A HISTORIC EVENT: THE OPENING OF THE GLORIFICATION OF THE THERAVADA BUDDHA SASANA
Aggamaha Saddhamma Jotikadhaja,
International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Yangon
|From the 'Commemorative Publication' to mark the Inauguration, 1998|
I was studying the Abhidhamma in the B.A. class under the Venerable Sayadaw U Thittila at the Yangon University in 1956. I still recall his valuable advice, "Avuso Venerable, if it is possible for you to set up a separate Buddhist University for monks, nuns, and lay people, you'd better consider it."
I replied, "Venerable Sayadaw Sir, I appreciate your noble advice and also keenly take interest in setting up such a University and so I am now organizing University monk students and teaching them the subjects they need to study.
He then told me, 'if you are able to set up such a University, this is the very time for Burma to expose the precious treasure of Buddhism and it will be very much beneficial for the world's people."
At that time, I was teaching University subjects to the Sangha students in the I.A and B.A classes. The Venerable Sayadaw every now and then came to the then Sangha University and gave very valuable and remarkable instructions to the students so that they could stay abreast of the time, and propagate and disseminate the Buddha's Teachings in other countries.
Since then, over forty years have passed. During that time, religious devotees have established many private institutions, such as, the Buddhist College, the Dhamma Duta College, the Burma Buddhist World Mission classes, the Sangha University, the International Advanced Buddhist Studies, classes for Hill tribes, the Y M B A religious classes and other societies.
All these religious leaders of institutions enthusiastically made great efforts by means of their own ways and objectives aiming at the propagation and dissemination of Buddhism domestically and internationally. Unfortunately their noble attempts did not entirely meet their expectations and objectives due to the unfavorable situation during that period of time.
Fortunately, I'm extremely delighted that in our country, Myanmar, the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University of which we dreamt and longed for some years ago has now magnificently come into bloom on a grand scale. This University is constructed through the generous support and highly wholesome volitional intention (Cetana) of the State Peace and Development Council and lavish public donations from Myanmar people. The University will offer Diploma B.Dh Bachelor B.Dh, Master B.Dh and even Ph.D courses. I am indeed quite encouraged, heartened and delighted to see the University distinctly in existence at present before my eyes.
As the Dean of the Patipatti Faculty of the University, I, indeed, take great pride and honour that such a unique university has been established in our Theravada Buddhist country.
Not only I, myself, but also the Buddhist people of Myanmar take great pride in the creation of such a university. Buddhists all over the world also will be gladdened and say the praising words of auspicious blessings. Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu (Well done, Well done, Well done).
In fact Myanmar possesses the rich, complete treasure of genuine and pristine Theravada Buddhism. Our country is honoured to be the guardians of original texts (Pali), commentary (Atthakatha), sub-commentary (Thika), Anumadhu, Gandi, Yozana, Dipani, Nissaya, Ayakauk and many other valuable documents.
So, in order to study Buddhism in both its aspects, theory and practice, Myanmar is the only country where one can learn the teachings of the Buddha in the truest sense of the term. As all are aware, at the present time in different parts of the world, people are confronted witty fear, anxiety, worry and sorrow because of conflicts, violent attacks, terrorism fighting demonstrations, killings, struggle between opposing factions and so on. And though there are many such miserable, extremely confused and worse situations, the principles of the Buddhas Teachings with regard to the benefit of humanity can certainly and definitely provide the world's people with ample guidance towards moral and spiritual well-being, lasting peace, and genuine happiness without any distinction of race, colour creed sect or religion.
All people can enjoy a peaceful and blissful life just by following the Five Precepts (i.e., not to kill any living being, not to steal, not to commit sexual misconduct, not the tell lies and not to take any intoxicating drinks or drugs, and by concentrating on the actual practice of loving kindness (Metta) to all sentient beings. And then to practise the universally relevant technique of Buddhist meditation of Mindful Awareness on one's own body and mind is vitally quite important for each and every person in order to discard the human idea of Ego or Self, Delusion, Craving, Attachment, and Wrong Views.
Therefore, the University's goal is to give these essential Teachings of the Buddha to the students who will in turn, share their knowledge of the Dhamma and disseminate it to other people, providing them golden opportunities to know the true Dhamma and practise it accordingly.
Last, but not least, all the people of our Theravada Buddhist country, Myanmar, are delighted and happy to acknowledge that the ITBMU will be a lasting sacred centre for the higher learning of Theravada Buddhism to purify, perpetuate and disseminate the Buddha Sasana throughout the world.