Ven. Nandapal Mahathero

Ven. Nandapal Mahathero

Internationally accomplished, renowned Buddhist spiritual teacher, the shining star of Buddhism in Chittagong Hill Tract's(Rangamati,Khagrachari,Bandarban),Bangladesh, Buddha Ratna awarded, inspiring truth, founder of many Vana Vihars (temples) within and outside the country, the great ascetic, the highest adorable of His Holiness Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero's (popularly known as Vana-Bhante) chief disciple and worthy successor Ven. Nandapal Mahathero . Ven. Nandapal Mahathero son of Late Mr.Khagendra Chakma and Late Mrs.Kusum Lata Chakma, was born on 10th May1952, in a remote village at Balukhali, Rangamati, Chittagong Hill Tracts, then it was under East Pakistan now Bangladesh after the liberation war in 1971.

Early life:

They were six brothers and four sisters. He is the 3rd among his brothers and sisters. Before he was ordained as Shramana (novice life), his name was Sukendu Bikash Chakma. His parents were quiet economically backward, yet at the age of 10, his parents admitted him into a primary school of a nearby village. Since his childhood, he was good in his character. He was not like his restless friend, he was calm and quite. He was serious and thoughtful by nature that earned him a lot of affection and appreciation from the elders and relatives. Despite being too young, good senses always prevailed upon him, preventing his conscience from committing any sort of unethical and sinful activities; even he gives exhortation and encouraged his Companions (friends) to abstain from committing any sinful act. Ever since his childhood, his mind was deeply inspired spiritually. Once he heard the sermon of Ven. Sadanananda Mahathero (Vana Bhante), he was impressed, pleased and delighted by hearing that sermon. Since then, he was deeply encouraged, motivated and inspired by Vana Bhante's thought, and started studying different religious books and scriptures regularly with great enthusiasm.

Later (Sharman's and Bhikshu's) life:

With that great spiritual determination, at the age of 18, he was ordained as Shramana (novice life) by Sadanananda Mahathero widely known as (Vana Bhante), at Tintila Buddhist Shrine (Vana Vihar). He, thereafter with the approval of Vana Bhante, left Tintila Bana Vihar for Burma (now Myanmar) to study Buddhist scriptures. There at the age of 20, he was ordained as Bhikkhu (higher ordination/full fledged monk) by a wise monk named Ven.U Yalinda Mahathero (Head of the Sangha). There, he mainly studied theology such as 'Bhikkhu Pratimoksha', 'Bhikkhuni Pratimoksha', 'Lokaniti', 'Khudrashiksha' Abhidhamma and many more. After studying Buddhist scriptures for 2 years in Burma(now Myanmar),he along with Sangha Pal Bhikkhu returned to Vana Bhante at Tintila,Loungudu,Rangamati, as there was no other Bhikkhu or Shramana to look after Vana Bhante. So, he decided to stay back with Him in order to served and look after his spiritual teacher.

At Jam Chug and thereafter:

In the subsequent period, with the approval and blessing of Vana Bhante, he climbed up the Jam Chug mountain peak and continued to practice Insight Meditation (Vipassana) until he attained the highest level of supramundane wisdom. It is said that Ven. Nandapal Mahathero has attained enlightenment after rigorous practice of Insight wisdom (Vippassana) meditation for more than 17 years at Jam Chug. In 2000, with a view to preserving its (Dighinala Vana Vihar) past glory, by the approval of Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero (Vana Bhante), on behalf of the local peoples then CHT (Chittagong Hill Tracts) affairs minister Mr. Kalpa Ranjan Chakma invited Ven. Nandapal Mahathero to come and live permanently at Dighinala Vana Vihar, then he with warm and heartedly accepted the invitation and thereafter came with his disciples at Dighinala Vana Vihar. Since then on, still he is staying here as the head of Sangha. He (Ven. Nandapal Mahathero) is the chief disciple and worthy successor of the most of his Holiness Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero (Vana Bhante). In 1999, his spiritual teacher, Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero approved him to preach Buddha's teaching internationally. Since then (1999), with the blessing of his spiritual teacher, he has been doing his duties and responsibilities of preaching Buddha's teaching in Bangladesh as well as India. He (Ven. Nandapal Mahathero) established many Bana Vihar's, at different states of India such as Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar (Gaya), Assam, Tripura and Mizoram.............................. (On continue).

Ven.Nandapal Mahathero's rain-retreat places and time period

Places Time periods
Burma (Myanmar) 1971 and 1972 A.D
Longudu 1973 and 1974 A.D
Rangamati 1975, 1976, and1977 A.D
Kharegkhang 1978 A.D
Rangamati 1979, 1980, 1981, and 1982 A.D
Jam Chug 1983-1999 A.D
Dighinala 2000, 2001,2002,2003,2004 and 2005 A.D
Bodh Gaya and Lathao 2006, 2007,2008,2009,2010 A.D.
Tripura 2011 A.D.
Dhaka 2012 A.D.
Dighinala Vana Vihar 2013 A.D.
Sadhana Tila Vana Vihar Babuchara 2014 A.D.

A short note on His (Ven. Nandapal Mahathero) involvement and contribution during the establishment Of 'Rajvana Vihar'

If someone would like to remind and discuss how the 'Rajvana Vihar' was established? We must trace and remind the 2500 years back of the Buddha's time. During the Buddha's time, the great pious devotee Vishaka initiated the 'Kathin Chivar Danatotsav' of donating robes to the Monks by producing through a process of ginning the raw cotton and spinning it into yarn, then weaving the cloth with the yarn and so on, then spun it within 24 hours. In the late 1960's this initiation has widely spread all-around the places including Rangamati. So, in the early 1970's some distinctguished person contemplated for holding Katinchivar Dana with Ven. Sadanananda Mahathero (Bana Bhante) at Rangamati. They took a decision to invite and bring Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero permanently in Rangamati, because it would make easier for him to reach his teaching to the people to a large extent, as it is important, main town and centre point of Chittagong Hill Tracts. People came from all around the corners within Bangladesh and abroad. With this proposal they consulted with the Chakma Royal family, as soon as they proposed the decision, on the forthwith the Royal family accepted the proposal. Then they altogether made a plan and programme for holding 'Katinchivar Dana' at 'Rajvihar' as it was 'Vishaka' did during her time. Thereafter, one day in 1973, a group of well-known and distinctguished persons led by Prince Kokonakshya Ray, went to invite the most of His holiness Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero with a plate of flowers, just then he(Ven. Vana Bhante) did not touch the plate, it meant he refused the invitation. They became so much dejected, depressed, nervous, and hopeless. They could not find out any other alternative way. At last they went to Ven. Nandapal Mahathero and sought suggestion or help from him. Then he replied ''Don't be hopeless, once again all of you will come tomorrow morning, I will accompany you and try to convince him to accept your invitation.'' On the very next day Ven. Nandapal Mahathero (then he was just as a new ordained monk) led them and requested Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero to accept their invitation, and meanwhile he even explained to him that ''Bhante it would be the best for all, if you would accept their invitation'', as Buddhism is for educated persons, only the educated person can properly explain and understand well, what Buddhism really is? Then Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero shouted/screamed that ''educated person don't believe and have no faith in this religion (Buddhism)''. He further said, ''If one could pass I.A (intermediate), became blind with one eye, and if other one could pass B.A (graduation), became blind with both eyes''. It was very often that we always hear these words fromVen.Sadanananda Mahathero that he often used to say these words in his Dhamma lectures. Thereafter so, once again Ven. Nandapal Mahathero along with them requested and tried to convince him (Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero) to accept their invitation. After a prolong request by Ven. Nandapal Mahathero and others, finally Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero accepted the invitation on some conditions that he explained to prince Kokonakshya Ray, these were 'Donot provide any tea, and solid food in afternoon , in lieu of that you can provides medicine, cold drinks, syrups, fruit juices and sugar candy etc. So in 1974 Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero (Bana Bhante) was brought by a huge steamer to grace the occasion to be held at Rajvana Vihar, Rangamati. He did not stay long there as there was no good environment for him to live at, that time he was practicing Dutanga Sila's (ascetic practice by Bhikshus), soon then he appointed and approved his disciple Ven. Nandapal Mahathero in order to guide, monitor and look after the over all sections of development activities of the temple. Ven. Nandapal Mahathero was the main architect and chief patron to establish ''Rajvana Vihar''. During that time the new working committee of the Rajvana Vihar and the pious devotee queen Mrs. Arati Ray started to work all the development activities with the guideline of Ven. Nandapal Mahathero. Ven. Nandapal Mahathero by himself came and stayed there for three years in order to begin the development work and to make a good environment to live in, within these three years he made a good enough environment that Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero (Bana Bhante) could be able to live in the temple. In 1977, he along with Prince Kokonakshya Ray and the committee members went to invite Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero (Bana Bhante) to stay permanently at Rajvana Vihar and he was brought in RajvanaVihar, Rangamati. Since then Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero (Bana Bhante) lived permanently at RajvanaVihar until he gained his salvation there on 30th January2012. From here with the direction and blessing of Ven.Sadanananda Mahathero (Bana Bhante) Ven. Nandapal Mahathero has been continuing to preach Buddhism in Bangladesh as well as in India...................... (On continue). In the subsequent years with the guidelines of Ven. Nandapal Mahathero many developments took placed, much of the progress and development that presently, we could able to see in Rajvana Vihar was just because of his initiatives and guidance. So without any doubt we can say that Ven. Nandapal Mahathero's contribution to Rajvana Vihar is immeasurable. It is his credit, rejoicing, conceited and prides that whatever he has given to the Rajvana Vihar so far. We wish he will continue and do contribution to the Rajvana Vihar in the upcoming days without any hesitation.