Global tribute to Buddhist monk

by Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey, TNN, Jun 20, 2015

KOLKATA, India -- On Monday, Buddhists from the world over will be in Kolkata to celebrate 150 years of Kripasaran Mahasthavir, who revived Buddhism in the east, with Kolkata as the hub of his activities.

A Chittagong native, he became a monk at 21 and came to Kolkata on way to Bodh Gaya. He was shocked to see the condition of Bodh Gaya and other viharas here and that the Buddhist population in Kolkata had dwindled to a few hundred.

He stayed back and with the help of powerful admirers like Sir Ashutosh Mookherjee and Manindra Chandra Nandi, established the Buddha Dharmankur Sabha at Bowbazar 123 years ago.

A magazine that was started under Kripasaran's tutelage in 1908 continues to be published today and is considered to be a living treatise in Buddhist studies, said editor Hemendu Bikash Chowdhury.

On Monday, Korean monk Pomnyun Sunim, who won the Magsaysay, will be here. Monks from Wat Sanghthan will share details of treatment of cancer with herbs, for which the Thailand temple is famous the world over.

"From China, abottess Yuan Ming will reveal her findings on Hiuen Tsang's travels in India. We will also have the famous Tibetan monk Lama Lobzang to speak on Mahayana Buddhism," said Bhikkhu Bodhipala, chief monk of the Sabha, adding that the chief monks of Bangladesh's Unainepura Lankaram and Sanghanayaka Suddhananda Mahathera viharas are also coming.

The postal department will release a first day cover on Kripasaran on Monday.