In September, we printed 5,000 copies of the book "Why We Should Practise Buddhism". This is the 6th book by the late Ven K Sri Dhammananda that DAA has translated into Khmer and distributed in Cambodia. As is the case with the earlier books by the late Ven, this print run was sponsored by the Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardhana Society of Malaysia. This book comes out at a difficult time for Cambodia as the massive floods which covered half the country, has killed hundreds of people and destroyed the ricefields, homes and livelihoods of thousands. No doubt, many NGOs and government organisations will have begun the massive task of aiding the victims of this disaster. We hope that the people of this country, together with its neighbours Thailand, Laos and Vietnam which are similarly affected by the floods, will draw on the strength and wisdom found in the Dhamma and their rich cultural heritage to quickly recover from this misfortune.
Phnom Penh was relatively unaffected by the floods, settling our worries about any possible damage to the books. Mr Keo Vichith, the Cambodian representative of the Khmer Buddhist Educational Assistance Project, a USA based organisation which collaborated with us on this publication is using his nation-wide contacts to distribute our books to pagodas across the country. One of our volunteers, Tian-Yee also made a trip to Phnom Penh to assist in the book distribution.
So what is our next project for Cambodia? As I write, we have given the go-ahead to the printer to print 10,000 copies (our largest print run of a single book todate) of TY Lee's popular book "Anyone Can Go To Heaven, Just Be Good". We'll update you in our next update!
Ven Saranankara of the Anandakuti Vihara in Kathmandu contacted us to request assistance in the printing of a new edition of Paritta chanting books. He lamented that due to the increase in the number of devotees, the old books were simply inadequate. For a start, we printed an initial batch of 2,000 books and these will be used not only in Anandakuti Vihara, but will also be given to most of the viharas in the Kathmandu valley. The book of parittas comprising all the main parittas and traditional gathas is printed in bi-lingual format, that is in Pali and Nepali, using the Devanagari script. The book was launched at a special ceremony in conjunction with the Kathina festival of the Vihara on 5 November.
In our August letter, we reported that work has commenced on the roof construction for the 4 classrooms of Metta School in Lumbini. The roof has now been completed. Ven Metteya recently sent us this photo of the school children in the school yard showing the classrooms in the background. Two of the classrooms are in use while they await further funds to complete the plastering and flooring for the classrooms.
North East India - Arunachal Pradesh
North East India is an isolated region that is little known to the outside world. There is great ethnic and religious diversity among the population of 40 million living here. About thirty percent of the population comprises 70 large tribes and many other smaller sub-tribes. The various tribes have their distinct culture, traditions and language. Hinduism and Islam are the predominant religions. However, among the tribals, there are large Christian and Buddhist populations. The various Buddhist communities here are under great pressure from external influences and are trying to consolidate. New monasteries and community centers are being established in several areas. To assist in this effort, DAA sponsored the printing of 2,000 copies of "Bhikkhu Kammavaca" books in traditional loose-leaf binding. These books of traditional Pali chants (our edition includes a Hindi translation) are used by Theravada monks for their monastic rituals such as the Patimokkha and ordination procedures.
Monks from N E India received the new books at the Patimokkha recitation in a monastic seminary in Bangalore, South India. From here, they will be dispatched back to viharas in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in N E India where they will reinforce the sangha and increase its influence with traditional monastic practices like the alms round ("pindapata") and preaching in the tribal villages. The remainder of the "Bhikkhu Kammavaca" books will also be distributed to viharas and monks in N E India.
We continue to support dedicated Buddhist leaders and communities which uphold the Sasana in many parts of Asia, some of which are struggling with meagre resources. Compared to the work of our friends, our efforts are relatively humble. However, the assistance of DAA is greatly appreciated and welcomed as it makes a significant difference to the results of their work. Our reserve of funds has recently dipped as we had committed and disbursed funds for some unsponsored projects. In view of this, we seek your continous support and donations. Your support makes a difference to the Sasana in Asia.
Best wishes and Anumodana
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