11 February 2012

The Merits Gained From Thabarwa Center

The Merits Gained From
Thabarwa Center

I am serving as a hall warden in Yarkyaw Hall (Centenarians Hall) of Thabarwa Centre. There are many halls to provide shelter in the Centre. Each hall has assigned two wardens to take care of the resident yogis.  The warden has the duty to undertake the general cleanliness and sanitation of the hall as well as the compound.  She has to bring meals for the old and infirm residents.  She has to bathe, wash and clean the invalid, the visually impaired (blind), and sick grandpas and grandmas and also wash their clothes. For those who cannot eat by themselves she has to feed them and nurse them. She also has to persuade them to observe the precepts of morality, listen to Dhamma sermons and practice meditation.

Most of the poor and helpless grandpas and grandmas who come to the Centre for refuge are old and feeble, reaching 70, 80 and even 90 years of age. One grandma under my charge is 105 years old. Some grandmas cannot even remember their names or remember anything at all. They are brought to the Centre by the social services of the wards and villages. The Centre takes care of their daily food, clothing as well as medical attention. So they have nothing more to worry. Even on the event of death the Centre performs their last funeral rites and gives them a decent burial.  Their main duties are to observe the precepts of morality and practice Dhamma meditation to gain peace of mind.

The sole purpose of the Venerable Sayadaw U Ottamasara is to bring peace and comfort to the old, abandoned by their relatives, to guide them to practise meditation, observe Dhamma teachings and gain merit. Sermons are delivered by Sayadaw in the Dhammayone Hall for the Yogis who can attend in person. For those yogis who are too ill or feeble to attend the Dhammayone, the sermons are recorded and transmitted to the halls from 5 am in the morning to 10 pm in the evening. Power is provided by DC generators operating from the Centre.

The old grandpas and grandmas come from different backgrounds. Some are suffering from paralysis due to stroke. Some have mental problems, and severe depression. Some are blind due to diabetes. Some suffer from acute dementia. Some cannot walk. Some suffer from depression by being left alone in the house with no companionship because their sons, daughters have to earn their livelihood outdoors, leaving them in solitude. Many such old people cannot attend to their own personal toilet needs and had to be cleaned by the wardens and young volunteers.

Peace and tranquility prevail in the Centre because of boundless metta, compassion and generosity of Sayadaw.  As wardens we also gain merit to nurse the old persons like our own parents. We encourage them to understand the compassion of Sayadaw who works so selflessly for their welfare. We guide them to practice Dhamma meditation free from worry and tension. We attend to the sick and invalid persons full time as nurses to bring some relief from pain and suffering.  For those who have to be sent to the hospital for in-patient treatment, food and expenses are provided by the Centre. Fellow yogis from the Centre volunteered to attend to   their needs.  Sayadaw personally visited the hospital and give sermons to dying patients. Funeral services and alms donations are also provided by the Centre. 

By Myint Myint Sein
Hall Warden