News No. 02/2012, January 04, 2012
Venerable Sadhanananda Mahathero Bana Bhante’s 93rd birthday will be celebrated in Rangamati on 8 January.
The Raj Bana Vihara, the abode of the Great Bhante, has chalked out detailed programmes to mark the day.
As part of the programmes, on 3 January, a total of 294 Buddhist lay persons were permitted to become novice, according to a report published in Prothom Alo today.
The Dhammakaya Foundation of Thailand and Rangamati Raj Bana Vihara Management Committee jointly organized the initiation of mass novicehood.
In his speech, a venerable Buddhist monk from Thailand said the Dhammakaya Foundation has organized the programme to mark Bana Bhante’s 93rd birthday, to spread the teachings of the Buddha, to exchange religious culture and to pray for the happiness of all being in the world including Bangladesh and Thailand.
Then, the Chakma Raja Barrister Devashish Roy, adviser of the Raj Bana Vihara Management Committee, inaugurated the programme by lighting three candles.
He said, ‘Today will be a memorable day for the Buddhist community of Bangladesh. With this programme, the relations between Thailand and Bangladesh will further be strengthened.’
A Dhammakaya Foundation official expressed satisfaction at the way Buddhism is being practiced in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Bana Bhante is the most revered Buddhist monk in Bangladesh. Born on 8 January 1920 into an ordinary Chakma family in Muroghona village under Boradom Mouza in Rangamati district, the Bhante is believed to have attained arhanthood or supreme bliss, which means that he has overcome rebirth and death.
Bana Bhante, whose original name was Rathindra Chakma, renounced the world in 1949 at the age of 29 and became a Buddhist monk at Nandan Kanon Buddhist temple in Chittagong.
Later, he went through a rigorous meditation in the jungles of Dhanpada and Dighinala for fourteen years, enduring bodily pains and hardships, ignoring extreme heat and cold and braving incessant rain.
Bana Bhante’s contribution to the revival and spread of Buddhism in the CHT is immense. He has a distinguished ability to illustrate and explain the Dhamma of the Lord Buddha in plain language, using similes and parables. The devotees listen to his deshana or religious lectures with rapt attention.