A cool and fresh breeze swept over the calm surface of the impressive and splendid famous Ayeyawaddy River of Myanmar and hit the West Bank. Its velvet feel touched the cheeks o f the members of Sanghas and the lay persons attending the merit sharing and libation ceremony rallied around the temporary venue at the base of the newly built five story hospital annex of the Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospital in Sagaing Hills.
The new hospital annex is named in a dignified term as “Annanda Gonyee Shwe Mann Yadanar Annex”.
Sagaing is the capital of Sagaing Region (formerly Sagaing Division) in Myanmar. Located on the Ayeyawaddy River, 20 km to the south-west of Mandalay on the opposite bank of the river, Sagaing with numerous Buddhist monasteries is an important religious and monastic center. The pagodas and monasteries crowd the numerous hills along the ridge running parallel to the river. The central pagoda, Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, is connected by a set of covered staircases that run up the 240 meter hill.
Sagaing was the capital of Sagaing Kingdom (1315–1364), one of the minor kingdoms that rose up after the fall of Bagan dynasty, where one of Thihathu’s sons, King Athinkhaya Saw Yun, established himself. During the Ava period (1364–1555), the city was the common fief or rented area for which the payment is work for the crown prince or senior princes. The city briefly became the royal capital between 1760 and 1763 in the reign of King Naungdawgyi.
It was a soft and serene Saturday morning of 26 March 2016 and the whole environment at Sagaing Hills remained calm and tranquil hailing the cheerful ceremony of merit sharing and libation for the five storey hospital annex.
The stage was set to begin as the master of ceremonies or MC clasped the microphone in both hands as a gesture of respectful manner in keeping the event moving in front of the members of Sanghas, donors’ family and lay persons.
A Short Brief
At this juncture, a short background and explanation is needed for the esteemed readers of the Global New Light of Myanmar on how a new five storey hospital annex came into existence at the Wachet Sangha Hospital at the remote Sagaing Hills.
In fact, the main Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospital itself came into existence “From a plain hut to a modern hospital” in the remote jungle at the earnest endeavor of compassionate and kindhearted Venerable Kyaswa Religious Resort Sayadaw Bhaddanta Dr. Lakkhana and his small group of donors and lay disciples back in 1984.
That was another event and story to be emulated among the episodes of rural health care for the poor and marginalized people being undertaken by most venerable members of Sanghas across the country in Myanmar.
It started with a joyful phone call from Sagaing Hills by Hospital Administrator on 22 January 2015 at 9:00 am on a beautiful morning. From Sagaing, he informed the Honorary Secretary of Lower Myanmar Executive Committee in Yangon that a donor couple from Mandalay has verbally committed and dedicated to donate cash of Myanmar Kyats 100 million to build a hospital annex building adjacent to the existing main Wachet Hospital. The Administrator also informed the Honorary Secretary in Yangon that the Upper Myanmar Executive Committee Chairman and the most experienced Hospital Construction Engineer of Sagaing and the donor from Mandalay were looking for an appropriate construction site inside the spacious compound of the hospital right away.
The good news spread like wild fire among Wachet Donors’ Circle in Sagaing, Mandalay and Yangon.
How come the donor couple decided to contribute that much money?
It was 21 January 2015, one day earlier; the spacious Wachet Hospital was crowded with patients, assisting family members and helpers. The patients, including poor and marginalized, from far and near came to Wachet in seeking medical treatment.
It was high time with tight schedules because many foreign expert teams were there at the same time namely Italian Team headed by senior surgeon Dr. Robin Chan; Australian Team under Myanmar Eye Care Program (MECP); and Japan Heart Team headed by Dr. Yoshioka. Medical Superintendent of Wachet Hospital, Myanmar senior doctors from Mandalay and trained nurses were also there at the hospital to take care of the patients. The foreign expert teams drew a lot of patients and the assisting helpers at that particular time.
On the same day of 21 January 2015, U Than Tun Oo of Mandalay, later to become the donor, was at the Wachet Hospital accompanying his father in seeking treatment from Italian senior surgeon Dr. Robin Chan.
U Than Tun Oo was looking around the precinct of Wachet Hospital and saw many people were talking shelter under the trees or any shade available. They have no proper place to sit and wait in a crowded situation. The Wachet Hospital could not accommodate properly to most crowded patients and helpers seeking treatments from three foreign teams.
“Surely, one hospital annex is in need” was the notion that came across the mind of U Than Tun Oo.
On 21 January 2016, U Than Tun Oo decided to donate.
On 22 January 2016, U Than Tun Oo and responsible persons of the hospital search for a site in the compound of Wachet Hospital. They found an appropriate site at the southern end of the compound adjacent to the main Wachet Hospital Building side by side with the neat and clean dining hall.
On 23 January 2016, U Than Tun brought in Myanmar Kyats 200 million, doubled the amount that he had earlier committed. He donated all into the good hands of Upper Myanmar EC at the presence of the members of Sanghas. It was a simple merit sharing and libation ceremony conducted on the ground intended for the five storey annex building.
Only then, the names of the donors were come into notice. They are U Than Tun Oo, wife Daw Swe Zar Lynn and baby daughter Ma Yadanar Pyae. They are cool, calm and kindhearted, with high sense of generosity and above all staying in a low profile.
Among the Wachet Donors’ Circle, the new donor family of Mandalay is termed as “This sort of donor does exist, but very rare.”
Immediately construction started for the five storey hospital annex.
The purpose of the donation is crystal clear.
It is meant to accommodate and to put under the shade of the building all the patients, their assisting family members, the helpers, the foreign doctors, the local doctors, the trained nurses, and hospital basic workers. It is meant for OPD patients as well as overnight stay.
Looking back, it was like a dream. The amount of cash donated was in fact not a small amount. It was Kyats 200 million.
First day, the expected donor came to the hospital seeking medical treatment for his father. He witnessed a large crowd of people in need of shelter. He decided to donate.
Second day, the donor came in and search for a site for construction.
Third day, he brought in Kyats 200 million in cash and donated with a simple merit sharing and libation ceremony.
Within one short year, the Five Storey Hospital Annex at Wachet Sangha Hospital in Sagaing Hills is completed through the team work of the people involved.
That was the simple story of the hospital annex.
Next, the master of ceremonies outlined the libation and merit sharing ceremony.
Exactly at 7:30 am, the Holy Pali verse “Jayandaw Bawtiya Mulay” was recited and the ceremonial ribbon at the entrance of the Hospital Annex successfully cut open by Patron Sayadaw, donors’ family and Executives of Upper Myanmar, Lower Myanmar and well wishers.
Next, the commemorative record slab was splashed and sprinkled with scented water by leading Sayadaws and well wishers.
It was followed by observing five precepts delivered from Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Mandalay Maha Wizitaryone Sayadaw.
Next, members of Sanghas recited Parittas and then cash and kind were donated to the Sanghas.
After that, the donor U Than Tun Oo made a short supplication in connection with his donation for the hospital annex.
On behalf of Upper Myanmar and Lower Myanmar ECs, the Honorary Secretary of Yangon spoke words of thanks to all concern involved in the hospital annex project.
Finally, a sermon on the good deeds in connection with the merit sharing and libation ceremony was delivered by Agga Maha Pandita Mandalay Awayar Rama Yankin Sayadaw.
The Merit Sharing and Libation Ceremony of Five Storey Hospital Annex at Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospital in Sagaing Hills were successfully concluded by reciting “Buddha Saranam Siram Tatetahtu” three times.