THE VENERABLE METTEYYA SAKYAPUTTA
As news of this study group spread, children of all ages began to appear. At first, Awadhesh explained that this was a tutoring group for tenth graders. But with poverty smeared on their clothes and faces, the children came anyway - because there was no school in this village, and they wanted to learn. So slowly, Awadhesh and the other tutors became teachers. They were young and they saw a need, and they believed in what they could do to make a difference on that day – even if there were no funds or future plans. Soon there were classes, and Awadhesh organized a volunteer teaching force that carried sickles into the fields to cut the straw and bamboo needed to make their first office (see in the background of the picture). The first building had no walls, and it was built like most homes in Awadhesh village, by hand and with hope. It flooded in monsoon season, but the children did not stop coming and Awadhesh did not stop giving, working, talking with mothers and fathers, raising mere rupees, speaking on the importance of education, and receiving land donations. He did not wait to proceed through official channels or even for money. He motivated people. Awadhesh envisioned what this small tutoring project could become, and so it was. Today, that space under the mango trees is called the Metta Gurukul School. It teaches 685 students and employs 18 teachers to teach kindergarden through the eighth class.
Now an ordained Buddhist monk named the Venerable Metteyya, this young man has become a beloved Buddhism teacher around the world. He was one of the featured scholars in the 2010 PBS documentary “The Buddha”, and was portrayed alongside other well-known meditators in the 2014 documentary “On Meditation”. He was also a featured chapter in Allan Lokos’ book: “Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living.”
He is the founder of the Lumbini Social Service Foundation (LSSF), and in addition to the Metta Gurukul School he has opened a branch Metta school in a neighboring village, a college exclusively for rural girls (Karuna Girls College), a nunnery for young girls (Peace Grove Nunnery), and has also begun the construction of a peace education center and monastery for young boys (Bodhi Institute), all in his home community.
Compelled into action by the earthquake on April 25th, the Venerable Metteyya called upon his volunteers and supporters to contribute to this important humanitarian cause. Global Karuna was thus born out of a desire to serve and support the victims of this natural disaster with compassionate action. His new vision, Numuna Gaun – A Model Village, combines his passions for environmental consciousness, local empowerment, cultural heritage preservation, compassion, science and technology, and innovation.