Heritage, treasures all burnt

October 8, 2012

Sectarian violence at Ramu
Heritage, treasures all burnt
Buddha relics, several hundred statues of the Buddha, hundreds of ancient manuscripts and religious scriptures, mostly dating back to the 11th to the 12th century and
about 5,000 copies of the Tripitaka in different languages were either burnt or looted during sectarian attack by the Muslims on the Buddhists at Ramu in Cox’s Bazar
that took place in September 29–30, monks said.
The 12 places of worship for the Buddhists that were damaged or destroyed in the attack are Panachanan Banabihar, Bimukti Bidarshan Bhabna Kendra, U Chit Ban Rkhain
Buddhist Temple, Central Sima Bihar, Sada Ching, Lal Ching, Maitree Bihar, Ukhiyar Ghona Temple, Aryabangsha Monastery, Ajanta Temple, Dipankar Temple, and Hari
Mandir.
Buddha relics, believed to be parts of the remains of the Lord Buddha after his cremation, kept in the Sima Monastery were lost in the sectarian attack, said Pundit
Bhadanta Satyapriya Mahathero, the chief of the monastery, who received them as gifts from other countries.
‘Buddha Dhatus are parts of the remains of the Buddha after his cremation. These were our most sacred things. But we have lost them all. This is an irreparable loss,’
he said on Sunday.
Satyapriya, the most revered monk in Cox’s Bazar, said that there were a large number of manuscripts in Pali and other languages on stories of the Buddha and ancient
literature.
‘We had 5,000 rare copies of the Tripitaka in different languages and all were burnt to ashes. All the achievements of my life as a monk have been ruined,’ he said.
Pragyanadna Bhikkhu, the resident director at the Central Sima Monastery, said that there were a number of rare statues of the Buddha made of touchstone and wood and
they were all stolen during the attack. ‘These were not only the heritage of the Buddhists but were also national treasures.’
‘The damage done is irreparable. No one on earth will be able to make up for the losses. All the wounds might be healed but it will continue to bleed us deep in our
hearts,’ he said.
Monks at U Chit Ban Rkhain Buddhist Temple, locally known as Bara Kiyang, said that there were more than 500 statues of the Lord Buddha in various posture made of
precious materials in the temple but only 12 of them could be traced after the attackers had left the place.
The monks said that major artefacts that were lost in the attack included two relics of the Lord Buddha, a golden, a touchstone and 60 silver statues of the Buddha.
Ancient and rare palm-leaf manuscripts of folk and religious tales preserved in the temples for several hundred years went up in flames, former visiting professor of
the University of Dhaka Pranab Kumar Baruya said at Dharma Rajika Buddhist Monastery in Dhaka.
‘Almost all the temples and monasteries, adorned intricately with wood carvings, were burnt and damaged… they were old, some built in the late 17th or the early 18th
centuries,’ said Pranab, who is also general secretary of Bangladesh Bauddha Krishti Prachar Sangha.
Dhaniram Barua, a writer and researcher on the Buddhist history at Ramu, said that the antiquarian value of the artefacts that were lost could not bee assessed. ‘They
were priceless. They cannot be recreated or reproduced.’

Courtesy of New Age

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