Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita, founder-President of Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore and its branches and sister organizations in Mysore, Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, was born in the eastern state of Manipur in India. He was born on March 12, 1922, a full moon day, in Imphal.
He was a bright student graduated from the Institute of Engineering Technology, Calcutta (Kolkata) in Automobile Engineering. He joined Government of India Defense Ordinance. The job took him to Malaysia, Singapore and various other places during the Second World War. He saw the destruction of life and 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 traveled through the length and breadth of India and studied Indian religions in various institutions.
In 1949 he took ordination as a Buddhist monk under the most Venerable Chandamani Mahathera, Abbot of Maha Parinibbana Vihara, Kushinara, U.P. He then studied Vinaya, Sutta, Abhidhamma and Pali in Sri Lanka and Burma and practiced meditation under the most eminent master like Mahasi Sayadaw. 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.
He taught Buddhology at the Nalanda Pali Postgraduate Institute, Bihar. In order to spread the teachings of the Buddha in his own quite way he resigned the job and started Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore on a piece of land offered by the niece of Ven. Anagarika Dhammapala, Maha Upasika Mrs. Bianca Moonasinghe, which was offered by the Maharaja of Mysore for the purpose of building a Buddhist center in Bangalore. Since then till his final days he was engaged in spiritual and humanitarian activities. He was a prolific writer and a compassionate Dhamma teacher giving every Sunday discourses.
Thus the Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore was founded in 1956. Since then he has been active in conducting weekly discourses on Buddhism, writing articles and books, creating awareness among the people of Karnataka and India about Buddhism. He extended his activities to other countries of the world to disseminate the noble teachings of the Buddha
His compassion prompted him to undertake many projects to alleviate suffering of people, like building medical centers, monastic institutes, residential schools in different parts of India for displaced and poor children.
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 250 monks from different parts of India who are getting monastic training in Bengaluru and other campuses.
|Name:||Venerable Dr. Acharya Buddharakkhita|
|Monastery:||Maha Bodhi Society, 14, Kalidasa Road, Gandhinagar, Bengaluru – 560009, India|
|Date of Birth||Holi Purnima 1922 (12-03-1922)|
|Date of Place||Imphal, Manipur, India|
|Parents’ Name||Father – Late Sri Vishnupada Bandopadhyaya
Mother - Late Smt. Sailavaladevi Bandopadhyaya
|Life of Renunciation||Undertook renunciation life on 15-8-1947|
|Buddhist monk|| Ordination took place on the Vesakh full moon day of 1949 (12-05-1949) at Kushinagar under the Most Venerable Chandamani Mahathera. Went to Sri Lanka for studies and got higher Bhikkhu ordination at Sri Maha Vihara, Nureliya, Sri Lanka in Udarata Amarapura Burmese Nikaya.
BUDDHIST STUDIES IN CEYLON, 1948-51
Venerable Nyanatiloka Maha Thera (Pali and Sutta Acharya),
Venerable Widurupola Piyatissa Maha Nayaka thera (Vinaya Acharya)
Venerable Rerukane Chandavimala Maha Nayaka thera (Abhiddhamma Acharya)
BUDDHIST STUDIES IN BURMA, 1951-54
Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw (Vipassana meditation Acharya)
Venerable U.Narada, Mula Patthana Sayadaw (Abhidhamma Psychology, Patthana)
Venerable Yamaka Sayadaw, Visuddharama, Mandalay, (Abhidhamma Acharya)
1952-54 Joined the Chatthasangayana Editorial Board of the Union Buddha Sasana Council as Pativisodhaka, assistant editor
|Lectures||Taught Abhidhamma at Nalanda Post Graduate Institute at Nalanda, Bihar. He also helped in editing the Nava Nalanda Tipitaka project. He taught at World University California since 1980 to 1998. He taught at Fo Kuang Shan University in Taiwan in 1992 for a semester. He has been giving regular talks at Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore every Sunday since 1956. He also taught at Cambridge and Oxford universities, in Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Burma.|
|Titles||Conferred “ACHARYA” title by Udarata Amarapura Nikaya, Sri Lanka in 1951.|
Ven.Acharya Buddharakkhita is like a shining pole star in the Dhamma horizon, having contributed in abundance in the spiritual field. Recognizing his lifetime dedicated service to the Buddha Sasana the Government of Myanmar has conferred on him the highest title of the country “Abhidhaja Aggamaha Saddhamma Jotika” and honored him. Several titles and honors have come to him which he says are nothing but humble flowers at the lotus feet of the Buddha.
On the special date of 11-11-11, full moon day, the Tumkur University honored him with Doctor of Literature for his contributions to Buddhist literature and lifetime selfless service.
On 13-5-2012 the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Bangkok, Thailand, honored him with Doctor of Pali Language.
Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita has been a dynamic Buddhist missionary. He started two kinds of activities motivated by wisdom and compassion – Spiritual Practice and Human welfare.
|1954-56||Taught at Nalanda Pali Postgraduate Institute. Subjects taught: Pali language and literature, Buddhist Psychology and Philosophy.|
|1956|| Founded Maha Bodhi Society, Bengaluru, India.
Established the Holy Bodhi tree and shrine. This Bodhi tree is a sapling of the original Holy Maha Bodhi Tree at Bodhagaya.
|1959||Founded Mahabodhi Maitri Mandala, devoted to humanitarian service in the filed of medical and educational work. Under this organization services to the poor students through giving them free education, hostel facilities are conducted. Many camps for leprosy patients, eye donation for blind people, cancer patients services are being conducted..|
|1962||Started monthly magazine SWAYAM SAHAYA which carried articles on application of Dhamma in daily life situations and social welfare with spiritual basis.|
|1964||Founded a model rural Hospital at Sakalavara, Anekal taluk for training medical personal for rural service. Meditation was also taught in this hospital as a therapeutic technique.|
|1966||Built the Mahabodhi Burns and Casualty Centre at the Victoria Government Hospital, Bengaluru and Burns wards at various district hospitals, such as Mysore, Hassan, Mandya, Tumkur etc.|
|1968||Started Mahabodhi Residential School for boys at Bengaluru.|
|1969||The Buddha Vachana Trust, a publishing section of the Maha Bodhi Society was established.|
|1969||Established Tipitaka Printing Press and training school for printing technology.|
|1971||Mahabodhi Maitri Medical Mission, which run holistic medical center.|
|1971||Established Mahabodhi Artificial Limb Centre.|
|1972||Established Arogya Foundation (India) and Arogya Hospital medical center dedicated to total health with multidisciplinary, holistic approach.|
|1972||Established Sevakshetra building.|
|1972||Started monthly Buddhist magazine DHAMMA|
|1976||Established the Institute of Pali Studies and Buddhalogy in Mysore.|
|1980 - 2000||Visited USA and taught Buddhism and Buddhist meditation in various educational institutions. Established a Meditation Centre at Big Bear, California, USA.|
|1984||Established the Mahabodhi Vishva Maitri Stupa. This is the first stupa built in India after the lapse of about 800 years during which Buddhism declined.|
|1984||Initiated TIPITAKA GRANTHAMALA PROJECT – to publish the entire Tipitaka in Kannada language.|
|1990||Taught at Fo Kuan Shan University in Taiwan.|
|1994||Built Mahabodhi Loka Shanti Buddha Vihara, Bengaluru – It is a replica of Mahabodhi temple in Buddhagaya|
|1995||Mahabodhi Community Centre- A hall used for community services and functions.|
|1999||Deutsch Buddhistische Humanitaere Verienigung (DBHV), Germany – an organization which runs regular meditation and dhamma study programs and supports the activities of the MBS|
|2000||Mahabodhi School, and Mahabodhi Carla Students Home Mysore – A new building was built to run a modern school based on moral education.|
|2001||Established Mahabodhi Monastic Institute, Bengaluru – the only monastic center with facilities for intensive dhamma studies and practice. At present it has 100 monks under training.|
|2002||Blessed the Mahabodhi Metta Foundation, Switzerland which supports the spiritual and social welfare activities of MBS.|
|2003||Mahabodhi Nalanda Hostel for Monks at Bengaluru – To accommodate 150 monks a beautiful hostel building was built.|
|2003|| Maha Bodhi Society Branch in Arunachal Pradesh
Mahabodhi School and Mahabodhi Hostel, Diyun.
|2003||Association Mahabodhi Karuna, France – It was started to conduct meditation programs and to support educational activities.|
|2003||Mahabodhi Buddhist Center, Lindenfels, Germany was started to conduct dhamma study and meditation teaching. Regular programs are conducted in this center|
|2003||Mahabodhi Mettaloka Youth Center, Mysore – A hostel for boys who have completed high school. At present there are 50 boys staying in this hostel.|
|2004||Mahabodhi Karuna Belgium – was started to conduct dhamma teaching programs and to support educational activities of MBS.|
|2005||Mahabodhi Metta Charitable Fund, USA – to support the activities of MBS|
|2006||Mahabodhi Academy for Pali & Buddhist Studies (Correspondence Course), which conducts two year Diploma in Buddhist Studies course. The Government of India has granted funds for this Academy.|
|2007||Mahabodhi Rita Girls Home, Diyun, Arunachal Pradesh – A new hostel for girls was started. At present 175 poor girls live in this hostel who are provided with all the needs free of cost by the MBS.|
|2007||Survey of Buddhist Communities in India – To understand the situation of Buddhist community in India.|
|2007||Mahabodhi Maitri Mandala, Tawang Branch was started. The center runs an old age home and girl’s hostel|
|2008||Mahabodhi Dhammaduta Vihara –a Center for Moral and Spiritual Education, Alur, Bengaluru is under development|
|2009||Establishment of Deomali Branch, Arunachal Branch|
|2010||Establishment of Bhagavan Buddha University of Pali and Theravada Buddhism|
|2011||Establishment of Satipatthana Bhavana Kutir for running meditation retreats for monks.|
|2012||Establishment of Mahabodhi Karuna Medical Center|
|2013||Passed away peacefully at the age of 92 leaving a legacy of Dhamma for his monastic and lay followers.|