Compassion in Action   



Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita, founded the Maha Bodhi Society in Bangalore in 1956. He became monk on the Buddha Poornima Day of 1949 at Kusinagar under the illustrious monk Venerable Candamani Mahathera. He then studied Buddhism and Pali in Sri Lanka and Burma. For a short time he served as a professor at the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara in Nalanda. In 1956 he came down to Bangalore to start the Maha Bodhi Society and since then he is engaged in spiritual and humanitarian activities. He is a prolific writer and a compassionate Dhamma teacher giving every Sunday discourses.

Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita, founder-President of Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore and its branches and sister organizations in Mysore, Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, was born in the then eastern state of Manipur in India. He was born on March 12, 1922, a full moon day, in Imphal.

He was a bright student graduated from the Institute of Engineering Technology, Calcutta (Kolkata) in Automobile Engineering. He joined Government of India Defense Ordinance. The job took him to Malaysia, Singapore and various other places during the Second World War. He saw the destruction of life and property and misery that the war brought in the lives of people, which led him to turn towards spirituality. He resigned his job and left his home in search of truth and freedom. For some years he traveled through the length and breadth of India and studied Indian religions in various institutions.


In 1949 he took ordination as a Buddhist monk under the most Venerable Chandamani Mahathera, Abbot of Maha Parinibbana Vihara, Kushinara, U.P. He undertook extensive Buddhist studies both in India and Nepal the same year and left to Sri Lanka.

He studied Pali and Buddhism in Sri Lanka and practiced meditation under the renowned meditation master Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw in Burma. He was a member of the editorial board of the Chattha Sangayana - the Sixth Buddhist Synod held in Rangoon, which brought out a complete edition of the Pali canon.

He has taught Buddhology at the Nalanda Pali Postgraduate Institute, Bihar. In order to spread the teachings of the Buddha in his own quite way he resigned the job and started Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore on a piece of land offered by the niece of Ven. Anagarika Dhammapala, Maha Upasika Mrs. B. Moonasinghe, which was offered by the Maharaja of Mysore for the purpose of building a Buddhist center in Bangalore.

Thus the Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore was founded in 1956. Since then he has been active in conducting weekly discourses on Buddhism, writing articles and books, creating awareness among the people of Karnataka and India about Buddhism. He extended his activities to other countries of the world to disseminate the noble teachings of the Buddha.

His compassion prompted him to undertake many projects to alleviate suffering of people, like building medical centers, monastic institutes, residential schools in different parts of India for displaced and poor children.

In 2001 seeing the urgent need of training good monks in India, he started MAHABODHI MONASTIC INSTITUTE, BANGALORE, on the auspicious day of 2545th Buddha Jayanti Celebrations. Today the institute has the strength of 100 monks from different parts of India who are getting monastic training.

In 2006 at the age of 85 he established MAHABODHI ACADEMY FOR PALI & BUDDHIST STUDIES, which conducts Diploma courses in Buddhist Studies to spread the teachings of the Buddha. This is the result of his deep research and experience in the revival of Buddha Dhamma. The courses are offered in English and Kannada languages.

His Life & achievements

Born on March 12, 1922, Full moon day, in Imphal, Manipur State, India
Graduated from the institute of Engineering Technology, Calcutta in Automobile Engineering
Joined Government of India Defense Ordinance

1. Name: Acharya Buddharakkhita
2. Monastery: Maha Bodhi Society, 14, Kalidasa Road, Gandhinagar, Bangalore - 560009, India
3. Date of Birth - 12-03-1922
4. Date of Place - Imphal, Manipur, India
5. Parents' Name -
Father - Late Sri Vishnupada Bandopadhyaya,
Mother - Late Smt. Sailavaladevi Bandopadhyaya
6. Life of a wandering ascetic: Two years

7. Ordination as Buddhist Monk: Ordination took place on the Vesakha full moon day of 1949 at Kusinagar under the Most Venerable Chandamani Mahathera. Went to Sri Lanka for studies and got higher Bhikkhu ordination at Sri Maha Vihara, Nureliya, Sri Lanka in Udarata Amarapura Burmese Nikaya.
8. Studies - BUDDHIST STUDIES IN CEYLON, 1949-51
Venerable Nyanatiloka Maha Thera (Pali and Sutta Acharya),
Venerable Widurupola Piyatissa Maha Nayaka thera (Vinaya Acharya)
Venerable Rerukane Chandavimala Maha Nayaka thera (Abhiddhamma Acharya)

Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw (Vipassana meditation Acharya)
Venerable U.Narada, Mula Patthana Sayadaw (Abhidhamma Psychology, Patthana System).
Venerable Yamaka Sayadaw, Visuddharama, Mandalay, (Abhidhamma Acharya)

9. Lectures - Taught Abhidhamma at Nalanda Post Graduate Institute at Nalanda, Bihar. He also helped in editing the Nava Nalanda Tipitaka project. He has been giving regular talks at Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore every Sunday since 1956. He also taught abroad in the UK, USA, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Burma.
10. Titles received - Conferred "ACHARYA" title by Udarata Amarapura Nikaya, Sri Lanka in 1951.

Honored with the title ABHIDHAJA AGGAMAHASADDHAMMA JOTIKA by the Government of Myanmar in 2009

1952-54 Joined the Chattha Sangayana Editorial Board of the Union Buddha Sasana Council as Pativisodhaka, Government of Burma.

Helped to edit Tipitaka (Pali Scriptures) Published by the Government of Burma as part of the Sixth Buddhist Synod.


Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita has been a dynamic Buddhist missionary. He started two kinds of activities motivated by wisdom and compassion - Spiritual Practice and Human welfare.

1954-56 Taught at Nalanda Pali Postgraduate Institute. Subjects taught: Pali language and literature, Buddhist Psychology and Philosophy.

1956 Founded Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore. Established the Holy Bodhi tree and shrine. This Bodhi tree is a sapling of the original Holy Mahabodhi Tree of Buddhagaya.

1959 Founded Mahabodhi Maitri Mandala, devoted to humanitarian service in the filed of medical and educational work. Under this organization services to the poor students through giving them free education and hostel facilities are conducted. Many camps for leprosy patients, eye donation for blind people, cancer patients services were conducted.

1962 Started monthly magazine SWAYAM SAHAYA which carried articles on application of Dhamma in daily life situations and social welfare with spiritual basis. The magazine was published for 25 years.

1964 Founded a model rural Hospital at Sakalavara, Anekal taluk for training medical personal for rural service. Meditation was also taught in this hospital as a therapeutic technique.

1966 Built the Mahabodhi Burns and Casualty Centre at the Victoria Government Hospital, Bangalore and Burns wards at various district hospitals, such as Mysore, Hassan, Mandya, Tumkur etc.

1968 Started Mahabodhi Residential School for boys at Bangalore.

1969 Founded Buddha Vachana Trust, a publishing wing of the Maha Bodhi Society started publishing books.

1969 Established Tipitaka Printing Press and training school for printing technology.

1971 Founded Mahabodhi Maitri Medical Mission, which started holistic medical center.

1971 Established Mahabodhi Artificial Limb Centre.

1972 Established Arogya Foundation (India) and Arogya Hospital- medical center dedicated to total health with multidisciplinary, holistic approach.

1972 Established Sevakshetra building.

1972 Started monthly Buddhist magazine DHAMMA

1973 Started the Mysore Branch of Mahabodhi

1976 Established the Institute of Pali Studies and Buddhalogy in Mysore.

1980-2000 Visited USA and taught Buddhism and Buddhist meditation in various educational institutions. Established a Meditation Centre at Big Bear, California, USA. Founded Buddhayoga Meditation Center.

1984 Established the Mahabodhi Vishva Maitri Stupa. This is the first stupa built in India after lapse of about 800 years during which Buddhism declined with holy relic of the Buddha.

1984 Initiated TIPITAKA GRANTHAMALA PROJECT - to publish the entire Tipitaka in Kannada language with publication of Digha Nikaya. The project was supported by the Government of Karnataka.

1986 Establishment of branch of Maha Bodhi Society in Ladakh with following activities:
Mahabodhi International Meditation Center, Ladakh
Mahabodhi Residential School and Hostels, Ladakh
Mahabodhi Old Age Home, Ladakh
Mahabodhi Nunnery, Ladakh
Mahabodhi Karuna Charitable Hospital, Ladakh

1990 Taught at Fo Kuan Shan University in Taiwan.

1994 Mahabodhi Loka Shanti Buddha Vihara, Bangalore - It is a replica of Mahabodhi temple in Buddhagaya and it is serving as the place of meditation, worship, Sunday discourses, Pali and Abhidhamma classes

1995 Mahabodhi Community Centre- A hall used for community services and functions, Classes, etc.

1999 Blessed the Deutsch Buddhistische Humanitaere Verienigung (DBHV), Germany - an organization which runs regular meditation and dhamma study programs and supports the activities of the MBS

2000 Blessed the Mahabodhi Metta Foundation, Switzerland, which supports the spiritual and social welfare activities of MBS.

2000 Mahabodhi School,  Mysore - A new building was built to run a modern school based on moral education.

2001 Established Mahabodhi Monastic Institute, Bangalore - A monastic center with facilities for intensive Dhamma studies and practice. At present it has 100 monks under training.

2001 Mahabodhi Carla Students Home, Mysore - Hostel which can house 200 children, was started on his 80th birthday. The Carla Students Home is a gift of Ms.Monica Thaddey of Switzerland.

2003 Mahabodhi Nalanda Hostel for Monks at Bangalore - The hostel accommodates 150 monks.

2003 Maha Bodhi Society Branch in Arunachal Pradesh, Mahabodhi School and Mahabodhi Hostel, Diyun.


2003 Association Mahabodhi Karuna, France - It was started to conduct meditation programs and to support educational activities.

2003 Mahabodhi Buddhist Center, Lindenfels, Germany was started to conduct Dhamma study and meditation teaching. Regular programs are conducted in this center.

2003 Mahabodhi Mettaloka Youth Center, Mysore - A hostel for boys who have completed high school. At present there are 50 boys staying in this hostel and another 15 students studying in different places under its program.

2004 Mahabodhi Karuna Belgium - It was started to conduct Dhamma teaching programs and to support educational activities of MBS.

2005 Mahabodhi Metta Charitable Fund, USA - It supports the activities of MBS

2006 Mahabodhi Academy for Pali & Buddhist Studies (Correspondence Course), which conducts two year Diploma in Buddhist Studies. This will be upgraded to Lord Buddha University of Pali and Theravada Buddhiam. The Government of India has granted funds for the development of this Academy.

2007 Mahabodhi Rita Girls Home, Diyun, Arunachal Pradesh - A new hostel for girls was started. At present 175 poor girls live in this hostel who are provided with all the needs free of cost by the MBS.

2007 Survey of Buddhist Communities in India - To understand the situation of Buddhist community in India.

2007 Mahabodhi Maitri Mandala, Tawang Branch was started. At present the center has a home for 10 girls and 10 elders.

2008 Mahabodhi Dhammaduta Vihara - Foundation was laid for this Vihara which will be a Center for Moral and Spiritual Education at Alur, Bangalore. The construction work has started.

2009 Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita was honored with the title ABHIDHAJA AGGAMAHASADDHAMMA JOTIKA by the Government of Myanmar.


2010 With the help of grants from the Government of Karnataka he initiated the Tipitaka Translation into Kannada again to publish 13 volumes this year.

At Present he is residing at Mahabodhi Monastic Institute, Bangalore spending time in solitary meditation, teaching monks and writing Dhamma books.


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