Bangladesh opens ancient Buddhist scholar's memorial stupa built with Chinese support

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-03-02 17:02

DHAKA - Buddhists in Bangladesh are brimming with inner pride as with the support of China, a new stupa has been built as a monument to house sacred relics and honor an ancient Buddhist scholar.

The stupa, in part, memorializes and honors the Buddhist scholar Atish Dipankar Srijnan, who was born in 980 AD and died in 1053 AD, with the sanctuary being opened at the place of his birth in Bangladesh.

Originally named Chandragarbha by his parents, Atish was born into a royal family in the Vajrayogini village on the outskirts of the country's capital city of Dhaka.

The newly-constructed memorial to the saint and philosopher, who historically was known for his unique character, erudition, scholarly attributes, and spiritual eminence, opened to the public on Tuesday.

In attendance at the monument's opening ceremony was Chunyi, vice president of the Buddhist Association of China, who attended as a chief guest, and Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ma Mingqiang was also present as special guest.

A host of dignitaries including Bangladeshi government officials were also present at the inaugural ceremony held at the magnificent new stupa.

The Chinese government has been highly lauded by Bangladeshi's Buddhist community as well as broader society for its immensely generous support in building the stupa to honor Atish.

The ashes of Atish, who was on a mission to preach peace, teach knowledge and share culture with China, including his expertise in mathematics and construction, were returned by China to Bangladesh in 1978.

Since then, Atish has become a symbol of a stronger China-Bangladesh relations. In fact, a mausoleum has been built in the village of his birth with support from the Bangladeshi government.

Sanghanayaka Suddhananda Mahathero, president of Bangladesh Bouddha Kristi Prachar Sangha, said, "Atish Dipankar, beloved, beloved son. We are so grateful to you."

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