The Bhante Award honors Sam Dech Preah Venerable V. B. Dharmawara Mahathera, a Cambodian born Theravada monk who became President of the World Buddhist Fellowship and founder of the scientific Institute of Buddhology. Known to his friends and the world by the simple ministerial title Bhante (dear one, reverend).
Bhante was born February 12, 1889 and died at the age of 110 on June 26, 1999. He was known as a high-ranking Buddhist Monk who advised Kings of Cambodia and Prime Ministers of India among others. He was the doctor to Jarharwal Lal Nehru. He was friend and confidant to the Dalai Lama of Tibet. More important he was credited with the rebirth of Buddhism in India. Bhante converted Ambedkar who is credited with converting millions of people on one day. Ambedkar’s birthday is celebrated as a holiday each year in modern India.
Bhante practiced healing in the Forest tradition in Thailand before traveling through Burma and India where he spent much of his life. He studied natural healing and became well known for his healing abilities as well as for his service to India.
At the age of 80, Bhante moved permanently to the United States and worked to help settle the thousands of refugees who fled there from the war in Cambodia. He founded a large Buddhist cultural center in Stockton California now named in his honor.
Bhante was mentor to many people. His contributions to natural healing, the use of color visualizations and his translation of much of the early Buddhist Healing Practices from ancient text are what he has left behind. His work lives on through his many devoted students.
HSC honors his memory by remembering his now famous belief that, “We are what we eat, drink, think and do” and presenting our DSA in honor of his exemplary life and contributions to civil society.