THE chief monk of Mahindrama Buddhist Temple, Venerable Elgiriye Indaratana Maha Thera, has died at the age of 66.
He passed away due to end-stage renal failure at a private hospital in Bayan Lepas, Penang yesterday.
The late chief monk, who marked his brand as the ‘compassionate chief monk’, had pledged his life to a mission of serving the sick, old and unfortunate.
Due to the ongoing movement control order (MCO), Mahindrama Buddhist Temple vice-chairman Dr Surya Dharamdass said the three-day wake until tomorrow will not be open to the public.
“If anyone hopes to pay their last respects, they can do some chanting at home and transfer the merits to Ven Indaratana.”
Ven Indaratana’s cortege is set to depart for Bukit Gantong Crematorium from the temple at 2pm tomorrow.
Dr Surya said Ven Indaratana dedicated his life to various causes including helping the poor, regardless of race, religion or creed based on the principles of loving kindness and compassion.
In 1996, he established Amata Free Medical Centre at the temple’s monk quarters.
“Its mission was to provide free medical service to the poor based on the principles of loving kindness and compassion.
“In the 1990s, he regularly visited homes of the sick, poor and elderly as part of his welfare work.
“He then decided that it would be appropriate to have a home to house and care for old folks.
“From there, the idea of initiating the old folk’s home under the temple came about — Mahindrama Sarana Old Folk’ Home.
“In 2003, Ven Indaratana announced another initiative, a programme to help those living with HIV or AIDS called Mitta For Life.
“This is done by providing emotional support through counselling and creating awareness to educate the public through the publication of beneficial information.
“Later, this initiative was expanded to help those afflicted with cancer, alcohol and drug abuse as well.
“And in 2005, as the number of cancer cases increased with a total of 30,000 new cases detected annually, the late chief monk established Mitta for Life Cancer Counselling Centre.
“It is to provide free counselling and related services to cancer patients and their loved ones in coping with the illnesses.
“In July 2016, he launched Mahindrama Bhojana Kitchen to distribute meal boxes to needy and elderly every Thursday evening.
“This is done with the help of a food truck, acquired with kind contributions from sponsors.”
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