(12th March, 1922 to 23rd Sept. 2013)
Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita Bhante, the founder of Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore, passed away on 23rd September 2013 at the age of 91. The funeral was held on Friday, September 27, 2013 at Mahabodhi Dhammaduta Vihara, Alur, near Bangalore. He was popularly known as “Bada Bhanteji”. Ven. Acharya Buddharakkhita, a graduate in Automobile Engineering from Institute of Engineering Technology, Kolkata, had initially served Government Defense Ordinance during the Second World War. The job took him to Malaysia, Singapore and various other places during the Second World War. He saw the destruction of life, property and misery that the war brought in the lives of people, which led him to turn towards spirituality. He resigned his job and left his home in search of truth and freedom. For some years he travelled through the length and breadth of India and studied Indian religions in various institutions. He had also participated in the “Quit India Movement” and was subsequently jailed for those activities.
He was born in Bandopadhyaya family at Imphal, Manipur State in 1922. He became a Buddhist Monk in 1948. His ordination took place on the Vesakh Full Moon Day under Venerable Chandramani MahaThera of Burma (Myanmar). He went to Sri Lanka for studies and got higher Bhikkhu Ordinations at Sri Maha Vihara, Sri Lanka in Udarata Amarapura Burmese Nikaya. He was conferred “Acharya” title in 1951. After studying Buddhist philosophy, psychology and meditation in Sri Lanka and Myanmar for six years, he returned to India and founded the Maha Bodhi Society in 1956. Under his leadership, the society started schools, hostels, hospitals and an artificial limb centre. He established Holy Bodhi tree and shrine. This Bodhi Tree is a sapling of the Original Holy Maha Bodhi Tree at Bodha Gaya, Bihar, India. Since then he was engaged in spiritual and humanitarian activities. He was a prolific writer and compassionate Dhamma Teacher. He has written over 50 books and published two magazines on Buddhism. Most of his books are well acknowledged by Buddhist intellectuals across the world. The government of Myanmar has honoured him with “Abhidhaja Aggamaha Saddhammajotika” award. He was a member of the editorial board of the Chattha Sangayana – the Sixth Buddhist Synod held in Rangoon, which brought out a complete edition of the Pali canon published by Myanmar Government.
He was conferred with doctorate degree by Tumkur University, Karanataka State & Mahachulalongkorn Rajamaha Vidyalaya University, Thailand. He was also awarded “Vidya Varidhi” by the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara University.
Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita had been a dynamic Buddhist missionary. He started two kinds of activities motivated by wisdom and compassion – Spiritual Practice and Human welfare.
During 1954 -56, he taught Buddhology at the Nalanda Pali Postgraduate Institute, Bihar.
In 2001 seeing the urgent need of training good monks in India, he started MAHABODHI MONASTIC INSTITUTE, BANGALORE, on the auspicious day of 2545th Buddha Jayanti Celebrations. Today the institute has the strength of 100 monks from different parts of India who are getting monastic training.
In 2006 at the age of 85 he established MAHABODHI ACADEMY FOR PALI & BUDDHIST STUDIES, which conducts Diploma courses in Buddhist Studies to spread the teachings of the Buddha. This is the result of his deep research and experience in the revival of Buddha Dhamma. The courses are offered in English and Kannada languages.
His demise is an irreparable loss to the entire Buddhist Society in India.
Published in Issue IV, October 2013