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A Brief Biography

On January 8, 1920, His Holiness Venerable Sadhanananda Mahathera widely known as Banabhante was born in a naturally beautiful village, Muroghona of 115 Maghban Mauza, which was located six miles south of the Rangamati hill tracts of Bangladesh. However, nobody realized that he came to pass the knowledge of liberation from sufferings, greed, hatred and delusion. He was born to teach the practice of Four Noble Truths, and inspire the then Buddhist society for devotion to the Dhamma.

Venerable Banabhante, named as Rathindra when he was a house-living person, was born in a middle-class family of farmers in the Chakma nation. His father’s name was Mr. Harumohan Chakma, and mother’s name was Birapudi Chakma. Both of his parents were honest, wise, and pious persons at that time in the Chakma nation. His father maintained their family by farming, but they did not have any poverty. They used to lead a very simple life from their own grown paddies. Rathindra was his parents’ first child, and therefore he was the most beloved to his parents. He was fulfilled with love, kindness, and the caring of his parents, relatives, and neighbors. He had five siblings: Baikartan Chakma, Padmainginee Chakma, Jahar Lal Chakma, Monoranjan Chakma (Bhupendra Lal Chakma), and Amrika Ranjan Chakma (Babul Chakma).

He is very calm and quiet by nature from his boyhood. When he was of school going age, he was enrolled into a local Middle English School. As a student he was intelligent and meritorious. Though Rathindra was promoted to the upper classes, he did not feel any attraction to education. He was not even attentive. Failing to concentrate on the school’s general education, he stopped going to school after the primary grades. But he did not stop reading different books and novels. Since his talent and memory were sharp from his childhood, he could memorize and comprehend a book quickly after reading it with full concentration. He loved to read a variety of books. He used to collect books on Buddhism and read those carefully. He also read the life histories of the greatest scientists and their inventions, as well as books of different writers, poets, and novelists, etc. At leisure, he read those books under the shadow of trees. Besides reading, he had tremendous attraction and love for the Dhammika songs. He liked to sing by himself and work them in his own way.

Rathindra did not spend time in playing like other boys and girls. In his boyhood days he came across with few incidents which had brought about a great change in his life. He observed different events and misconducts in the society and analyzed those by himself. It was very common in society that people used to slaughter animals to satisfy the gods. A few animals such as pigs and dogs sometimes were anesthetized and died. In addition, people became drunk and screamed and involved themselves in a variety of misdeeds on occasions like Bizu Berana and Gojyapojya (Bizu is one of the great festival of the Chakma society), etc. He also observed that pigs and chickens were slaughtered for worshiping in the Chungulung worship in a marriage ceremony for the welfare of the new couple, and then the pigs’ heads and legs, and the chickens’ beaks and legs were presented in the names of the gods. Everyone in the ceremony, including the young boys and girls and teenagers, were so happy and joyful to see these events. However, after the marriage those couples were found to fight with each other after spending only a few days in happiness. The husbands used to beat their wives, or the wives did the same things with their husbands; they were sometimes found to quarrel and shout at each other, and after some days they were divorced. The desirable family then turned to be like a dry desert. Rathindra, being a teenager, observed those sorrowful phenomena and was surprised. His mind became filled with sorrow when he thought about those incidents. He had been thinking about the ways of freedom from the surrounding imbalanced and distressful events.

 

Increasing the Spirit of renunciation afterObserving the Surrounding Incidents

(01) One day Rathindra found that an institutionally educated M.A. was imprisoned because of sexual misconduct done by his wife. When the gentleman used to go out to his office, his wife met with an outside person. One day, the husband caught up with them and got blind with anger. Instantly losing all his senses, he started striking the wife with a chopper. Due to his wife’s screaming at that time, their neighbors gathered there, stopped him from beating his wife, and gave up him to the police. Observing this incident, Rathindra realized the falsehood of getting married and making a family. He was thinking to himself, “I would have to suffer the same way if I would be attracted to creating a social bond through marriage.”

To understand the sexual thirsts, Venerable Banabhante gave a doctrine to his disciple Bhikkhu: “Woman is like a Yakkhinī (non-human beings) [for woman , man is considered as Yakkha]. If you lust for them, you will be destroyed. They will suck your blood, flesh, knowledge, intelligence, wholesome deed, and merit. The wicked Māra creates bond between man and woman. If you are in Māra’s bond he make you love. Its main duty is to bind the beings in sensual relationships. If you are committed to sensual pleasure, you cannot go to Nibbāna. Woman say, ‘Hey man, please stay with me.’ Man say, ‘Hey woman, please stay with me.’ When men and women start living together, the wicked Māra will stay with them too.”

Venerable Bhante further mentioned, “It is usually seen that neither women nor men can live alone. So, they build up a family together. Therefore, in absense of their knowledge many unwholesome deed are stored. Not knowing is ignorance (Avijjā). So, you destroy the old unwholesome deed and stop creating new unwholesome deed. Always be aware of doing meritorious work and increase the volume of meritorious work until experiencing Nibbāna. If Nibbāna can be attained, the Four Noble Truths (Cattari Ariya Saccani) can be explained very easily. Knowing and understanding the Paticcasamuppāda (cause and effect) principle will destroy all kinds of ignorance and attain Nibbāna.”

(02) It was the time when Rathindra was twenty-six years old. One day, he was sailing a small boat up-wards the wave-streams of a river. At that time, an old man called to him, wanting to cross the river to the other side. Rathindra acted like he did not hear the old man because the man used to make mockery or tease others. What’s the point of believing that old man if he would deceive Rathindra later like the story of a farmer boy deceiving the villagers telling a lie about a tiger? Rathindra decided not to respond to him. Simultaneously, he was thinking, “I will be blessed if I would help him cross the river. Thus, if I would be in trouble on any day somebody would help me out. I will be benefitted from doing this good work in every rebirth.” Thinking these thoughts, he took the old man in his boat. After boarding, the man asked Rathindra to take him to a place. Rathindra was surprised and said to him, “What are you talking about? Didn’t you tell me just to cross the river? Now you are asking me to go to a place!” The old man laughed and said, “you did not respond to me at the first time. If I had told you about this place, you would not have taken me into your boat. That’s why I said that.” Hearing that, Rathindra smiled, did not say anything to the old man, and was sailing the boat against the river-streams. The old man was very talkative. He could not stop talking for a single moment and kept talking with Rathindra, who was sitting on the other side of the boat. Meanwhile, their boat crossed a bend of the river. Suddenly the old man saw a beautiful young lady at the riverside who was filling up her pitcher. He stared at the lady without any blinking of his eyes. He also whispered to attract Rathindra’s attention towards the pretty lady and made various hints with his eyes. Rathindra did not pay attention to him and was sailing the boat, completely avoiding the lady and man.

He smiled to see the old man’s misdeed. He was thinking that all the suffering in this world is generated from sexual attraction, no matter if he or she was young, adult, or old. Being aged body becomes immobile, but who restricts the mind? Mind is ever youth. Mind leads people towards both wholesome and unwholesome deeds. The wholesome deeds bring happiness and peace ever, while the unwholesome deeds create all sorts of sufferings ever. Mind becomes impure and discrete in doing unwholesome deeds. Oh! Such sexual misconduct even mutated an old man’s mind, lead life in impurity.

On the other hand, Rathindra, having the characteristics of a controlled life and honesty, could keep himself away from the false amusements of the greedy old man. Actually this incident represents the firm characteristics of Rathindra at his young age.

(03) One day he went to see a dead body of a girl about 11 years of age at his village. Everyone from the little girl’s family was mourning and afflicted by sorrow. In particular, the girl’s parents were crying loudly, being stunned with grief. Sometimes they were striking their heads on nearby trees or their chests with hands or they remained senseless in repentance. Nobody could quiet them or give them any condolence. Nothing could stop them from the pains of losing their beloved daughter. Their neighbors came to their house to have a glance at the dead girl. Rathindra also went to their house. He saw that the dead body was laid on one side of the hallway. Sighting the parents’ pitiful screaming, his mind was depressed, and he thought how sorrowful the family life was! If I would be stuck in this kind of family bond, I would also be thrown in the same situation. May be I would become senseless to cry for a dead wife or sons and daughters. Realizing the truth, suddenly he decided not to be involved in family bonds in this life.

He felts deeply about the sufferings of human life, and searching ways to leave household life like the Buddha. He thought himself, if Siddhartha Goutam being a prince could leave Kingdom, son, and wife, luxuries of life, wealth, parents and relatives to become an ascetic, why couldn’t he do that? Two other great disciples of Buddha, Sariputtra and Moggallayan became ascetic leaving all their wealth, he posses nothing in comparison to them. ‘Why couldn’t I? I would leave home and find ways to get rid of sufferings.’ He was prepared and determined to leave him. At that moment his father died and grief has stricken the family members. He was only 23 years old then. He had to take the responsibility of the family after death of his father. He decided to start silk-yarn business to earn a living. He had gone to Demagiri in India, brought silk-yarn to sell among local women weavers. After running this business for eight months he again thought to leave home. He thought it would be better if he could run this business without speaking with the women, but it was impossible to run the business without speaking to them as women were his main customers. In these circumstances, Biraj Mohan Dewan a prominent Headman and owner of dealer shop at old Rangamati bazaar called him to join in his shop. He took the charge of this shop and managed it efficiently. During his service period he has read many books such as The Gita, epic Mahabharata and other books on Bengali literature at the end of working hours at night. Sometimes he attended traditional Bengali theatre (Jatra) and traditional religious group songs (Kirtan) usually performed at night. He used to think after attending these shows, the role played by actors as king, ministers in the play turned into a simple common man with the coming of dawn. All these events played key role in changing his mind. During his service period, he came in contact with a pious man Gajendra Lal Barua from Nankhain, of Patiya upazila under Chittagong district. Both of them became friendly and spent a good time together exchanging views about religion. Gajendra lal Barua observed Rathindra’s deep interest in religion and advised him to become a Buddhist monk. He helped him in this matter. Both of them at a convenient time visited Chittagong town and met with the Chief Monk of Nandan Kanan Buddhist Temple and hold discussion about Rathindra’s ordination. A date was fixed after mutual agreement.

He returned from Chittagong and met with his employer Biraj Mohan Dewan, told him that he is going to be Bhikkhu (Monk) and seek his permission to leave job under him. He had gone to village and met his mother and sought her permission to be a Bhikkhu. His mother gave her consent and blessed him .It is compulsory; every laity when he wished to become Bhikkhu has to take permission from parents. On fixed date he left his native village and boarded a motor launch along with Gajendra Lal Barua and reached Chittagong town after a day long journey in the river Karnafuli. On a full moon day of Bengali calender month of Falgun, he took ordination as a novice at Nandankanan Buddhist Temple at the age of 29, in Chittagong town in 1949. He was ordained by Sreemath Dipankar Bhikkhu B.A. and named Rathindra Shraman. He stayed about 2/3 months along with other monks at this Buddhist temple and strictly followed rules of novice. While staying in this temple, he found none of the Bhikkhus (Monk) follow Dhutangha (Means of purification, ascetic, or austere practices).

One day he met his teacher, Dipankar Bhante and paid him due respect, after awhile he asked him some questions. He requested him to define “Lokuttara” (Super mundane) is a term for the four paths, four paths fruitions of a Noble One, (Ariya puggala) with Nibbana as ninth His teacher replied that he could not free himself yet, how could he able to show him paths of freedom and make him understand Lokuttara Dhamma. He said, “there is much dense forest in Chittagong Hill Tracts region, where you can meditate and fulfill your desire.” Rathindra Shraman deeply thought about his teacher’s advice and decided to come back to his village. One fine morning he left Chittagong Nandan Kanan Buddhist Temple after paying respect to his teacher Bhante and said farewell to other Bhikkhus. He started for his village towards Dhanpata. On his way back to hill region he stayed at Betagi Buddhist Temple at Rangunia and Chitmarang Buddhist Temple a holy place under Kaptai Upazila for a few days. During his stay, he had some discussion about Buddhism with the chief monks of these temples.

 

Looking for a Suitable Place for Meditation

Rathindra Samana was searching for a calm and quiet place like a deep and dense forest that would be suitable for his meditation. By searching so, he reached Jali Pagojjya village. This was his birth place and adjacent to Muroghona village, where he was brought up. It was the middle of 1949. Rathindra Samana went to the house of the Headman of Jali Pagojjya village. Then, he became infected by blood dysentery. His mother heard about her son’s return, and she came to Jali Pagojjya village to see him. Rathindra recovered slowly through his mother’s continuous nursing and deep love. When he was fully cured, he asked, through his mother, if those in the neighbourhood could make a hut for him inside a forest. He also requested that the Headman, Mr. Biraj Mohan, allow him to stay in the forest near the Jali Pagojjya Village. The village people did not pay attention to his request and did not build any hut for him because they did not have any Dhammika belief at that time. In addition, the people did not even think anyone could attain Nibbāna by doing a deep meditation.

Rathindra Samana left Jali Pagojjya village after staying a few days there and came to the Dhullyachari Buddhist Vihāra. After coming to the Dhullyachari, he started concentrating his mind on practicing Dhutanga Sīla and meditation. He met with a Bhikkhu, Uchara, in this Vihāra. One day, while they were talking to each other, Uchara told Rathindra Samana, “You have worn this Bhikkhu’s robe. Now, you will realize what miseries are. You will see how distressful we, the Bhikkhus are!” Hearing this, Rathindra Samana thought to himself, “This Bhikkhu is an illiterate, and he does not have any thoughts for Dhamma. On the other hand, my former advisor was a well-educated, wise, and knowledgeable person. He knew about the Ti-pitaka. However, both of these Bhikkhus are saying the same thing. Both of them are frustrated about a Bhikkhu’s life and grieved over it. Then what is the difference between an illiterate and a well-educated Bhikkhu?” Rathindra Samana then realized that no one could get rid of suffering without observing the righteous deeds.

Rathindra did not either like the Dhullyachari Vihāra and so he came to the Reingkhang-Kengrachari area to stay in the Kengrachari Vihāra. He also did not like the Kengrachari (this area was his mother’s home place, where his mother Birapudi Chakma had grown up). He found a place in a forest between the Kaushlyaghona and Dhanapata villages. He used to go collecting food in the Chongrachari village next to the forest. He then went to Dokhaiya and did meditation in that area for a few days. Finally, he entered into a quiet and calm forest near the Dhanapata village at the site of the Karnafuli River. He spent eleven years in this forest doing meditation by his own, without help from a Teacher.

 

Meditation Life:

When Rathindra Samana reached Dhanpata by the end of 1949, its scenic view created a deep impression in his mind. He decided to start his meditation at that place. The area where Rathindra Samana started his meditation was neither very close to nor far from any human locality. He liked the quiet and calm forest life environment around him and to hear sometimes the roaring sounds of wild animals, the hissing sounds of reptiles, birds’ chirping, the whistling sounds of wild lives, or the murmuring sounds of hilly fountains and tree leaves. He used to sit under a Bohera tree at the place of “Shelez Macher Ghat” near the Dhanpata.

Rathindra was conscious and effortful with strong mental strength to reach to his goal. It was said that there were celestial beings that lived in the mountain where Rathindra Samana lived. Nobody used that mountain for growing any crop or any paddy. The place was called the mountain of Dhananjoy and was left unploughed year after year due to fears of sighting inhuman species. Rathindra Samana, being fearless, not only stayed under the Bohera tree but he also travelled to different places on that mountain.

Venerable Banabhante later told his disciples, “The first time I lived in the forest, nobody knew where I was living. I did not have any specific place to live. I did not have any hut. I stayed under trees. Today at one place, and tomorrow in a different place. I used to gather leaves at one place under a tree and sleep on those leaves at night. In the daytime, I lived in the forest, and at night I slept under the blue sky. After the crop collections from the paddy fields, I used to sleep in those paddy fields sometimes. I endured a lot of disturbance and pains. Even after that, I never said, ‘make a hut for me.’ Because the Buddha said, A Bhikkhu should not say he is getting pains. A Bhikkhu cannot say to make a hut for himself. If the general, family people make any hut by themselves, then a Bhikkhu can stay there.The principal Bhante at the Chitmaram Buddhist Vihāra told me the same thing. A Bhikkhu cannot say Give me this, give me that. The Tathāgata Buddha said, if you can destroy your craving, then you can stay in a palace like a king. I never forgot this advice of the Buddha and did not mislead myself even for a second. So, I spent my days in the forest and collected food from the trees.”

He was in deep meditation in this unfriendly and unfavorable environment to get rid of sorrow and suffering and to achieve Nibbana. Sometimes he comes out of this forest and begs alms in the villages. But he had to fast sometimes when time for eating alms was over. A Bhikkhu cannot eat solid food after twelve in the noon as per the Disciplinary Rules of Buddhism. He used to follow the rules strictly. During long time of meditation when he feels sleepy, he stood under hot sun in the sun grass field to drive out sleep. In the winter he went to nearby stream and stood under cold water to drive out sleep from his eyes. Whenever he take rest and feel sleepy, he used hard wood pieces in the back and over head as pillow to prevent sleep. Thus he is able to drive away sleep. His holiness ‘BanaBhante’ says in his preaching that sleep is a hindrance for meditation. Buddha’s two great disciples Sariputtara and Moggallayan did not sleep for 30 years. Nalak Mahathero did not sleep for whole life and Rahul for 12 years. He was passing his days in meditation under shade of trees and under open sky, disregarding any threat and even at times ferocious animals passed by him. One day while in meditation he saw a tiger killed a buffalo and eating its flesh not far from him. The day after that he went to village to beg alms. He heard villagers talking some day tiger would eat ‘Bana Shraman’ (Forest novice). Hearing their dialogues, he smiled and thought tiger and elephant might kill and eat his flesh but these wild animals cannot eat his wisdom. During meditation he came across a miraculous light moved round his head at dark in night. He often speaks about this truth in his preaching among devotees later. Once it was raining heavily early in the morning, as soon as rain had stopped he went to village to beg alms. The villagers found him standing under a cow shade and were astonished that not a single drop of rain could wet his yellow robe. This news spread out in the nook and corner in surrounding localities. This happening increased his respect and faith among people and even those who lack confidence on him began to pay him respect.

One day an old hunter of Rangapani village went for hunting into Dhanpata dense forest with his gun where “Bana Shraman” was meditating. When he was roaming in the forest alone, he saw ‘Rathindra Shraman’ sitting in lotus posture and meditating. He was surprised to see a flock of wild birds sitting on his head and shoulders while some birds nearby on branches of tress chirping. This hunter did not shoot a single fire and came back home quietly. He explained what he had seen in the forest among villagers in presence of village leader. Later all the villagers along with other prominent persons in the village hold a meeting and decided to make a Kuthir (Cottage) for ‘Forest novice’ with his permission. The village leader called Karbari along with two villagers met ‘Forest Monk’ and sought his permission to construct a cottage for him in the dense forest. He gave his consent and about 20/30 villagers constructed a cottage in the forest. After completion he stayed in this cottage, but he did not own other sleeping materials such as mattress, quilt, pillow, mosquito net and even water pitcher for keeping drinking water.

He had to use cover of his eating pot and sometimes plantains leaves as water pot for drinking from nearby streams. He had only one yellow robe (dress) which he usually wears as a monk. If the villagers invite him, he sometimes participates in the religious functions along with other Bhikkhus (Monks). But he never accepts donated gifts from the villagers like other Bhikkhus. One day he was attending a feast arranged by the relatives of dead person along with other Bhikkhu from Balukhali village. On the way while crossing a rivulet the lower part of his yellow robe torn but somehow with difficulties he managed to attend religious function. Seeing poor condition of his yellow robe, monk from Balukhali village offered him a chibar (robe), but he politely refused and returned to his Kuthir. He was pre determined not to accept any gift from others except from laity.

Moreover, he thought if he accepts it, one day in future this monk would boast of donating him old robe to ‘Forest novice’. When he was passing hard days with torn old robe , he found no other alternative and took in his hand a needle with cotton thread to sew a piece of old white cloth which he received as donation long ago. But just at the moment he thought it is forbidden to wear a white cloth for a monk according to principles of Buddhism. Soon after that one day a Barua, (Buddhist follower from plain district) appeared and offered him a set of Chibar (robe) paying him due respect. He cordially accepted it and preached him the truth of the Buddhism. He wears newly received robe and left the old one. ‘BanaBhante’ believes that Deva-Raj (King of Gods) send a deva in disguise of a Barua laity with a Chibar (robe) to him. At that time even the villagers are not able to locate his whereabouts, how could it is possible for a laity to find him in the dense forest of Dhanpata, his place of meditation? In another day, he left his alms pot with food inside it, and he had gone to nearby stream for bathe. When he has returned he saw a dog going away after eating food of the pot. However he was not angry at the dog, instead he was kind to it. He thought it was Mara’s (Buddhist Tempter) attempt to deviate him from his path.

But in spite of Mara’s many attempts to deviate him he continued to meditate for long 12 years and advancing towards Lokuttara (Supermundane). Dhanpata to Dighinala in the year of 1960. Pakistan government constructed Kaptai Hydro electric dam in 1960. As a result an area of 450 square miles inundated by water of dam and about 18,000 families were compelled to leave their ancestral land, hearth and home and rehabilitated in new places in other parts of Chittagong hill Tracts. Nishi Moni Chakma a pious man, a devotee of ‘Bana Shraman’ met him paying due respect. He requested him to shift to Dighinala in the north eastern part of present day Khagrachari district where many of the villagers from Dhanpata are going to be rehabilitated. Nishi Moni Chakma after taking his consent discussed the matter with other prominent persons such as Surojoy karbari, Kalpa Rnanjan Chakma (Former CHT affairs minister of government of Bangladesh in 1998) Sureswar chakma in Dighinala. They have decided to construct a Kuthir (Cottage) for ‘Bana shraman and with their initiative a group of 20/30 villagers constructed a cottage in Dighinala. Nishi Moni chakma and Kalpa Ranjan Chakma came to Rangamati, proceeded to Dhanpata by boat and paid their respect to Bhante and informed him about the programme. They hired a Jeep and brought ‘Bana Sraman’ to Dighinala by road, but it is to be mentioned here the he sat in lotus posture while traveling by Jeep. After arrival in Dighinala he preached Dhamma for short period of time among the devotees. He made a rule for the devotees; no female laity is allowed to enter into Kuthir, without accompanying a male while offering alms to him. He used to give audience and preached the truth of Dharma among devotees regularly. His ability to explain truth of Buddhism spread out soon not only in Dighinala but also around many other surrounding localities near and far areas. Increased numbers of devotees come to pay respect and donate him many things regularly. But once when he has been suffering from illness, he could not go out from Kuthir to beg alms and became ill. He was too weak to move even and almost about to die.

At that critical moment again Devas sent a laity in disguise of a Barua who offered him two cups of hot milk from a flask and thus saved his life. Once he explained that incidence while preaching and said that Devas are compelled to do so due to his ‘Paromi’ (good deeds) of his previous birth. When he was staying in Dighinala, if any female devotee comes to offer alms without preparing it in high devotion, he refused it. It is amazing how he is able to know that food offered to him is prepared with devotion or not. Devotees believe from then onward he could see by his inner wisdom. People living in the area come to know about his miraculous power and wisdom and large number of devotees gathered to pay him respect and donated many things as gifts and listen ‘Dharma Desana’ (Exposition of the Doctrine) from him. At certain time, Chief Monk of Rangamati Chakma Raj Vihar, Raj Guru Agravangsha Mahathero on his visit to Dighinala proposed him to be formally ordained as Bhikkhu (Upasampada) the Higher Ordination. At first he was unwilling to be ordained, because he thought his association with other Bhikkhus would hamper his attainment of the goal which he aimed during his long period of meditation. But on persuasion of Gyana Shri Bhante he finally agreed and a great religious function was held on the day of his formal ordination as Bhikkhu (Upasampada) on 27 June, Tuesday 1961 at Mayoni–Boal Khali Udak Seema, Dighinala Upazila, under Khagrachari hill district. Many renown Mahatheros and Theros from different parts of the then East Pakistan (Present Bangladesh) participated on that great occasion. Rev: Guna Lankar Mahthero played leading role along with others Mahatheros viz: Raj Guru Agravangsha Mahathero, Arindam Thero, Jina Bangsha Thero, Gyana Shri Thero, Priyodarshi Thero, Dhamma Dharshi Thero.

He was given a new name as ‘SADHANANANDA BHIKKHU’ all devotees with due respect address him “BANABHANTE” because he had meditated in the forest for a long time. He stayed in Dighinala for about 10 years. On invitation of a devoted laity he came to Durchari Buddha Vihar from Dighinala in 1970 under Bagaichari Upazila in Kassalong area, where a large number of displaced people affected by Kaptai dam rehabilitated. He attended many religious functions in surrounding villages and preached doctrine of Buddhism among thousands of devotees and able to draw their faith in Buddhism. He left Durchari Buddha Vihar after 3 months and came to Tin Tilla Buddha Vihar, under Langadu Upazila on invitation of Babu Anil Behari Chakma, Chairman of Local Union Parishad, a rich man of the region. But during liberation war period of 1971, he temporarily shifted to Bhai Bon Chara Buddha Vihar as the villagers of the area cordially invited him. At the end of Bangladesh Liberation war he returned to Tin Tila Buddha Vihar and stayed there up to 1975. In the year of 1973 during his stay in Tin Tila Buddha Vihar, in religious gatherings of devotees in presence of some prominent personalities of the region, he advised to observe KATHIN CHIVAR DAN, annual robe donating ceremony to Bhikkhus (Monks) based on tradition initiated by Maha Upshika Bishaka, a great female laity disciple of Lord Buddha 2500 years ago. According to this tradition Kathin Chivar (robe) has to be made within twenty-four hours. Following BanaBhante’s advice in cooperation with all, the devotees organized and observed Kathin Chivar Dan that year. In the opening of the ceremony hundreds/thousands of enthusiasts’ female devotees come along with their spinning wheel with Jumland grown raw cotton from distant areas. The participants changed raw cotton into thread. They dyed these threads into yellow color and dried it in fire. The weavers weave pieces of yellow cloth from this thread and finally sew different pieces to make a Chivar (robe). Possibly it is revival of long lost ancient Buddhist tradition and culture initiated by Maha Upashika Bishakha during life time of Lord Buddha. This process of Kathin Chivar Dan was first introduced in 1973 by his holiness BanaBhante at Tin Tilla Bana Vihar, Longadu. Till now Buddhists are following this tradition with great enthusiasm and interest. Moreover, at present Buddhist from nook and corner of Bangladesh and from abroad come and participate in this religious function and it has become part of our culture. It is a milestone in the advancement of Buddhism in Chittagong Hill Tracts. In 1974 on the invitation of Chakma Royal Family and other leading devotees from Rangamati, His Holiness Venerable BANABHANTE came to Rangamati RajBan Vihar on the full moon day of the full moon day of Baishakh in 1977 and stayed there permanently. Though Banabhante came to the Rajbana Vihāra permanently in 1977, he spent his first rain-retreat in 1976 in the Rajbana Vihāra. Devotees come to pay respect to him and BanaBhante blessed them whole heartedly. He was preaching Buddhism among thousands of devotees from home and abroad regularly till attaining Parinirvana on January 30, 2012.

Ven. Banabhante’s rain-retreat

Vassa No.

Time

Name of the  Vihāra

Place

1-10 1961-1970 Dighinala Bana  Vihāra Dighinala, Khagrachari
11-15 1971-1975 Tintila Bana  Vihāra Langadu, Rangamati
16-38 1976-1998 Rajbana  Vihāra Rangamati
39 1999 Arjya Bana  Vihāra Dharmapur, Khagrachari
40-51 2000-2011 Rajbana  Vihāra Rangamati

Description of Venerable Sadhanananda Mahathera’s Upasampadā Ceremony

Time:          June 27, 1961

          12th Ashar (the rainy season), the Bengali year of 1368

          The full moon day of the Joistthyyo purnima, 2505

          Buddha reign

          Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.

The Bhikkhu Sima: Miinee, Boalkhali, Udak Sima,

The principal Bhikkhu: Venerable Gunalankar Mahathera (the second Sangha Raj at Raujan, Chittagong)

Reading out the proceedings:

1st reading:   Venerable Jinabanghsa Mahathera

                   Venrable Agrabangsha Mahathera

2nd reading: Venerable Gunalankar Mahathera

                   Venerable Arindam Mahathera

3rd reading:   Venerable Arindam Mahathera

                   Venerable Gyanasree Thera

Punnanumodana or Thanksgiving:

  • Venerable Gunalankar Mahathera (Raujan, Chittagong)
  • Venerable Arindam Mahathera (Domdoma)
  • Venerable Jinabangsha Mahathera (Pahartali, Chittagong)
  • Venerable Agrabangsha Mahathera (Raj Vihāra, Rangamati)
  • Venerable Gyanasree Thera (Boalkhali, Dighinala)
  • Venerable Priyadarshi Bhikkhu
  • Venerable Dharmadarshi Bhikkhu, along with many wise bhikkhus

Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu