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Bodhgaya

Seat of Enlightenment
Our History

Bodhgaya is revered the world over as the place where the Prince Siddhartha, having spent five years practicing austerities in the surrounding forest, approached the Bodhi tree on the full moon night of May, and sat with the vow that he would not arise until he had found and defeated the source of suffering for all sentient beings. As the dawn broke, he arose as the Buddha, a radiant guide for all beings. The Bodhi Tree became a great site of pilgrimage, drawing thousands of followers over the next two millennia, with a great Temple built on the site during the Sunga dynasty, and extended and enlarged numerous times over the following 700 years. Following the abandonment of the Temple in the 15th century, a new tradition of chanting the Buddha word at the place of enlightenment was re-initiated in 2006, with the establishment of the first Tipitaka chanting ceremony. 

Formation of the International Tipitaka Chanting Council

On February 18, 2006, representatives of the Mahasangha met under the Bodhi Tree and resolved to make the chanting of the Tipitaka at Bodh Gayā an annual event, to be held on the first full moon after the completion of the annual Nyingma Monlam Chenmo or World Peace Ceremony. Participants agreed to establish an international council to make arrangements for the annual chanting, seek donors and patrons, and otherwise encourage and support the chanting ceremony.

International Tipitaka International Council permanent board members:

Lord Abbot of the Wat Thai Temple, Bodh Gaya

Lord Abbot Burmese Vihar (President International Buddhist Council, Bodhgaya)

• Venerable Sanghanayaka Sasanajyoti S. Dharmapal Mahathera, Chief Patriarch of the Buddhists of Bangladesh

• Venerable Satyapriya Mahathera, President and Supreme Sangha Council of Bangaldesh

• Representative from Sri Lanka (drawn from the senior monks of Sri Lanka, Venerable Gyannanda)

• Lord Abbot Venerable Sadanand Mathera, All India Bhikku Sangha

• Representative from the Cambodian Temple, Bodh Gayā

• Venerable Tarthang Tulku, Founder of the Light of Buddhadharma Foundation International

The Theravādin elders established an International Tipitaka Chanting Council with rotating leadership to plan future ceremonies. Attendance at the International Tipitaka Chanting Ceremony tripled in the first few years of its existence, and by 2019, over 2,000 monks and nuns from nine Theravādin countries were in annual attendance. 

In 2023, over 10,000 monks, nuns and lay followers from ten countries from around the world gathered in Bodhgaya from December 2 to 12 for the 18th International Tipitaka chanting ceremony organized by the Mahasangha of Cambodia. A procession of more than a mile in length opened the gathering, and the Governor of Bihar offered the welcoming address.  On the evening before the opening ceremony, a symposium was held at the Bodhgaya Conference hall on the Revival of Buddha Dhamma in the Land of Origin”, organized jointly by the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) and the Light of Buddha Dharma Foundation International (LBDFI) of Berkeley, US with many Indian Buddhist groups.

What did the Buddha teach here according to the Pali Canon:

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in
Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery.

Then the Buddha robed up in the morning and, taking his bowl and
robe, entered Sāvatthī for alms. Then several mendicants went up to
Venerable Ānanda and said to him, “Reverend, it’s been a long time
since we’ve heard a Dhammatalk from the Buddha. It would be good if
we got to hear a Dhamma talk from the Buddha.”

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