Mahabodhi Society

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Mahabodhi Society Buddhist organisation, established in Kolkata in May 1892, chapter of the Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka, founded by the Sri Lankan scholar, anagarik dharmapal, on 31 May 1891 in Colombo. The purpose of the Mahabodhi Society was to revitalize buddhism and improve the condition of Buddhists.

The first president of the society was Sir asutosh mookerjee and its general secretary, Anagarik Dharmapal. A vihara was inaugurated by Dharmarajik Chaitya at 4-A Bankim Chatterjee Street in Kolkata on 20 November 1920, where some relics of gautam buddha were deposited. The society initiated moves to revive Buddhism throughout India by propagating Buddhist teachings and ideals. It also attempted to reestablish the rights of Buddhists at Buddhagaya and to revive Buddhist sites of pilgrimage.

In 1900, the society set up four branches at Buddhagaya, Madras and Kushinagar in India and at Anuradhapur in Sri Lanka. A vihara was also established at Buddhagaya. The society was successful in getting four Buddhists inducted into the board of directors of Buddhagaya vihara after India gained independence in 1947. Lately, the Indian Government has given the responsibility of running the temple to a Buddhist bhiksu. In due course, branches of the society were set up at Bombay, Delhi, Lucknow, Ajmer, Sanchi, Bhubaneswar, and Rajasthan.

Apart from Sir Asutosh Mookerjee, other famous men who were associated with the society included Mahatma Gandhi, Rajendra Prasad, Deshbandhu chitta ranjan das, rabindranath tagore, S Radhakrishnan and Raja Gopalachari.

The society publishes books on Buddhism, and has published translations of the tripitaka in different Indian languages. It has been publishing Mahabodhi, a journal, since 1892. [Rebatpriya Barua]