Odantapuri

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Odantapuri, also called Odantapura or Uddandapura, was a Buddhist vihara in what is now Bihar, India. It was established by King Gopala of the Pala dynasty in the 7th century. It is considered the second oldest of India's universities and was situated in Magadh. Recently it is known as the Bihar Sharif (Headquarters of Nalanda District). Acharya Sri Ganga of Vikramashila had been a student here. According to the Tibetan records there were about 12,000 students at Odantapuri. Odantpuri was situated at a mountain called Hiranya Prabhat Parvat and the bank of the river Panchanan.

In a Tibetan history of the Kalachakra tantra called dpal dus kyi 'khor lo'i zab pa dang rgya che ba'i dam pa'i chos byung ba'i tshul legs par bshad pa ngo mtshar dad pa'i shing rta, by the Sakya master Jamgon Amye Zhab (1597–1659) ('jam mgon a myes zhabs ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams), it is mentioned that Odantapuri was administered by "Sendhapas," the Tibetan referent for Sri Lankan Theravadins.

A number of monasteries grew up during the Pala period in ancient Bengal and Magadha. According to Tibetan sources, five great Mahaviharas stood out: Vikramashila, the premier university of the era; Nalanda, past its prime but still illustrious, Somapura Mahavihara, Odantapuri, and Jaggadala.[1] The five monasteries formed a network; "all of them were under state supervision" and there existed "a system of co-ordination among them . . it seems from the evidence that the different seats of Buddhist learning that functioned in eastern India under the Pala were regarded together as forming a network, an interlinked group of institutions," and it was common for great scholars to move easily from position to position among them.[2]

The university perished, along with Nalanda, at the hands of the Ali Bakhtiar Muhammad Khilji around 1193. Khilji's descendants would form the Khilji dynasty in 1290 and become known for their assault on Hinduism.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Vajrayogini: Her Visualization, Rituals, and Forms by Elizabeth English. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-329-X pg 15
  2. ^ Buddhist Monks And Monasteries Of India: Their History And Contribution To Indian Culture. by Dutt, Sukumar. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London 1962. pg 352-3

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