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Jaggadala Mahavihara was the last great seat of Buddhist learning founded by the Pāla dynasty in Varendra, the northern region of ancient Bengal. Today it is located in the Naogaon District, Rajshahi Division, north-west Bangladeshmarker near Paharapur.UNESCO World Heritage website.[831696]

History

Founding

Jaggadala was likely founded by King Rāmapāla (c. 1077-1120), toward the end of the Pāla dynasty.

A number of monasteries grew up during the Pāla period in ancient Bengal and Magadha. According to Tibetan sources, five great Mahaviharas stood out: Vikramashilamarker, the premier univeristy of the era; Nalandamarker, past its prime but still illustrious, Somapuramarker, Odantapurā, and Jaggadala. The five monasteries formed a network; "all of them were under state supervision" and their 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 Pāla 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.

Jaggadala specialized in Vajrayana Buddhism. A large number of texts that would later appear in the Kanjur and Tengjur were known to have been composed or copied at Jaggadala. It is likely that the earliest dated anthology of Sanskrit verse, the Subhāṣitaratnakoṣa, was compiled by Vidyaākara at Jaggadala toward the end of the eleventh century or the beginning of the twelfth.

Little is known about Jaggadala compared with the other mahaviharas of the era.

Decline and end

Śakyaśrībhadra, a Kashmiri mahapaṇḍita who was the last abbot of Nalandamarker Mahavihara and instrumental in transmitting Buddhism to Tibet, is said to have fled to Tibet in 1204 from Jaggadala when Muslim incursions seemed imminent. Historian Sukumar Dutt tenatively placed the final destruction of Jaggadala in 1207; in any case it seems to have been the last mahavihara to be overrun.

Excavation and UNESCO status

In 1999 Jaggadala was submitted as tentative site for inclusion on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. UNESCO reports that excavation has revealed "an extensive mound, 105 metres long by 85 metres, which represents the archaeological remains of a Buddhist monastery . . . finds have included terracotta plaques, ornamental bricks, nails, a gold ingot and three stone images of deities.UNESCO World Heritage website.[831697]

Notes

  1. Buddhist Monks And Monasteries Of India: Their History And Contribution To Indian Culture. by Dutt, Sukumar. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London 1962. pg 377
  2. Vajrayogini: Her Visualization, Rituals, and Forms by Elizabeth English. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-329-X pg 15
  3. 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
  4. Buddhist Monks And Monasteries Of India: Their History And Contribution To Indian Culture. by Dutt, Sukumar. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London 1962. pg 378
  5. Dreaming the Great Brahmin: Tibetan traditions of the Buddhist poet-saint Saraha by Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Sarahapāda pg 88
  6. Buddhist Monks And Monasteries Of India: Their History And Contribution To Indian Culture. by Dutt, Sukumar. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London 1962. pg 379-80


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