Sayadaw U Sobhana, who is 89 years young, can always be seen smiling. On Sunday morning (June 13, 2010), he seemed more radiant and joyous to see the fruits of his "seed money" for the construction of U Silananda Hall (despite a world-wide economy slump). Sayadaw U Sobhana was not only the first donor, but also the largest donor. In 1954, Sayadaw U Sobhana offered to provide lodging for Sayadaw U Silananda in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Several decades later, Sayadaw U Silananda reciprocated by inviting Sayadaw U Sobahana [then residing and teaching dhamma in Thailand] to join him in the sasana propagation in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
Sayadaw U Sobhana often mentioned that he was 60 years young when he joined the Dhammananda Vihara [in Daly City] and he plans to live fully and meaningfully till he turns 120 years young (as in the zartar -- Myanmar natal horoscope). Sayadaw is an avid reader and has an outstanding memory. He knows not only the devotees, but also their extended families and the "Who's who" of the past gfenerations. Some may not know that Sayadaw wrote and taught "Fundamentals of Buddhism" from his hand-written notes (of about 1500 pages). We say "Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu" for his meritorious deeds in general and for his metta and cetana for making U Silananda Hall a reality and a haven for dhamma way farers practicing sila (morality), samadhi (concentration) and panna (wisdom) individually and collectively. It is fitting that Sayadaw U Sobhana was awarded a plaque by the TBSA Board of Directors for his generous contribution for U Silananda Hall.
Ko Stanley Khoo, one of the co-founders of TBSA and current President, menitioned that the project to build a multi-purpose Dhamma Hall in memory of "the Sun that rose in the East and untimely set in the West" need three pillars: (1) Finance (2) Planning and Implementation (3) Management.
Donors -- large and small, named and anoynomous -- helped considerably with the finance. In reply to the invitation to the opening ceremony, several devotees (including a monk from Kyoto, Japan) mailed their checks and/or pledged $500 for a "piece/portion" of the U Silananda Hall. We are sure to hear good news from Ma Shirley Win, who has tirelessly served as Tresurer (and Joint Treasurer) for nearly 15 years.
John Evans (architect) and Ko Maung Yin (Frank, constructor) were awarded plaques for making "Planning and Implementation" timely and professional by trying to meet the various laws and guide lines mandated by San Mateo Country and Half Moon Bay.
Last but not the least, Ko Kyaw Teza (Terrence, Secretary of TBSA) was awarded a plaque for excellent project management. He and Ko Tin Maung Lwin have helped Past President U Myat Htoo and current President Ko Stanley Khoo carry out the various projects at Dhammanada Vihara, Half Moon Bay.
Twenty six Theravada Buddhist monks and several hundred devotees and well-wishers came to remember and honor Sayadaw U Silananda. The kind weather, the sumptious food and invaluable mementos ("Paritta Protective Verses Chanting by Sayadaw U Silananda", "Fundamentals of Buddhism course given to children and young adults by Sayadaw U Silananda", "Commemorative Book Honoring Sayadaw U Silananda (in Myanmar and English) with bi-lingual captions photos, "Three dimensional posters", ...) all made the event enjoyable and memorable.
Sayadaw U Jotalankara, Sayadaw U Osadha, Ko Ye Sint, Ko Harry Than Htut, Ko Theikdi, Ma Maureen, Ko Nicholas Lee, Ko Thant Lwin Oo, Ko Phyo Aung, Ma Lily Kyauk, ... and the numerous authors (including Mr. Don Johnson and Mr. Gan [Singapore]) collaborated to remember Sayadaw U Silananda not only for his scholarly treatises, his dhamma dhuta missions, ... but also for his metta (unbounded love), karuna (compassion), ..., and equal treatment to devotees and students. For those who cannot yet get hold of the printed edition, we request you to download and enjoy the soft copy (PDF version) from TBSA web site.
U Silananda Hall has been completed, but as Ko Stanley Khoo reminded, "Today is just the beginning." We should all redouble our efforts to carry on Sayadaw U Silananda's legacy -- by volunteering with the Summer Dhamma Youth classes, by practicing Sayadaw's teachings, by making Sayadaw's works accessible in multi-media, by emulating Sayadaw and help the propagation of sasana.