History of Dharmodaya Sabha

Introduction:

The Dharmodaya Sabha was established in 1944 in Benaras, Saranath, India to protest against the expulsion of five Buddhist monk from Nepal, the country where Lord Buddha was born in 623 B.C. by the then Rana Prime Minister of Nepal. The family regime of the Rana was the most undemocratic and autocratic family of the Ranas. It was gross injustice to example the Buddhist monk from Nepal know in the history of Nepal as the land of the Buddhas as mentioned in the Swayambhu Purana of Nepal. It was gross violation of the human rights by the autocratic Ranas and also of these Buddhist legacy and spiritual culture of Nepal. This reactionary and anti Buddhist action of the Ranas exposed them as the most inhuman and autocratic rulers of self declared political authorities of Nepal.

 

The Dharmodaya Shifted Kalingpong, India

The Dharmodaya Sabha in order to launch long struggle against the anti- Buddhist policy of the Ranas purchased a house in 10th mile in Kalingpong to set up it's permanent Head Quarter to continue it's struggle against the Ranas. It was thus mobilizing the Buddhist people to raise their voice against the Ranas for their antidemocratic and anit-Buddhist and anti human regime. By and by, public opinions were created against the Ranas for their oppressive family regime.

 

The Political revolution lunched in 1950

In this struggle against the anti- Buddhist policy of the Ranas the lone struggle of Dharmaditya Dharmacharya, the most daring Buddhist monk and scholar against the anti- Buddhist policy of the Ranas by bring out the monthly magazines in Nepal Bhasa and in English language, "Buddha Dharma wa Nepal Bhasa" and "Buddhism in Nepal and India" is very appreciable. He was living in Calcutta in those days as a preacher of Buddhism besides being a student. Later he did his post graduate class in Business Management and he did his M.A. in Pall language from Madras University. He continued his struggle against the ante - Buddhist policy of the Ranas for a long time.

In 1949 Major Political Party started armed political revolution against from Biratnagar, an eastern city of Nepal. The revolution spread like wild fir through out the kingdom and by 1951 the Ranas had to surrender to His Majesty King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah Deva who had triumphantly returned from his political exile in Delhi and declared Nepal a democratic country by forming The firs ever Rana-Nepal Congress coalition cabinet. His Majesty King Tribhuvan was also gracious enough to sing the first ever Democratic Interim Constitution thus ending once and for all the 104-year-old autocratic regime of the family autocratic regime of the Ranas. The Interim Democratic Constitution of 1951 guaranteed the fundamental right of Nepalese people.

 

The Dharmodaya Sabha in Kathmandu

After the declaration of Nepal as a democratic state with the guarantee of fundamental right of the people well preserved by law the Dhadrmodaya Sabha was brought in Kathmandu and it's head office was set up in Srigha Buddhist monastery donated the Buddhist monks for their stay in Kathmandu by Bhuja Ratna Kansakar a welknow Business man and Buddhist Upasaka. His elder son Maniharsha Jyoti, the Hony. Treasures of the Sabha was involved in the activities of the Dharmodaya Sabha right from it's inception.

In Kathmandu the Dharmodaya Sabha was reorganized, as the too much aged Ven Chandramani Mahasthabir was physically week to be actively involved in the Buddhist activities in Nepal. Similar was the case of Ven. Bhadanta Anada Kausallyan, the Vice President of Dharmodaya Sabha. So in it's reorganization undertaken in 1952 Rev. Amritanada was unanimously elected as the President and the Nepal Bhasa Poet Chitta Dhar Hridaya and Ven Subodhananda as the tow vice-presidents. Prof. Soorya Bahadur Sakya and Prof. Asha Ram Sakya were unanimously elected as the Secretary General and Assistant Secretary respectively. Mr. Main Harsha Jyoti was also unaimously elected as the Hony. Treasure. Ven Mahanam, Ven. Dhammaloka, Ven Aniruddha were also unanimously elected as the member of the Dharmodaya Shabha. The other unanimously elected member of the executive committee of the Dharmodaya Sabha were Mr. Samyak Joti and Mr. Bhai Sahu Tuladhar.

The first thing the Dharmodaya Sabha decided to undertake is to the possibility of hosting the international conference of The World Fellowship of Buddhists set up in Sri Lank by Prof. Malalasekhara, the most celebrated Buddhist scholar and politician of Sri Lanka, He was at that time the President of the All Celon Buddhist Congress. Rev. Amritananda and Mr. Mani Harsha had represented the Buddhists of Nepal in the firs conference of The World Fellowship of Buddhist held in Ceylon in November 1950. As per provisions laid down in the constitution of the WFB the International Buddhist Conference was to be held every two year in different countries. Rev. Anritananda and Mr. Maniharsha Jyoti reported to the Dharmodaya Sabha after returning from the conference and suggested that it would be a wonderful program for the Dharmodaya Sabha to foster unity among the Nepalese Buddhists of different vehicles and start the renaissance in among the Nepalses Buddhists of different vehicles and start the renaissance in Nepalese Buddhism. In 1952 Japan offered to host the second International Conference of the WFB. Rev. Amritananda, Mr. Maniharsha Jyoti and Mr. Keshar Lal, the Personal assistant of Rev. Amritananda Participated in the conference though he was not a member of the Dharmodaya Sabha.

Later the Dharmodaya Sabha decided to hold the 4th International conference of the WFB in 1956 after the 3rd International conference was held in Yangoon, Burma in 1954. 

 

Activities :

The 4th International Conference of the WFB in Kathmandu, the capital town of Nepal.

The Nepalese Delegation led by Ven. Amritananda had returned from Rangoon(yangoon) with a very happy mind to report to the Dharmodaya Sabha that the request of the Dharmodaya Sabha to host the 4th International conference of the WFB to hold it's 4th International Conference of the WFB to hold it's 4th International Conference in Nepal.

To make preparation for hosting the 4th WFB International Conference The Dharmodaya Sabha had requested Late King Tribhuvan to be gracious enough to issue necessary order to His Majesty's Government for providing necessary held and assistance to the Dharmodaya Sabha for the International conference ever to be held in Nepal for the first time in Nepal, His Majesty's Government also was kind enough to provide India rupees 15000.00 and Nepalese rupees 15000.00 for meeting the cost of expenses of the conference. A liaison committee was formed with the representatives of both the Dharmodays Sabha and his Majesty's government with Mr. Loke Darshan, the principal private secretary of His Majesty King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Deva as the Chairman. In 1955 H.M. king Tribhuvan had passed away in nice in switzerland during his tour of the European countries.

Brisk preparations were going on as 4th International Conference was to be held in November 1956. All the regional centers of The World Fellowship of Buddhists numbering about 45 countries were invited to attend to conference as per advice of the Central Secretariat of the World Fellowship of Buddhists.

Thought it was a new experience for the Nepalese Buddhists in particular and Nepalese people in general the efficient leadership of Ven'ble Amritananda, the president, Vice Presidents poet Chittadhar Hridaya, Ven Aniruddha and Prof Asha Ram Shakya, newly elected Secretary General, Mr. Purna Kazi Tamrakar, elected as the assistant secretary, along with other executive member of like Mr. Daya Bir Singh, Mr. Maniharsha Jyoti, Prof. Surya Bahadur Shakya and many other members of the Dharmodaya Sabha the conference was excellently conducted without any flaw. King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shaha Dev graciously inaugurated the Grand Opening Ceremony in the Tundekhel parade ground situated in the heart of Kathmandu city. The whole proceeding of the conference was conducted in Shitala Niwas the Government guest House. All the delegates were lodge in Hotel Royal, Hotel Snoview and Hotel continental. The International Buddhist conference was attended by almost all the funding member of the WFB including Dr. Malalasekera, the Founder President of The World Fellowship of Buddhists of Sri Lanka, Mr. U Chantoon, the Secretary General of the WFB of Burma, Dr, B.R. Ambedkar of India, Mr. Chrismus Humohris of England, Mr. Chau Pu, the President of The Peoples' Republic of China and many other prominent Buddhist monk like Bhadanta Ananda Kausallyayen and many prominent Buddhist monk from Japan, Singapore, Mongolia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Penang, Singapore, Indonesia, United States of America and many other countries of the world. In this historic conference held in Nepal, the Land of the Buddhist including Lord Shakya Muni Buddha who was born in Lumbini in the western terai region of Nepal the historic decision was made to provide necessary assistance to His Majesty's Government in it's effort to develop Lumbini.

The concluding session was held on the Gallery Hall in the Singha Durbar Permises H.M. King Mahendra was gracious to preside over the concluding session of this historic Buddhist Conference. Late Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had delivered a special talk on Buddhism and Communism, perhaps his last public speech dealing with the problems crested by Communism and the Buddhist way to solve them. His Majesty King Mahendra had expressed his hop that the problem appearing in the world will be solved the teachings of the Buddha.

His Majesty King Mahendra and Her Majesty queen Ratna Rajya Luxmi Devi Shah was also gracious enough to present to the participating delegate Buddha figures to the lay delegates and the figure of Tara to the women delegates before bedding farewell to the delegates.

As per the decision of the conference to assist in the development of Lumbini, the sacred birthplace of Lord Buddha Prof. Asha Ram Shakya had taken all the delegates to Lumbini to give them and opportunity to pay their homage to sacred of Lord Buddha. Those days it was very difficult to go to Lumbini, as there were no good roads to go to Lumbini.

 

The concept of the development of the Lumbini developed as the out of the 4th International of the WFB

After the request of the Dharmodaya Sabha to host the 4th Conference of the Dharmodaya Sabha was unanimously accepted by 3rd International Conference of the World fellowship of Buddhists. The Dharmodaya Sabha reconstituted The Lumbini Dharmodaya  Committee to construct a Buddhist Monastery in Lumbini. The committee was to be chaired by the Governor of the Rupandehi district. The member were Ven Dhammaloka, Ven. Mahanama, Mr. Maniharsha Jyoti as the treasure and Prof. Asha Ram Shakya as the secretary to manage the farewell ceremony of the all the delegate to the 4th International Conference of the Buddhists.

The Lumbini Dharmodaya committee requested H.M. King Mahendra to construct a Buddhist Monastery in Lumbini and a request of providing 25 biggest as of land in and around the Maya Devi temple with nativity stone sculpture of queen Maya Devi delivering Prince Siddhartha. H.M. King Mahendra was gracious enough to order the government to provide necessary men, money and land Late Mr. Ganesh Man Singh, the famous Nepali Congress Revolutionary lead and the Minister of transport, and communication was compassionate enough to provide the 25 bighas of land along with power to Lumbini Dharmodaya committee to look after the Maya Devi Temple. The most archeologically important Ashoka Pillar standing by the side of the Buddha's nativity temple as the sentinel to tell the visitors that here verily was the Buddha born. Emperor Ashok had set up the stone Pillar with it's most history stone inscription teling very clearly that the prince p/of peace Buddha Shakya Muni was born here. He had visited Lumbiny to pay homage to lord Buddha on the auspicious occasion of his 20th anniversary of his ascending the throne of India besides, the Lumbini Dharmodaya Committee constructed guesthouse too to facilitate these pilgrims to stay over night in Lumbini, which at that time was lying, neglected and isolated with no good roads to approach it.

After the delegate were given hearty farewell the Dharmodaya Sabha on behalf of it to all the delegates of the 4th International conference of the WFB the attention of the Buddhist world was clearly attracted towards the development of Lumbini. Late U.Nu, the then Prime minister of Burma visited the sacred place of Lord buddha's Birth and presented a Burmese Buddha figure made of white marble to the Lumbini Dharmodaya committee to be enshrined in the newly constructed monastery.   

In 1967 late U. Thant, the secretary general of the U.N. Visited Lumbini and he was very sorry for the state of Lumbini lying in the wild state. Prof. Asha Ram Shakya had briefed him about the need to develop Lumbini when he was briefing him during his visit to Swayambhu Maha Chaitya which reminded him of the great Swedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, After seeing H.M. king Mahendra who was also doing his best to develop Lumbini Prof. U. Thant said that the UN would be doing his best possible for the development of Lumbini. The result was that the unformed a UN Lumbini development committee to provide the best possible assistance technical and financial for the development of Lumbini. The result was that in 1978 Prof. Tange of Japan prepared the Master plan of the development of Lumbini and presented to His Majesty's government of Nepal. The development of Lumbini has been going on with faltered steps because of politicization of the formation of Lumini by the political parties in power in stead of strictly maintaining the starts of the autonomous given to the Lumbini development trust as provided in the Lumbini development trust act 2042 B.S. Recently during the period of ten strenuous years Mr. Loke Darshan as the chairman of the Lumbini development committee could secure 11000 big has of land beside giving  a sacred shape to the Lumbini as the birth place of the Buddha by planting about 100,000m trees of different fruits and trees. Also he has been able to make all of best possible platform for the development of Lumbini. Later during the period of three years when Prof. Surya Bahadur Shakya was the vice chairman, Prof. Asha Ram Shakya was the member secretary and Mr. Maniharsha Jyoti was the Hony. Treasurer agreement were signed with 19 Buddhist donor organizations of the world to construct their Buddhist monasteries zone as per provision laid down in the Lumbini trust act 2042 B.S. with facilities of tax exemptions in the construction materials and free multi entry visa for the foreign donor personnel engaged in the construction of their respective monasteries. Later when their was a change in the government the development process has not been able to proceed with meaningful development.

 

The Dharmodaya Sabha again hosted the 15 international conference of the WFB in 1986

In 1986 the Dharmodaya Sabha had the opportunity to host the 15th international conference of the WFB in Kathmandu. In that conference too the delegates had experienced the unforgettable experience the grand opening ceremony held in the national stadium of Nepal. His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Sha Dev was gracious to inaugurate the 15th WFB conference in Nepal in a very unique culture, religious, spiritual and universal brotherhood atmosphere. Dharmodaya Sabha wonderfully managed the conference in the premises of the Tribhuvan university premises. This conference too unanimously passed a resolution with a promised to what ever possible to for the development of Lumbini. In this conference too as in 1956 took a solemn pledge to help Lumbini.

 

List of Various National Buddhist Conferences organized by Dharmodaya Sabha.

S.No. Place                                                    Dist                 Date   

1st       Anandakuti Vihar, Swayambhu  Kathmandu    B.S.2044 Paush 18 to 20

2nd      Lumbini                                               Rupandehi      B.S.2046 Paush 12 to 14

3rd       Dharan                                                 Sunsari             B.S.2048 Paush 07 to 09

4th       Taulihawa                                           Kapilavastu    B.S.2050 Paush 20 to 22

5th       Pokhara                                               Kaski                 B.S.2052 Paush 08 to 10

6th       Dhangadhi                                          Kailali               B.S.2054 Paush 19 to 21

7th       Narayangadh                                    Chitawan         B.S.2056 Magh 21 to 23

8th       Kirtipur                                               Kathmandu    B.S.2059 Bhadra 14

9th       Kirtipur                                               Kathmandu    B.S. 2062 Bhadra 24

10th     Lumbini                                              Rupandehi      B.S.2066 Paush 04 to 05

 

 Dharmodaya Dhamma Puraskar

"Dharmodaya Dhamma Puraskar," the most prestigious award established in 1997 by Dharmodaya Sabha has been awarded to the following persons:

Mr. Dunda Bahadur Bajracharya – AD 1997

Mr. Bhuwan Lal Pradhan – AD 1999

Mr. Suwarna Sakya – AD 2002

Bhikkhu Gnanpurnika Mahathero – AD 2005

Mr. Tilak Man Gubhaju – AD 2009