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Odantapuri (also called Odantapura or Uddandapura) was a Buddhist Mahavihara in what is now Bihar, India. It was established by the Pala Emperor Gopala I in the 8th century. It is considered the second oldest of India's Mahaviharas after Ancient Nalanda University and was situated in Magadha.
Acharya Sri Ganga of Vikramashila was a student at this Mahavihara. According to the Tibetan records there were about 12,000 students at Odantapuri which was situated at a mountain called Hiranya Prabhat Parvat and by the bank of the river Panchanan.
In a Tibetan history of the Kalachakra tantra by Ngakwang Künga Sönam, 27th Sakya Trizin (Wylie: ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams,1597–1659), it is mentioned that Odantapuri was administered by "Sendha-pa", the Tibetan referent for a Śrāvakayāna Buddhist school. According to the Tibetan historian Tāranātha, King Mahāpāla supported 500 Śrāvakasaṅgha bhikshus at Odantapuri. As an annex to this monastery, he built a monastery called Uruvasa, where he supported 500 Sendha-pa or Sendhava Sravaka. During the reign of King Rāmapāla, a thousand monks, belonging to both Hinayana and Mahayana, lived in Odantapuri and occasionally even twelve thousand monks congregated there. According to Peter Skilling, the "Sendha-pa" Śrāvaka-s could possibly have been Sāmmatīya-s since the probable derivation of "Sendha-pa" is from the Sanskrit saindhava or ‘residents of Sindh’ where the Sāmmatīya-s were the predominant school. Tāranātha links the Sendhapa or Sendhava Śrāvaka monks at the Mahabodhi at Bodhgaya to the “Singha Island”, i.e. Sri Lanka, and “other places”.
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 Jagaddala. 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.
- Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. p. 34. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
- ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams. "༄༅།དཔལ་དུས་ཀྱི་འཁོར་ལོའི་ཟབ་པ་དང་རྒྱ་ཆེ་བའི་དམ་པའི་ཆོས་བྱུང་བའི་ཚུལ་ལེགས་པར་བཤད་པ་ངོ་མཚར་དད་པའི་ཤིང་རྟ་". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center.
- Chattopadhyaya, Alaka and Chimpa, Lama, translators. Tāranātha’s History of Buddhism in India, Motilal Books UK, ISBN 8120806964. 2000: 289.
- Chattopadhyaya, Alaka and Chimpa, Lama, translators. Tāranātha’s History of Buddhism in India, Motilal Books UK, ISBN 8120806964. 2000: 313.
- Skilling, Peter. “The Saṃskṛtāsaṃskṛtaviniṣcaya of Daśabalaśrīmitra”, Buddhist Studies Review, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1987: 3–23, p. 16.
- Chattopadhyaya, Alaka and Chimpa, Lama, translators. Tāranātha’s History of Buddhism in India, Motilal Books UK, ISBN 8120806964. 2000: 279.
- Vajrayogini: Her Visualization, Rituals, and Forms by Elizabeth English. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-329-X pg 15
- Buddhist Monks And Monasteries Of India: Their History And Contribution To Indian Culture. by Sukumar Dutt, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London 1962. pg 352-3