On Wednesday, 24 April, Ven. Dr. Kalyan Priya, the Abbot of Bangladesh Buddhist Temple in Bodhgaya, India visited Nalanda Centre for a meeting with Bro. Tan. The venerable was accompanied by Ven. Sumana Nanda, also from Bangladesh. Both the venerables were very impressed by the set-up and programmes of Nalanda Buddhist Society.
Bangladesh is predominantly a Muslim country; in fact, it has one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. However, there has been a Buddhist presence in Bangladesh even since the time of the Buddha, where the place was named ‘Anga’ in the scriptures. Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism once flourished in Bangladesh under the patronage of the Gupta and Pala Dynasties. But since the early 12th Century following the collapse of Buddhist and Indian kingdoms, Mahayana Buddhism has completely disappeared from there.
Nevertheless, Theravada Buddhism is still practised in Bangladesh until today, with around 2 million Bengali Buddhists living near Chittagong in Eastern Bangladesh, and hill-tribe Buddhists living in the interiors. The Bangladesh Buddhist Temple in Bodhgaya is one of the very few Bangladeshi temples outside their native country.