Barua is the lastname of a distinct Bengali-speaking ethnic religious minority clan representing the plain area Buddhist community in Bangladesh. They mainly live in the Chittagong region. The Buddhists of Bangladesh known as the Burua-Buddhist are the ancient peoples of Bangladesh who have lived there for five thousand years according to Arakanese chronology.
Chittagong was once called Chaitya-Grama (town with Buddhist shrines). It was a center of Mahayana Buddhism in 10th century. Magh was the general term used for Buddhists, the Baruas were sometimes termed as Rajbansi, i.e. of royal descent.
They insist that they came from the Aryavarta or the country of the Aryans which is practically identical to the country later known as the Majjhimadesh or Madhyadesh in Pali literature. They are also known as Magh because of their Magadh origin. Bengali speaking Barua people of Chittagong are all Buddhist by religion, unlike Hindu Barua of Assam who are generally Brahmins or Ahom or may belong to any other general caste in India. The word 'Barua' came from 'Baru' meaning great and 'Arya' meaning Noble ones.
A Magh king Jaychand ruled the Chittagong region in 16th century.
All the publications and articles for the history of Barua Buddhist community are partial snap-shot of different thoughts, ideas and perhaps based on the legendary story from ancestors but a solid research work based on archeological and historical background is still pending.
Tha Baruas used to follow Mahayana Buddhism and followed some of the Hindu customs until mid 19th century when the Sangha Raja of Arakan, returning from Bodh Gaya, visited Chittagong. In the mid 19th century, the Baruas came into contact with Thervad Buddhists from Burma and Ceylon and are now thus mainly follow Theravada Buddhism.
- The thousand-petalled lotus: an English Buddhist in India, Sangharakshita (Bhikshu), Heinemann, 1976, p. 265
- The Buddhists of Chittagong, Appendix to Chapter 3, Bengal district gazetteers, 1908, p. 65
- Buddhism in Bangladesh
- Popular Literature and Pre-modern Societies in South Asia, Surinder Singh, I. D. Gaur, Pearson Education India, 2008 p. 194
- Magh raiders in Bengal, Jamini Mohan Ghosh Bookland, 1960p. 55
- Identity and Organization of Buddhists in India, in Emancipation of Dalits and Freedom Struggle, Gyan Publishing House, Jan 1, 2008, p. 370
- Sugat Barua, The Maha Bodhi,1891-1991, Volumes 98-99; Maha-Bodhi Society, p. 307