conduct supports wisdom; wisdom support Ethical conduct

Ethical conduct supports wisdom; wisdom support Ethical conduct.

 

He added that,

“To achieve wisdom we have to practice Vipassana (insight meditation) in order to uproot greed, hatred and delusion. Insight meditation is the way to peace. Without insight meditation we cannot achieve peace!

He established Sitagu International Vipassana Academy to training people in Vipassana meditation.

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Thousands of delegates attended the 16th United Nations Day of Vesak (UNDV) celebrations held in Ha Nam Province in Vietnam from May 12-14, 2019.

Bhante Buddharakkhita participated in this year’s celebrations and represented Uganda at this auspicious occasion.

In his speech, Bhante invited celebrants to take a moment of silence to remember and pray for people who perished in the recent series of bombings in Sri Lanka. “I would like us to spend one minute in silence to remember the tragedy that happened in Sri Lanka just recently. Death is certain, life is uncertain”

Given the big mess happening all around the world, this year’s main discussions centered on “Buddhist Approaches to Global Leadership and Shared Responsibility for a Sustainable Society. Delegates extensively discussed solutions to the UN’s sustainable development goals, placing emphasis on mindful leadership for sustainable peace, global education in ethics, harmonious families, healthcare and sustainable society, and responsible consumption.

Bhante said that “The world is a global village. What happens in Africa, or another continent affects Asia, America and other parts of the world probably the whole universe. What happened in Sri Lanka is affecting all societies in the world.”

The Buddha’s timeless message is a message of “peace and ultimate happiness”, Bhante said. It is this message that inspired Bhante to go forth as a Buddhist monk.

Bhante also spent a few minutes of his speech to invite Buddhist monks, nuns and others to join him in Africa to spread the noble teachings of the Lord Buddha for the happiness and wellbeing of all.

“I am alone. Please come join me in Africa to spread the Dhamma”, Bhante cried out.

He expressed that there is a greater need for Buddhist monks in Africa, and less of them in traditional Buddhist countries. He reminded his audience that “Buddhism is very powerful, but we are weakening it by only focusing on traditional Buddhist countries. There are bigger parts of the world where Buddhism is not established such as Eastern Europe, South America, and Africa.

Bhante also invited the next United Nations Day of Vesak to be conducted in Africa.

Bhante also recognized the coming and support of the Most Ven. Dr. Ashin Nyanissara (in presence) to Uganda in 2017, and other Sri Lankan monks who came in 2016. There were also other monks who came from Germany, Myanmar, India and Bangladesh.

During the event, Bhante met with Most Ven. Dr. Ashin Nyanissara (Sitagu Sayadaw).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To listen to Bhante’s speech during the 16th UNDV, please follow this link

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Recently, we have experienced heavy soil erosion which has left bumps and rough surfaces on the temple grounds. Furthermore, the grounds have been left bare making it muddy and slippery during rainy seasons. To eliminate all these environmentally unfriendly effects, we have embarked on paving the compound.

Due to limited financial resources, we have only been able to pave 154 square meters over the total 750 square meters. We are therefore taking it in phases. But our plan is to pave the entire compound.

We would like to take this chance to invite you to support this effort. The remaining part will cost USD 7,000 to be paved from the face of the temple stretching down to the gate area.

If you would like to make a donation towards this effort, please follow the link below.

Thank you!

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A couple of Russian engineers working in mines in Uganda visited the Uganda Buddhist to meet Bhante with a prospect of building a stupa at the Uganda Buddhist Centre. Bhante told them that the Uganda Buddhist Centre development master plan doesn’t have space.

However, he introduced them to his friend Dr. Juuko who has land at the bank of River Nile. Bhante together with the Russian Buddhists travelled to Jinja to see the site if the future stupa. The group also included Dr. Aung from Myanmar who had just come to visit the Uganda Buddhist Centre.

The spot was determined and Dr. Juuko also offered space for constructing a future meditation centre in Jinja.

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Currently the Uganda Buddhist Centre is in process of buying two acres of land adjacent to the Centre. This land will make it possible to construct buildings for monastics, housing complex for laities, kitchen and administrative block. We have started fencing the land.

Furthermore, the Uganda Buddhist Centre is planning to secure land for a forest monastery at Ssesse Islands in Kalangala district located within Lake Victoria. The size of the land is 20 acres. Each acre of land is costing 13,500 US dollars. So far, Uganda Buddhist Centre can afford to secure only two acres of land. We are yet to get funding to purchase the rest of the 18 acres.

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We have committed our hearts to quality and holistic education, and the safety of our children and teachers is paramount. As students go for a holiday, we are currently fencing the school to guarantee safety of our children and school premises. The fencing will also add extra security to the school and allow the grass and trees to grow which are always destroyed by the wandering children who come to collect water at the nearby borehole.

The fencing project is now on going at USD 3,300 and is expected to be complete by 20th May, 2019.

Towards the end of April, the school was honored to host Most Ven. Bhante Buddharakkhita. Children were happy to see him and humbly greeted him. Bhante was happy about the progress of the children and the school. He offered one of his finest carpets to the school on which children sit to do their daily class activities. Bhante also offered chocolates, and led the children into meditation as he prayed for their safety and peace.

The Peace school Children will report back to school on 27th for their second term of the year. We are so excited for the second term of the calendar year and we are positive that it will be filled with much joy from the warm hearts of our little angels.

If you would like to support our school as a volunteer, or make a donation to our school or offer gifts to our children, please follow the link (https://xpresspay.ug/payments/ugandabuddhistcentre/index.html) or contact us any time via ugandabuddhistcentre@gmail.com. We look forward to welcoming you on board.

 

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The Uganda Buddhist Centre hosted the Vice President of Uganda His Excellency Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi on Saturday April 6, 2019 to celebrate the 5th international Buddhist Day. This was the first time for the Centre to host such a prominent leader in the country.

The Most Ven. Bhante Buddharakkhita warmly welcomed the Vice President. Thereafter, a flower was offered to the Vice President by two children of the Uganda Buddhist Centre Peace School.

Upon his arrival, Vice President planted a tree and reminded all of us to plant and preserve trees. He was later led into the temple by Bhante Buddharakkhita, who thanked the Vice President for visiting the temple, and introduced the Centre’s activities to the Vice President. Bhante further expressed that the Buddhist faith was founded on various principles such as peace and respect for all beings and that the Vice President’s visit affirms “our commitment to peace, respect for all humanity and harmony amongst all religions and people”.

Bhante Buddharakkhita called upon the Ugandan government to assist the Buddhist community to extend its humanitarian services in rural areas such as providing safe and clean water, education and livelihood support to rural communities throughout Uganda.

In his speech, the Vice President pressed upon reflection on Buddhist values especially on the conservation of the natural environment. “26 centuries ago, the Buddha asked his followers to not only protect mankind but also protect animals and vegetation”, he said.

Ssekandi assured the Buddhist community that the government of Uganda is committed to environmental conservation and “will continue to enforce policies and regulations that ensure that the country’s forest cover and the rich natural diverse environment endowment is protected for sustainable development.”

The Vice President later in the afternoon joined a 20 member delegation led by Bhante Buddharakkhita to Japan to participate in the 5th International Buddhist Day celebrations as a Chief Guest.

While addressing the Supreme Buddhist leaders in Japan from five continents, the Vice President said that there cannot be meaningful sustainable development without the freedom of individuals to think and act, and this freedom can be guaranteed through peace and tolerance. He applauded the world Buddhist leaders for promoting peace and harmony and extended his invitation to Buddhist leaders to come to Uganda to see the beauty and of the country. Furthermore, he suggested the future World Buddhist Summit should be held in Uganda. He assured them that Uganda is safe and peaceful and will continue to promote freedom of worship for all its citizens.

He emphasized peace as the central pillar of Buddhism and the need for a peaceful co-existence as the component in the socio-economic transformation and development of a society. In his official speech, he conveyed a message of the president of Uganda to the World Buddhist Summit that wished the Summit a grand success and prosperity.

The Vice President attended a press conference where he expressed his gratitude to the World Buddhist Summit for inviting him and his delegations.

As part of the tour, the Vice president visited Hiroshima and offered a flower and wrote a prayer of peace for the victims of A-bomb. He spent his last night at a Seaside Guest House in Okayama.

Most Ven. Bhikkhu Buddharakkhita who led the delegation had just landed two days ago from Hawaii, USA. He travelled with one assistant Mr. Joe Kivumbi Busirike and two journalists from the leading television in Uganda. Bhante was offered a proclamation by the World Buddhist Summit as an outstanding Buddhist leader working tireless to spread Buddhism for the benefit and well-being of all.

Other delegates from Uganda included His Majesty Oyo Kabambi Iguru Rukidi IV, Her Royal Highness Best Kemigisa, Queen Mother of Tooro Kingdom, His Royal Highness Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli II Kamuswaga of Kooki, Her Royal Highness Rebecca Tulituuka and other royal members.

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The Peace School organized an environmental awareness and cleaning campaign on Friday March 29, 2019. The campaign involved our preschool children, teachers, and the management. The theme of the campaign was “Caring for Mother Nature: Clean Environment, Good Health”. This campaign aimed at raising awareness about the great importance of a clean and green environment and teach children to be more responsible towards the environment by not littering and that rubbish be properly disposed off to keep the environment clean and green.

In this 21st century, our environment is at a great threat and facing inordinate challenges of rapid changes. We are faced with climate changes. In our community for example, we have had a few rain showers since the year began which is unlike before, in seasons of the year like this one, we usually experience heavy rains. We believe these sudden changes are mainly due to the rapid aggressive human actions to the environment such as deforestation.

As Peace School, we are committing to taking an active participation in environmental protection and we will encourage every child to plant trees to enhance greenery and purity of the environment from pollutions.

During this campaign, children participated in cleaning and planted a mango tree at the temple, of which they will enjoy the fruits of their action in the nearby times.

 

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We are in the second month since we started to operate our preschool, providing high quality education to children in our community. This commitment to give high quality education is demonstrated through our focus on areas of child development with highly trained teachers. The teachers with their enormous experience in early childhood development use effective teaching and assessment approaches as well as establishing collective relationships with parents and the whole community.

As a school based on the Buddhist foundation, we are striving to empower children to realize their full potential guided by principals of compassion, generosity and loving kindness.

The preschool starts at 8:00am to 12:30pm from Monday to Friday.

Each day brings hope for a better generation to come. The day’s activities include a balance of active time, quiet time with teacher-guided activities as well as child-initiated activities. Children have the opportunity to learn as they engage in a variety of learning areas and activities guided by the national curriculum.

All the students are fully sponsored by the Uganda Buddhist Centre through the support of the various stake holders to ensure that the children have access to best education even with the available resources.

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