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Banabhante And Rajbana Vihara

The Rajbana Vihāra– The sanctuary of Happiness

If we look at the past, the existence of human beings in the Chittagong Hill Tracts was formally being demolished in the context of Buddhism. Venerable Banabhante brought the Buddhist people of these areas from that endangered point to a safe place through a tough journey. Not only that, Banabhante is also known as a great meditator of the Buddhist society, even in many foreign countries.

Human beings have been creating much misconduct by the attractions of the five sensual pleasures such as form, taste, sound, scent and felling. People are now helpless under the stress of the five sensual pleasures. Quarrels, debates, ferocious activities, and war are spread in families, societies, countries, and the whole world. It is needless to say how men and women were hurt producing  love to each other in their minds in order to get happiness. People want happiness. It is now known to everyone that Rajbana Vihāra is the only sanctuary of real happiness. The greatest man whose heart is full of happiness is the heart of Banabhante. It is beyond the imagination for the Rajbana Vihāra to exist without having Banabhante.

People come here not only to remove any distress or fear, but they also find the truth of Nibbāna. People from every religion, nation, and race who have heard about the wisest Arahant Banabhante have come here to receive his blessings. In past days, many people used to come to the Bana Vihāra to test his knowledge, his Iddhi power, or to act against him. Among them, some became polite by listening to his Dhamma teachings, some turned into bad consequences, while others died. Venerable Banabhante says, “Those who acted against me, I never cursed to them. Truly I have been attaining the truth for a long time and leaving behind any false. So, those who were against me, they have suffered by the influence of my truthful behaviours. Many times, the Devas also became disappointed and did something bad to them.”

People’s Expectation from Banabhante

We, the normal human beings, are blessed by the power of the Buddha’s great good will and thoughts. The power of their good will, sighting of the Buddhas, and talking to them removes all distress and sufferings from our minds and brings peace and happiness. Similarly, the most venerable Banabhante is a surprise to all nations, creeds, and groups of religions, and so there is no difference among nations, religions, women, and men to venerable Banabhante. He often says, “All living things in the world including human beings are subject to Mind and Form (Nāma-Rūpa). If you consider these Nāma and Rūpa as human beings, living things, men, women, me, and mine, you will be subject to sufferings. What you usually consider as human beings-men, women, Chakma, Marma, Barua, Bangalee, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christians, etc.-are all subject to illusion. Can anyone guarantee to be a Chakma, or Bangalee, after the death as a Chakma or Bangalee? So, the concepts of nation, religion, colour, etc. are wrong views.” Venerable Banabhante tells, “In this world, human beings urge for wealth, jewelry, name, fame, health, family, etc., while these urges are the lowest urges and requests. These requests cannot bring real happiness-rather they create more suffering, or they cannot simply satisfy the prayers. So, urging for Nibbāna is the best urge. Nibbāna can make us free from all sufferings.” Despite Banabhante’s doctrine about Nibbāna, clear-sightedness, and apprehension of truth for many years, laypeople always plead for personal dispensations, health, wealth, job, lottery, son-daughter, success, beautiful bride, rich groom, and favors for relief from suffering, etc. Some people get their pens touched by Banabhante praying that, “Dear Bhante, my son’s handwriting is bad. Please bless that his handwriting would be beautiful!”

Venerable Banabhante sometimes talks about these prayers, “Your prayers are your personal preferences that represent worldly attachments. These are like going to Comilla City in Bangladesh. Praying for Nibbāna is like going to the capital city, Dhaka. As you go to Dhaka, you must pass Comilla City, the same way, when you will talk for Nibbāna, you will attain all those worldly urges. So, don’t you need to pray for Nibbāna? If your minds do not go for Nibbāna, you will never find it and as a result you will only be grieved all time.”

No matter what Banabhnate tell to the laypeople, most of them only pray for redemption, security, and favors of Banabhante to alleviate from problems. Not only Buddhist but also other Dhammika peoples came to BanaBhante to prevent themselves from sufferings. Two examples are given below:

  • There was a tailor named Ahmed Reza who used to come often to the Bana Vihāra and Banabhante. He used to sew cloths in a shop to the east side of the Rangamati College. He lived in a house behind that college. He was about 32 years old and had been suffering from hysteria disease. He underwent many treatments and spent a lot of money for it. One day he decided to go to Banabhante and obtain his blessings for ailments. He started to go to the Bana Vihāra very often and prayed to Banabhante for curing his disease. One day Banabhante told him, “Go.” Hearing this word from Venerable Bhante, Reza’s whole body was shivered. After that incident, Reza was completely cured and never again was sick. He continued coming to the Bana Vihāra regularly after he was cured. One day a taxi-driver told Ahmen Reza not to go to the Bana Vihāra any more. Reza replied to the taxi-driver, “I am not doing any harm to anybody. Then why should not I go to the Bana Vihāra?” Then it was seen that the taxi-driver fell into a road-accident on the following day. On the basis of this incidence Ahmed Reza said that everyone should respect Banabhante with concentrations.
  • One day a muslim Huzur taxi driver saw DR. Aravinda Barua and asked him, “Do you want to go to the Bana Vihāra?” As though the taxi driver’s passengers were not enough, he did not have any objection going to the Bana Vihāra. Rather, he was very interested to go to the Bana Vihāra . He explained that his son was saved by the blessings of Banabhante. He said that his home is in the area of Khattoli by the side of a river. His children also play with other children in the same area while they are bathing in the river. One day, his son was sunk in the water while playing in the river. Other children were screaming and so neighbours rushed to save his son. His wife went to a neighbour’s house at that moment. She heard from her neighbour that her son was drowned into water. She ran to the bank of the river, and simultaneously recalled Banabhante saying, “Banabhante, please bless my son. If he would be alive, I will lit up thousands of candles in your Vihāra.” She reached to the river side and found that many people were looking for her son’s body. She was crying and looking for her son. Suddenly she found her son about eight gauges (24 feet) away from the bank inside shallow water with a lot of foams coming out of his mouth. After they took him out of water and moved his body for a few minutes, her son regained his senses. Following this incident, the taxi driver’s wife used to come to the Bana Vihāra almost everyday covering her whole body with traditional Muslim cloth named as Burka. She listened to Banabhante’s doctrines standing there all the time. Though other women requested her to sit down, she always liked to listen to Banabhante’s dhamma talk standing in the Vihāra.

Everyone Should Check His or Her Own Mind

Once Venerable Banabhante was saying to his disciples, “If you would like to attain Nibbāna, you have to give up the interactions with women. You have to become free from all bad deeds. If you enjoy the sensual pleasures with women, you can never attain the Nibbāna. You have to give up all bad habits. Check your own mind and test whether you are free from sensual pleasures or not? If you see that you are not still free from the sensual pleasures, then you know that your mind is immersed in grieves. It is not possible to paint this kind of grief-stricken fade mind with the colour of Nibbāna. In addition, a mind should be free from various Kamma-formation. If a mind is bound to various Kamma-formations, it also cannot find the path to Nibbāna. A mind should avoid all sensual pleasures and various Kamma-formations.” Venerable Banabhante then asked his disciples, “What should you leave to attain Nibbāna?” The Sangha replied, “The sensual pleasures and desires to work.”

People who are aware of doing well to others, they grow their inner eyes to judge their affairs. They enter into the realm of Stream-winners. The Stream-winners decrease the numbers of their re-births through their good deeds and virtues. They are reborn as human beings only seven times after their deaths. They are never born in lower classes like animals or demons. Therefore, we should try to build up our own virtues, thoughts, and inner qualities of generosity, moral virtue, and meditation to cease the rebirth process. When the mind is free from conducting any kind of evil work, it is free from all materialistic demands. This is how a mind can cut down the number of rebirths.

Venerable Banabhante told to his disciples, “Bhikkhus, let’s utter with me that we will be devoid from sensual desires that lead to a painful life. We will discover the Nibbāna that leads to a peaceful, noble life. We will search for the knowledge of the Noble Eight-Fold Path. Disciples, you will not look at women with sensual desires. You will not think about marriage and making a family by being an ordinary couple. Otherwise, you will not be able to meditate and produce knowledge. Your principal duties are doing meditation and searching for knowledge. You will then attain Nibbāna through meditation and knowledge. Please remember that both meditation and wisdom bring happiness. How will you practice meditation? Do not look at any woman with sensual pleasures. Never think about marriage or being an ordinary person. If you think these unwholesome thoughts, you cannot concentrate your mind on meditation. If you always stay with wisdom and knowledge, you will feel the happiness of Nibbāna. On the other hand, if you let ignorance rise in your mind, your meditative mind will be interrupted. You will then fall into a distressful life. A Bhikkhu’s life without meditation and knowledge is regretful. I have heard many Bhikkhus saying, ‘A Bhikkhu’s life is very difficult.’ Someone said to me, ‘I am in suffering.’ Do you know why they were suffering? Because they were not in meditative or wise moods. Those who do not do meditation and have no knowledge of their duties, they must suffer. Simply by being a Bhikkhu and wearing yellow robes or shaving hairs from heads cannot make a Bhikkhu happy. Only a meditative and wise Bhikkhu can find happiness! Let’s say that again: ‘the Bhikkhu who does not have meditation or knowledge, he will not find happiness.’ The current Bhikkhus do not have meditative minds or knowledge, and so they are suffering. Do you know how to attain the happiness of meditation? If you do not look at women with momentary happiness and gratification. If you do not think about marrying a pretty woman. As soon as you think so, your meditation will be interrupted. If you want to attain the Nibbāna, you have to ignite the sense of knowledge and stay with knowledge. If you stay with material pleasures, you are producing the sense of illusions and unhappiness. Can you expect to reach Nibbāna with this kind of illusive minds? Never!

I am showing you the path to Nibbāna, but it depends on your mind. You will test yourselves, asking whether you have any attractions to women and think to marry someone. If you see that your mind is free from any attraction, then you will know that you can attain Nibbāna.” Then Banabhante asked his disciples, “would you look at any woman?” The sangha replied, “No, Bhante.” He then asked, “would you think to marry like an ordinary person?” The Sangha replied, “No, Bhante. Please bless us that we will not do these unacceptable behaviours.”

Then Banabhante told the Sangha the following story, “A Bhikkhu told to me that he would not marry in this life, because all are poor at present. If he would marry a lady from a poor family, he would suffer a lot. So he decided not to marry in this life. He said that he would be a Bhikkhu in this life to follow the Sīla, which would help him to become a king in his next life. He would be the richest person in his country. He would then marry a princess in his next life to enjoy the materialistic happiness. So, it was seen that he would not be a Bhikkhu in this life, if he would be a rich person or king. He did not become a Bhikkhu to attain Nibbāna even! He became a Bhikkhu to be a king or rich person and marry a princess or rich lady in his next life.” The disciples burst into laughter hearing this story. Banabhante then asked a Bhikkhu sitting next to him, “Have you become a Bhikkhu for the same reason?” The Bhikkhu replied, “No, Bhante.” Banabhante said, “Okay, if you tell the laypeople that we will not marry in this life but we will marry a princess or rich woman in next life, and that is why we have become Bhikkhus, then what would the laypeople think of us? The laypeople would think that these Bhikkhus have worn yellow robes with such a mean objective!” The Sangha replied, “Bhante, we have not become Bhikkhus for fulfilling such a mean purpose!” Banabhante then said to the disciples, “You should not stay with an unholy objective like that Bhikkhu. Then you cannot return from clinging. You will then be subject to pain and defilements. You cannot gain Nibbāna. Always stay with the mindfulness of Nibbāna. If you want Nibbāna, you have to give up the clinging and miseries of nature both in this life and your next lives. Then you will be able to reach the state of non-return of Nibbāna. Never move your Nibbāna-aiming mind to different directions such as heaven, Brahman birth, or human beings birth. If you target your mind to the one holy goal of Nibbāna, you can then concentrate your mind. What is that concentration about? It is to keep your focus on one subject. It is not doing many things at the same time. The practice of mindfulness will enable you to seek Nibbāna, which is free from birth, old age, sickness, death, pain, and any kind of misery in this nature.”

Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu