Buddhist monasteries during Pala period

Buddhism ushered during the pala period and made most significant contributions. The monks keep on travelling to villages to teach. However, during the rainy season it becomes difficult for them to mobile. Even buddha ceased to wander during the rainy season. And it was thought to construct Abode for monks. Soon they became places of learning and gained attraction form various sections. The monasteries were provided with necessary endowments, grants by the chiefs, kings etc. And this leading buddhist monasteries which became prosperous only during the pala period. Here are few famous buddhist monasteries.

The Nalanda enterprise rose from a fundamentally false premise | Hindustan  Times

Somapura Mahavihara

  • Situated at Paharpur village, Rajshahi dist. Bangladesh
  • Constructed by Great pala ruler Dharmapala(8th C. A.D)
  • Trapezoid in shape, consists 117 cells, unique specimen of architecture
  • Monks enjoyed easy life, meditation, knowledge and enhancement of life
  • Spread of Mahayana Buddhism
  • Dipankar srijan stayed here for years and compiled few texts of Mahayana buddhism
  • Lost glory due to the lack of royal patronage and donation from sena kings(11th C. A.D)
  • Tibetan sources say that muslims rulers burned the monasteries.

Vikramshila Mahavihara

  • Situated to the east of champa in bihar
  • Constructed during same period by the same pala ruler Dharmapal also known as vikramashila
  • There are 58 smasthas inside campus and are 108 professors
  • Walls were decorated of eminent scholars for their knowledge, contribution and character
  • Dipankara was appointed upadhyaya of vikramashila
  • Consists of 6 guardian gates, Ratnakarasani was the main gate.
  • AD Jetari, head of varendi(son of Sanatana) composed three books on buddhist Nyaya- Hetutattapodesa, Dharmadharmavanisehyay, Valavataratarka
  • Palakings have direct contact with monastery
  • Plundered by muslim raiders.

Odantapuri Mahavihara

  • Situated near Biharsarif in Bihar
  • Constructed by pala ruler Gopalaor Dharmapale
  • Atisa Dipankara is Upadhyaya

Nalanda Mahavihara

  • Constructed by King kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty in 5th century CE. It was patronized by various rulers including King Harshavardhana of Kannauj (7th century CE) and the Pala rulers (8th – 12th century CE)
  • Situated in Southeast of patna in Bihar
  • Consists of 8 buildings,11000 cells, 3 libraries named Ratnadadhi, Ratnasagara, Ratnarajaka
  • Highest importance during the reign of Devapala
  • Students from all over the world came here to learn. A resident university and tax free
  • Goshrawa inscription says Viradeva was administrator of Nalanda
  • Apart from buddhist studies grammar, veda, tantra, science, medicine was taught and learnt simutaneously
  • Some principles of nalanda are nagarjuna, Shilabhadra, Jinamitra, Dharmapala, Vasubandha, Aryadeva
  • Chinese pilgrim XuanZang visited and resided in nalanda when shilabhadra was the principle of nalanda
  • Nalanda came under the spell of Tantricism and attacked by muslim rulers and burnt libraries. Read more on wikipedia

Jagaddala Mahavihara

  • Situated in Jogaddala in Bangladesh
  • Constructed by Ramapala, 11th C. A.D
  • Centre for Tantric Buddhism
  • Vidyakara composed a volume of sanskrit slokas called Subhasita Ratnakosha(1739 slokas)
  • Subhakaragupta commented on treatise of tantrasatra named Siddhaika Viratantrika
  • Bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara and Tara are presiding deities in monastery
  • Scholars escaped to tibet after muslims invasion

Other viharas

  • Devikota vihara situated in Bhangarh, Dinajpur in Bangladesh
  • bhasu Vihara in Bangladesh
  • Nandadigohika Vihara constructed by Mahendra pala situated in Jagjjivanpurin in west bengal
  • Traikutaka Vihara presumed between Dharmapala and Mahipala situated in west bengal, Haribhadra commentary on Abhisamayalamkara and translated to tibet by Ratna Bhadra


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