Bangladesh Bauddha Kristi Prachar Sangha

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Bangladesh Bauddha Kristi Prachar Sangha a Buddhist organisation, originally established as East Pakistan Bauddha Kristi Prachar Sangha on 4 December 1949 at Lakhera Abhoy Vihara in patiya. Its objective was to consolidate the social, cultural and religious position of Buddhists in newly created Pakistan. It took the present name after the liberation of Bangladesh. The president of its first executive committee was Srimat Dharmadarshi Mahathera and its general secretary Srimat Bangish Bhikkhu. Some eminent Buddhists were made patrons and a board of trustees was formed.

Since its inception, the Sangha has campaigned for reserved quotas for Buddhist students in higher education and government jobs, for excavation and preservation of ancient Buddhist sites and for the declaration of a national holiday on buddha purnima. In the 1954 general elections in East Pakistan, Sudhangshu Bimal Barua of the Sangha was elected to the Legislative Assembly from a reserved constituency.

In 1960, Dharmarajik Bauddha Vihara was established in dhaka under the auspices of the Sangha and the headquarters of the Sangha were set up there. Later, an orphanage, a primary school, a middle school, a technical school, a charitable dispensary and a prayer hall of international standard were also set up. The Sangha accorded a reception at the vihara to King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit of Thailand in 1962. In 1963 the president of the Sangha, bishuddhananda mahathera, led a delegation to China to request the repatriation of the ashes of atish dipankar srijnan. In 1978 Atish Dipankar's ashes were returned to Bangladesh.

After 1971, the Sangha undertook various activities to revive and promote Buddhist civilisation and culture. In 1983, it observed the 1000th birth anniversary of Atish Dipankar and in 1987 it organised an international seminar on the Paharpur Buddhist civilisation.

Since 1985 the Sangha has been organising annual cultural competitions among children and youths. Since 1956 it has been publishing Krsti, a bilingual literary and cultural magazine and a literary journal, Chaityagram. The Sangha set up Bangladesh Bauddha Kristi Prachar Sangha at Buddhagaya in India and constructed a vihara there. In 1999 kathin chivar dan was celebrated for the first time at this vihara. [Sukomal Barua]