Nay Pyi Taw March 9
The ceremony to honour and pay respects to Pitakattayacheka Abhidhaja Sayadaws and Sitagu Sayadaw, the recipient Sayadaw of Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddhammajotika Title, and share merits for the Sitagu water donation by Tatmadaw (Army, Navy and Air) and families was held at Thanwaizaniya Dhamma Beikman of Sitagu International Buddhist Academy on Sagaing Hill, Sagaing Region this morning, graced by Chancellor of Sitagu International Buddhist Academies and Sitagu Hospitals Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddhammajotika Agga Maha Pandita Maha Dhamma Kathika Bahujanahitadhara Joint Sangha Raja of Shwekyin Sitagu Sayadaw Dr. Bhaddanta Nyanissara, Sayadaw Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru BhaddantaVicarindabhivamsa of Maha Wizitayon Monastery of Mandalay, Sayadaw Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Bhaddanta Indobhasabhivamsa of Maha Gandayon Monastery of Amarapura, Sayadaw Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Bhaddanta Obhasabhivamsa of Atulakari Hsinmin Monastery of Mandalay and members of Sangha.
Also present at the ceremony were Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and wife Daw Kyu Kyu Hla, Commander-in-Chief (Navy) Admiral Tin Aung San and wife, Commander-in-Chief (Air) General Maung Maung Kyaw and wife, senior military officers from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army) and wives, Commander of North-West Command Maj-Gen Soe Tint Naing and wife, invited guests, officers, other ranks and families, religious associations, donors and the local residents.
The Senior General and congregation received the Five Precepts from Sitagu Sayadaw. Sayadaw Bhaddanta Indobhasabhivamsa of Maha Gandayon Monastery delivered a sermon.
Guna Puja verses composed by Patron of lecturer Sayadaws Ashin Silanandabhivamsa of Myasetkya Monastery on Sagaing Hill was recited by Sitagu Dr. Ashin Indacariya. Afterwards, the Senior General supplicated on the religious matters. In his supplication, the Senior General said it is a pleasure and honour for all to pay respects to Sayadaws who are well versed in the Pitaka. He prayed physical and mental wellbeing of the Sayadaws and the donors.
He said of the over 54 million people of Myanmar, about 48 million are Theravada Buddhists accounting for over 80 percent of the national population. Hence, the State recognized special position of Buddhism as the faith professed by the great majority of the citizens of the Union. As it is the 2563rd year according to Buddhist calendar, Buddhism emerged in the world over 2,500 years ago. According to firm evidence, Buddhism arrived in Myanmar during the Bagan period of the First Myanmar Kingdom about 1,000 years ago. Myanmar can still stand as model Buddhist country in the world till today thanks to eminent Sayadaws, missionary kings and contributors who valued the religion of the successive periods. The Senior General said the teachings of the Buddha are secularly and religiously beneficial for the mankind and shows the path to Nirvana.
His teachings are based on the middle way which avoids the two extremes. The Buddha said “Dve me, bhikkhave, antā pabbajitena na sevitabbā” in the Dhammacakka Pavattana Sutta, His first sermon. The Buddha had never criticized other’s beliefs in proving the righteousness of his teachings.The Buddha preached about ten criteria to scrutinize a belief. In the sermon preached to Astrologer Kalarma, he was allotted to scrutinize Buddhism based on the ten criteria. Scholars have believed that the criteria are not only the basic principles for all scientific ideologies of nowadays but also in accordance with all philosophies the world has ever seen.
The ten criteria were not developed by pragmatists and logical empiricists of the 20th century but preached by the Buddha more than 2,500 years ago. Therefore, the criteria are known as ten great lamp posts that shed light on truth for seekers of truth in the field of philosophy. The Maha Pathana Desana of the philosophy Pitaka of the Buddha set a best example that shed light on relations between cause and effect and is an inexhaustible sermon respected by modern scientists and philosophers. Although it is said that Buddhism, which is rational and serves the interests of the world, will propagate for 5,000 years, we are desirous of propagation of Buddhism as long as the world and human beings exist.
We are blessed to pay homage to Pitakatakacheya Abhidhaja Sasana Oakshaung Sayadaws, who are propagating the Sasana, and to organize the ceremony to share merits gained from donating water to monks, who reside on Sagaing hills and discharge religious duties inherited from the Sayadaws.
According to Myanmar saying “Without food, no one can survive seven days; Without water, no one can survive one morning,” Water is indispensible for survival of mankind. Therefore, Myanmar people attached great importance to donation of water and make donation for wells and lakes and drinking water pots and stands, a tradition that can still be seen even today.
Moreover, the Buddha comprehensively preached about ten benefits of donating water in Danakatha. As the benefits of donating water has many benefits including longevity, beauty, wealth, strength, intelligence, cleanliness, freedom from diseases, having many friends, freedom from shortage of water and being active, unlike other donations, donation of water is termed as water merit. We are glad for and proud of the Tatmadaw’s opportunity to donate water.
It is important for monks to perform religious duties and responsibility for propagation of Sasana to do so in peace of mind and body. Sagaing hills, which play a very important role in the history of Buddhism in Myanmar, is located in dry zone in central Myanmar, which receives a little rain. As the hills are made of rocks, shortage of water is regular and common. During droughts, missionary monks encounter difficulties. Before the estabilishment of Sitagu Water Donation, monks on the hills had to push water carts on to the hill for drinking water and had to go a long way to the bank of the Ayeyawaddy River to take a bath in the evening.
To overcome the difficulties and for perpetuation of the water donation project, under the guidance of the venerable Sayadaw, water supply project for Sagaing hills was first launched on the fullmoon day of Kason in 1342 ME (1980 AD) after announcing to the entire country. Amid criticism that the plan was not viable, measures were taken within one year in 1343 ME (1981 AD) and 79 water storage facilities were build in 35 sites on Sagaing hills.
Water supply has been undertaken for more than 40 years as a body formed with Ovadacariya Sayadaws, leading Sayadaws headed by Sitagu Sayadaw, Anupalaka Sayadaws and water pipeline supervisory members of the Sangha operates the Sitagu water donation project in accordance with the advice of Ovadacariya Sayadaws and leadership and management of the presiding leader Sayadaw in line with the prescribed rules and regulations.
In its establishment of Sitagu water supply, some 400 corners which scattered on Sagaing mountain ranges were home to more than 4,000 members of the Sangha and nuns. Currently, more than 1,300 corners on the mountain ranges accommodate 16,859 members of the Sangha and nuns. For enabling Buddhist monks and nuns to use water conveniently, three water pumping stations are operated round the clock to pump up water from Ayeyawaddy River to all water tanks on the hill so as to supply water to all corners. Moreover, water purifiers were installed tosupply purified drinking water to all parts of the hill.
Water donation process spent about Ks-11 million per month in the past. As rate of electricity consumption rose, the electricity consumption bill increased to a triple cost (about Ks-33 million). However, water donation is continuous on a daily basis. As the Tatmadaw donated cash and kind for the significant, noble water donation as much as it can, all military units have donated Ks-478.5 million so far. In the future, the Tatmadaw will make more donations for the perpetuation of the Sasana. He honoured and took pride of strenuous efforts foroperating the solar energy system instead of regular electrification in order to sufficiently supply water to members of the Sangha, nuns and Yogis while solving the difficulties. He expressed a feeling of delight for the opportunities of two meritorious deeds to pay homage to Pitakattayacheka Abhidhaja Sayadaws and to share merits gained at Sitagu water donation ceremony. Endeavours and continuous efforts of Sitagu Sayadaw who initiated Sitagu water donation project, members of the Sangha and well-wishers within for decades as well as energetic undertakings of venerable Sayadaws will perpetually be existent in the archives of Buddha Sasana in Myanmar. In his supplication, he respectfully expressed his wish, saying may all be peaceful and tranquil like a shining moon. Eye specialist Dr. U Mya Aung, on behalf of the lower MyanmarSitagu Sasana missionary, and Sayagyi Dr. U Thaung Myint, Chairman of lower and upper Myanmar Sitagu missionary team, spoke words of honour.
Harpist Cho Thet Tin sang a poem of one stanza composed by Dr. BhaddantaVeluriyalankara, the principal of Mandalay Sitagu Buddhist Academy, and vocalist U Maung Maung Aye of Sitagu Gitinzali troupe, the song in honour of Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddhammajotika title composed by Maung Haymar (Alinkawutyi). General Manager Sitagu U Soe Win of the Sitagu Sayadaw presented offerings donated by Sitagu Sayadaw to laypersons of Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Sayadaws. The Senior General and wife, well-wishers and senior officers offered alms to Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddhammajotika title recipient Sitagu Sayadaw Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Sayadaws. Sitagu Sayadaw returned annual magazines as Dhamma gifts to the Senior General.
At the ceremony, Sitagu Sayadaw delivered a sermon on brief histories of emergence of Sitagu water donation and Sitagu hospitals. The Sayadaw noted that if one has strong and firm belief, one will overcome any hindrances and difficulties. So, everybody has to uphold generosity and knowledge in order to overcome hindrances and difficulties in Sasana. The Sitagu water donation has met its vision of the past motto “to donate water to all corners on Sagaing hill”. As such, all corners on the hill have been supplied water. In addition, one more plan to donate water to Mingun region will be undertaken. Then, the Senior General and those present shared merits gained. They all recited oaths of Sitagu before closing the ceremony successfully. After the ceremony, the Senior General and wife, and those present offered day time meals to Sitagu Sayadaw and members of the Sangha and served the guests with lunch.
The Senior General and party visited Chancellor Hall on the campus of Sitagu International Buddhist Academy where they were conducted round by Sitagu Sayadaw.
As the Senior General and party arrived at the venue where No 1 Sitagu Water Plant (Htonbo) would be commissioned into service in commemoration of the 83rd birthday of Sitagu Sayadaw, well-wishers U Maung Ko and Thiri Thudhamma Theingi Daw Shwe U and family and party cut the ribbon to open the plant. Sitagu Sayadaw, the Senior General and well-wishers posed for documentary photos in front of the plant. After that, Sitagu Sayadaw and the Senior General sprinkled scented water on the plant and pressed the button to launch the water pumps.
Sitagu Sayadaw explained feeding of water to Shwehintha, Thandikara, Thakyadita Monastery, Saddhamma Sitagu Monastery, Sitagu Hospital, Yadaninkara, Mya Sekkya Monastery and Shinpin Nankaing Lake. No 2 water plant (Wachet) will be launched on 10 March.
In the evening, the Senior General and party paid homage to Laykyun Yanaung Pagoda built on Dipa Ayemya Hillock in Mahamyaing Tawya in Kalewa Township, Kalay District of Sagaing Region. They were welcomed by local people,students from the monastic education school led by Maha Myaing Thebyu Sayadaw Bhaddanta Pannajota, and students of Japanese language course.
The Senior General, wife and party offered flowers, water andoil lights to the Buddha image in the precinct of the pagoda and paid homage to Maha Myaing Thebyu Sayadaw with cash donation for allround renovation and alms. They went round the pagoda and paidhomage to Aungsekkya Pagodaon the campus of Maha Myaing Tawya.