26, Oct 2008 — The Chairman of the ATBU has been awarded two honorary doctorate degrees in seven months, one from Mahamakut Buddhist University in Bangkok, Thailand and the other by Nalanda University, India.
In his country, Myanmar, the Most Ven. Dr. Ashin Nyanissara, better known as Sitagu Sayadaw, is recognised as an able monk best known to the people for his elaborate and clear dhamma preaching and his water distribution project. For nearly forty years, he has been the most highly sought after preacher; and everyday for more than twenty years, he distributes water to hundreds of monasteries and nunneries scattered over the Sagaing Hills. Outside Myanmar, he is better known for his social projects that include the best-equipped eye-hospital in the country and recently a relief project undertaken on a huge a scale to help the Nargis Cyclone victims and a Buddhist university, known as Sitagu International Buddhist Academy.
The two universities, both members of the ATBU, decide to award the highest honorary degree in recognition of those decades long distinguished services that the Most Venerable has rendered towards relieving social hardship as well as the perpetuation and propagation of the Buddha's teachings.
Prior to this award, the Venerable Dr. Ashin Nyanissara has already received a D.Lit. from Yangon University in 2000 and an honorary PhD from Mahachulalongkorn University in 2005.
While Mahamakut Buddhist University awarded the degree in April this year, Nalanda University, where the degree is officially called Vidya Varidhi, awards the degree today, Monday 27th October 2008, as part of its Founder's Day celebrations. Nalanda University also offers the honorary degree to another internationally renown Buddhist scholar and Zen meditation master, Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh.