Meditation, Sanitation & Medication Come Together: Buddhist Fest
The 4th International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh, from 23-27th August, 2015, was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Defence Minister, Government of India, Shri Manohar Parikkarji, Pujya Swamiji, Yogarishi Pujya Swami Ramdevji, Pujya Acharya Balkrishanji, Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasenaji and Sadhvi Bhagawatiji, along with many others. The festival was organized by Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC) and supported by Nava Nalanda Mahavihra, Bihar and International Buddhist Confederation New Delhi, J&K Tourism, LAHDC Leh, Hemis Monastery, Spituk Monastery, ICCR New Delhi, Ladakh International Center, All Ladakh Tour Operator Association, All Ladakh Hotel Association.
The Hon’ble Defence Minister said, “I was glad to read on the invitations that the International Buddhists are also promoting sustainable and responsible tourism. I come from Goa, which is better known as the tourist capital of the India, so from my experience you must take care of these places from the beginning. Tourism is great for the economy, to generate livelihoods, but tourists also bring drugs, plastic and debris. Therefore, we have to make sure there is planned and sustainable development now before this beautiful land is decayed and destroyed from unsustainable, unplanned tourism.”
The inauguration of the festival included the launch of the first branch of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) in Ladakh, which will actively work to to raise awareness for improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Ladakh and all over the world. To see more pictures of the GIWA Chapter launch, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153524651452698.1073742017.86246862697&type=3
The inauguration also included the ground-breaking of a beautiful Yoga Bhawan, and the start of an extraordinary Ayurvedic garden and shop in Ladakh, in joint partnership of MIMC and Patanjali Yogpeeth. This will not only provide livelihoods for the people of Ladakh but it also brought together the meditation capital of the world, Leh-Ladakh, with the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh-Haridwar.
Pujya Swamiji said, “It is so remarkable to be in this land of Ladakh, which is truly heaven on Earth. Ladakh is also the land of the Sindhu or the Indus River by which our country is known as India or Hindustan. However, today for the first time meditation, sanitation and medication came together. We inaugurated the Global interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) Branch here as well as a Yoga Bhawan and Ayurvedic garden and shop with Pujya Swami Ramdevji, Acharya Balkrishnaji, Bhikkhu Sanghasena and so many others. Today has also been a true testament to GIWA’s 3H programme of Health,Hygiene and Harmony.”
Pujya Swami Ramdevji said, “Without being swachha (clean) one cannot attain Bodha. It is paramount, especially as one of the fundamental niyamas in the eight-limbed path of Yoga, to have cleanliness of not only our environment, our bodies, our communities, our homes and our minds. Therefore, it is fitting and vital that the message of cleanliness, of sanitation, should start from the land of meditation and serve as an example for the rest of India.”
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji said, “As citizens of Ladakh we have a great responsibility to preserve the sacred heritage of this land and to truly empower ourselves by rooting our values, our choices in our rich spiritual-cultural wisdom. Today, along with modernizing and welcoming tourists we must also recognize the importance of maintaining a clean, green and serene Ladakh for all. We also must also actively work to ensure adequate and improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to all our brothers and sisters in Ladakh as well as ensure that these basic facilities are available to thousands of tourists that are being attracted and called to this land of Buddha.”
Acharya Balkrishnaji commended the diligent research by the DRDO on indigenous plants of Ladakh, such as sea buck thorn and many others, pledged Patanjali Yogpeeth full support to help manufacture and bring to the masses these rich natural herbs and berries to serve for the health and for the well-being of all.
During the inaugural function Pujya Swamiji and Pujya Ramdevji blessed the Hon’ble Defence Minister and the Princess of Bhutan with a sacred Rudraksha plant as a symbol of the green festival.