Buddhist Spiritual Leader of Bangladesh Bana Bhante Passes Away

The Most Venerable His Eminence Sadhanananda Mahathera, widely known as Bana Bhante (the forest monk), the top spiritual leader of Bangladesh, passed away due to old age complications at Square Hospital in Dhaka at the age of 93 on January 30.

Bana Bhante
The spiritual leader passed away of multiple organ failure, respiratory and lungs problems. He was admitted to Square Hospital in the capital on January 27 by a special air ambulance as he became unconscious. 

His Eminence Sadhanananda Mahathera is the well-known, famously respected, reverend Bhikkhu in Bangladesh who was believed to have attained the highest sainthood 'Arahanta' of Buddhism.

He was loved and respected by peoples regardless of ethnicity and religious backgrounds. The Buddhist peoples in and abroad of Bangladesh are deeply mourned for his passing away.

Short Biography

His Eminence Sadhanananda Mahathera was born on January 8 in 1920 in Moghban union of Sadar upazila in Rangamati Hill District. His original name was Ratindra Chakma. Since his early life, Mr. Ratindra was very gentle, honest, polite, kind, noble, and religious. Occasionally, he used to practice meditation in a secluded place in the midst of his works and studies. He was educated up to class four standards only from their village primary school. As he was not interested in general study, he gives up for further education.

When turned 29 years old, Mr. Ratindra was faced one of the remarkable episode in his life which is given an opportunity to renounced the world. It was an eleven year old girl, the only children of their parent suddenly died in their village. All of her relatives and villagers came and get together. The dead body was kept aside near the veranda. On the other-hand, the parent and relatives of the dead body’s crying loudly. A young Ratindra is watching carefully all this scenarios silently from one side. He realized that one day, he has to die like this girl and also have to cry like her parents and relatives. After watching this episode, he strongly determined that he will not be joining in the worldly life.

By the help of Dr. Gajendra Lal Barua, he met Venerable Dipankar Srigyan Mahathera, who was Chief Abbot of the Nandan Kanan Buddhist Temple and was ordained as a Novice monk (Shramanera) under him in 1949 at the age of 29; which was full moon day in the month of March. His Novice-hood named was given Ven. Ratindra Shramanera by his Preceptor.

After few months in the ordained temple, Ven. Ratindra left the temple and took shelter in the dense forest. Ven. Ratindra arrived at Dhanapata in end of 1949, he chooses the dense forest of those areas and will be suitable for him to practice. So, firmly decided not to move anywhere any more until and unless reach his final goal.

From 1949-1960(around 11 years), he was diligently in concentration at a stretch for 11years in solitude.

A close lay supporter Mr. Nishi Moni Chakma and others on behalf of the villager came to invite and to take him to Diginala in the end of 1960. After came there, started diligently ascetic practice again.

In the middle of 1961, Ven.Ratindra Shramanera took Full Ordination as a Bhikkhu under thePreceptor of Ven. Gunalankar Mahathera at the age of 41. Manyprominent monks were present during his ordination ceremony;such as Ven. Jinavamsa Mahathera, Ven. Ananda Mitra Mahathera, Ven. Rajguru Aggavamsa Mahathera, and Ven. Gyanasri Thera andso on.

In middle of 1970, Bana Bhante was shifted to Dursuri from Diginala and was 6/7 months there. Later on earnest request from Mr. Anil Bihari Chakma(Headman and Chairman)moved to Tintilya of Longadu at the end of 1970. In 1971,after 11 years (11 Vassa = Rain Retreat) of his Bhikkhu-hood, Bana Bhante started giving Dhamma Discourses publicly on his Spiritual journey and achievements.

In 1975, a piece of land was donated by the Chakma Royal family and constructed Raj Bana Vihar. In 1977, Bana Bhante along with his disciples shifted to permanently at Rangamati from Tintilya, where the present Raj Bana Vihar was constructed. Since then he has been lived there until his passing away, as an Abbot and Spiritual Teacher.

After achieved in the final stage, he came out in the public to teach the truth what he found. He preached the Dhamma on the Four Noble Truths and The Noble Eightfold Path in depth, and Dependent Origination in the way that applicable to the contemporary society.

During the period of his life largely served the community regardless of race, gender, and religious backgrounds, and always advised and taught to people how to engage in realistic practice such as compassion, love, peace and nonviolence.

The Sources:

Top Buddhist spiritual leader of Bangladesh passes away

Short Biography of Most Respected Holiness Venerable Sadhanananda Mahathera