Mahasthavir, Bangshadip

Mahasthavir, Bangshadip (1880-1970) Buddhist preacher, was born in Naikhain village in patiya upazila under chittagong district on 28 Magh 1287 BS (1880 AD). The name given to him by his father was Pranahari. After passing the Entrance Examination, he started working in the Railway Department. But after some time he left both his job and family and moved to Burma (Myanmar). There he was initiated into asceticism by U Sagara Mahasthavir, the abbot of Vaijayantee Vihara, and given a new name, 'Bangshadip'.

After studying Buddhist scriptures and pali in Burma for four years, Bangshadip went to Sri Lanka. There he studied the Pali language, its grammar and the tripitaka for about five years under the guidance of different Buddhist scholars. After his return to his homeland he founded a Pali education centre at Bodhisattwa Vihara situated in Bakkhali village under Patia thana and started teaching.

Bangshadip convened a conference of Bhikshus (Buddhist monks) to propagate Buddhist philosophy of life. Following a resolution adopted in this conference, an organisation called 'Jinshassan Samagam' was established to inspire Bhikshus to lead a modest life and family men to lead lives free from illusion. As a result of the efforts of Bangshadip and support from Acharya Purnananda Swami, studies in Pali Language were included in the curriculum of the Sanskrit Education Board and a Pali College, approved by the Government, was established at the Kartala-Relkhain Saddharmalangkar Vihar. Due to his efforts, an educational institution called Nalanda Vidya Bhaban was established at Dharmangkur Bauddha Vihara in Kolkata which attracted students from different parts of the world.

Bangshadip wrote several books, among them Dharmasudha, Buddhavandana, Bhiksu Pratimoksa, Prajvabhavana, Padamala, Valavatar Vyakaran, and Kachchayan Vyakaran. These books continue to be taught in different educational institutions of the subcontinent. He also translated many Pali books into Bangla. Bangshadip died in Chittagong on 30 December 1970. [Bhikkhu Sunithananda]