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Shilabhadra


Shilabhadra (7th century) Buddhist scholar, came from a royal Brahmin family of the samatata area of Bengal. He is thought to have been born at Nabadvip or Rampal of vikrampur . He received indoctrination in buddhism after visiting many places in India and came to be known as Dandadeva. Shilabhadra, a follower of Basubandhu, later became a disciple of Acharya Dharmapala, principal of Nalanda University. He defeated a Deccan Brahmin scholar in a debate at the age of 30. Pleased by his scholarship, the king of Magadha gave him a reward that he spent to establish a Buddhist vihara.

Shilabhadra was well-versed, in addition to Buddhism, in the vedas, philosophy, medicine etc. He became the head of the academic programmes and then chancellor of the Nalanda Mahavihara in 635. The inmates of the sangha (society) awarded him the title Saddharmanidhi. The Chinese traveller Hsuen Tsang came to Nalanda in 637 and took lessons in yoga from Shilabhadra. Another Chinese traveller called Hui Lee noted that Shilabhadra had mastered all the scriptures of Buddhism. The translation of his book Aryabuddhabhumibyakhyana (Introduction to the land of the Aryan Buddhism) has been preserved at Tengur in Tibet. [Kanailal Ray]