Buddhist bookstore Sukhi Hotu to close

by Adrian Chan, The Star, 26 April 2016

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia -- A BUDDHIST bookstore in Petaling Jaya will be closing its doors at the end of this month, after having served the community for nearly two decades.

<< Sukhi Hotu was once a treasure trove for avid Buddhist readers with its more than 2,000 individual titles.

Sukhi Hotu, which was named after the ancient Pali greeting “may you be well and happy”, caters specifically to English-readers in the local Buddhist community.

It first opened its doors in Taman Mayang in 1997 and subsequently moved to Ara Damansara.

At its peak, the store offered more than 2,000 unique titles, a treasure trove for those seeking books on Buddhism written in English.

However, declining sales since 2014 has made operations a growing concern.

“In a week, there may be two or three days in which there are no walk-in customers,” said general manager Aaron Lee, 39.

He explained that more than 70% of the Buddhist community here were those who speak Chinese.

“Of the remaining who are English-speaking, those who have the habit of reading are even fewer,” he said.

But the news was not all gloomy, said the former surveyor who has been working with the book store for the past 10 years.

Sukhi Hotu’s shop in Air Itam, Penang, which opened a year after the one in Petaling Jaya, is still doing reasonably well.

Lee pointed out that its location, next to the famous Taman Emas Kopitiam, was patronised by tourists and locals alike.

Starting next month, the Penang shop will be the sole retail store for Sukhi Hotu.

“It is a shame for Sukhi Hotu to close down,” said Lee.

He said the bookstore held a full set of Pali Text Society’s English translation of the Buddhist scriptures, along with its commentaries, the sole company in Malaysia to do so.

The store also sells a series of meditation cushions that they have designed themselves and are made locally.

Despite closing down its retail shop in Petaling Jaya, the company will still be accepting mail orders.

“The inventory here will be kept in storage.

“Now that the physical shop is closed, I can focus my resources on moving everything online,” said Lee.

The shop’s business model will be changed entirely, he said, elaborating that it would focus on selling its products via its website.

“Right now, we need support from the community.

“If sales builds up, then maybe we can partner with a logistics company to commit to making daily deliveries,” he said.

Lee said Sukhi Hotu was trying its best to catch up to the times.

“In this day and age, we need to connect with the people more pro-actively,” he said.

Despite going through a transitional phase, Lee promised that the shop would hold on to its values.

“Our aim is still to complement the spiritual lifestyle of the Buddhist community, to serve the Buddhist sangha and promote its teachings,” he said.

The Petaling Jaya shop will officially cease operations on May 1.

The shop is located at Pusat Perdagangan Dana 1 in Ara Damansara or call 03-7842 6828.

Alternatively, visit www.sukhihotu.com

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv