By Manimoy Dewan, Secretary Condolence Committee, Kolkata
CHAKMA RAJGURU VENERABLE AGGAVAMSA MAHATHERA
(1921 – 2008)
The Chakma Rajguru Most Venerable Aggavamsa Mahathera was born on 8th December 1921 in a village which was surrounded with lush green hills and dense forest called Kutubdia in Chittagong Hill Tracts. His fathers name was Rudrasingh Mahajan and mother Dakhini Chakma Tong Changya. His parent gave his name as Fulanath Tang Changya. He grew with the boundless natural beauty of the valley. When he was young he realized that the power of knowledge and wisdom could develop the people of Chittagong Hill Tracts. He began his formal education in Rainkhong Kutubdia Christian School. His teachers” name was Mon Bahadur. After completion of his primary education he was admitted to Rangunia High School and later Koya Para High School. In the year 1937 on the full moon of Baisakhi Purnima he became “Samanera” i.e., ordained pabajjya at the age of 16 years in Rainkhong Kutubdia Aryapur Boudha Vihar situated at the bank of river Rainkhong, under the supervision of Venerable. Tessa Mahathera, the Lord abode of the Vihara.
In the year 1942 at the age of 21 years he took higher ordination of Upasampada on the full moon of Baisakhi Purnima under the Venerable U. Pajna Mahathera and lead a monastic life and continued with education. In the year 1947 on 15th June he came to Rangoon (Myanmar) for higher education and to learn meditation. He obtained M.A. degree in Buddhist philosophy. He has been honoured as “Vinaya Visaradh” by the Let Perhang University and Kamaihada University of Burma. He took training on Bidarshan Bavana in Internationally famous Bidarshan Bhavana centre at Mahasiadh Bidarshan centre for 5 month and honoured as Bidarshan Acharya. He spent 10 years in Rangoon and became renowned scholar in Theravada Buddhism. He worked in the protocol section of 6th Sangiti from 1953 to 1955.He has been honoured as “Tripitak Visaradh” by the Sangha Raj Bhikku Mahasabha of Chittagong. He has represented in the 3rd world Buddhist conference from Chittagong Hill Tracts.
On 26th December 1957 he returned to his motherland. In the year 1958 on the request of the Chakma Raja His Highness Tridiv Roy, he became the Lord Abbot of Raj Vihara and honoured as CHAKMA RAJGURU.Such an honoured was and unprecedented event in the entire Chittagong Hill Tracts. It was a memorable occasion for Venerable Aggavamsa Mahathera the way the Royal family and the people made him as a CHAKMA RAJRURU. At that time situation was different. The people were confused on Buddhism represented by the illiterate Rauli Monk influenced by tantricism. He began to work for the revival of Therovada Buddhism, Buddhist culture and education. RajGuru Ven. Aggavamsa Mahathera moved from village to village, preaching the people on Therovada Buddhism. He brought waves on Buddhist culture amongst the people. He re-established Katrina Civara Dana Ceremony, Buddha Puja, in a manner followed by the ancient Buddhist under his able guidance and continued efforts a great social and religious revival took place in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. He was a great social and religious reformer in Chittagong Hill Tracts.
He became Mahathera on 9th April 1965.He founded Boudha Juba Sangha, Aryapur M.E School, now Kangra Chari High School, Bagal Tali Boudha Vihar, Rainkhong KutubDia Boudha Vihar,“The Buddhist Mission” “The Parvattya Chattagram Buddha Samity” . He had participated in the All India Bhikku conference held at Bodha Gaya in the year 1973 where he had presided one day in the conference. He had also participated in a 3 days conference at Mahabodhi Society Hall, Kolkata in the same year. He attended in the International Buddhist Conference held in Nepal in the year 1977. In the year 1982 he had attended human Rights Conference in Netherland and presented his speech on the inhuman torture by the military to the mass trible people of CHT. .He was invited by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Geneva on 29th July- 2nd August 1985, Commission on Human Rights on Minorities Working Group on Indigenous people. He utilized the opportunity to focus the plight and sufferings of the people of Chittagong Hill Tracts.. He visited United Kingdom, Germany, Netherland, Switzerland, France, Thailand, .Srilanka, Nepal and many other countries, and preached humanity, international brotherhood and world peace.
He established relationship with a number of Internationals Organization such as World Fellowship of Buddhist, Thailand, Mahabodhi Society of India, Kalinga Nippon Buddhist Sangha, Japan, Union Buddha Sasana Council, Burma, The Colombo Youngman Buddhist Association, Srilanka, The Burma Buddhist World Mission Myanmar, London Buddhist Society, London and All India Bengal Buddhist Association, India. He wrote about 50 books on Buddhism and wrote many articals. These are Samabaya Buddha Upasana, Buddha Upasana (Loka Bibhag) Buddha Upasana
(Lokottar Bibhag) on meditation, Chakma Gidedi Mongal Sutra, Parina Natak(Play), Stop Genocide in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Sramaner Sikhaniya, Bidarshan Bavana Niti,Budha Samantika, Bisudhi Marga, Geeti Manjuri (Chakma and Bengali) Pratisodh (play), Habhilayar Sangsar (Chakma Play) Chakma Kadadi Dammapada,He translated many books from ancient Pali Text to Bengali and English.
He came to India in the year 1979 and visited religious Buddhist Centre in India. Ven.Dharama Pal Mahathera lord abbot of Dharamankur Boudha Vihara has extended hearthy welcome . He founded The Buddhist Mission at Kolkata with the help of Sri Gopal Bhusan Chakma, eminent social worker at Baguihati, Kolkata. He was honoured as a PANDIT by the Calcutta University. He was appointed as a visiting professor of Pali literature, and also as an external examiner of PhD thesis of the Calcutta University. In the year 1986 Ven. Bimal Tissa Mahathera came to India and met with Ven Rajguru at Kolkata. Ven. RajGuru shared his experience, guidance, and gave moral support to Ven. Bimal Tissa Mahathera. Both together with the association of eminent Chakma living in Kolkata founded the great institution “Shishu Koruna Sangha” in the year 1986. Ven. RajGuru became the founder President of the organization.
He had good number of disciple’s, among them the Ven.Jyotipal Mahathera (Arunachal Pradesh), Ven.Tilaka Nanda Mahathera now president of Parbatya Bhikku sangha, Ven. Prabarananda Mahathera (Subalong), Ven.SumanaNanda Mahathera (Chengi), Ven.Subhachar Thera and many others.. He had given the name “Sadhana Nanda”at the time of Upasampada to most renowned Buddhist Monk Ven. Sadhanananda Mahathera popularly known as “BANA BHANTE”.
He had always a strong feeling for his motherland CHT. Due to his
Old age he was suffering from diseases. His mind was to go back to his native place. Finally he started his journey on 19th January 2001 from India to Bangladesh. Ven. Bimal Tissa Mahathera had made all arrangement. Ven. Prajananda Mahathera, the lord abode of Shakkya Muni Buddha Vihar, Dhaka extended all necessary assistance. Later on he went to Rangamati at the request of His Highness Chakma Raja Debasish Roy.
At the age of 88 years he took his last breath on Saturday 5th January 2008 at Raj Vihar, Rangamati, his motherland and left us for heavenly abode, resting in eternal peace .He was like HIS HIGHNESS DALAI LAMA to us, a great son of Chittagong hill Tracts. He rediscovered the
Therovada Buddhism and Buddhist culture in this subcontinent. This was his greatest contribution to the humanity. This vacuum cannot be filled up. It is a great loss for the Chakmas, Marmas, Baruas and for the entire Buddhist world. His immortal body is kept under reservation. The date of cremation is yet to fix. Thousand devotees will attend to pull the rope ON A MAGNIFICANT RATH, HIS LAST JOURNEY and pay their last respect and homage to the great religious teacher.
On this 17th of February, 2008 we at Bodhicariya Vihara Pay our respect and homage to our beloved Raj Guru Aggavamsa Mahathero.We all pray that Raj Guru Aggavamsa Mahthera may achieve NIVVANA.
MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY
Sabbe Satta Bhavantu Sukhitatta