বৃহষ্পতিবার, ৫ মে, ২০১১

A case study of Buddhist Social Customs in Bangladesh

BHIKKHU DHARMESWAR

Introduction:
Mainly in Bangladesh Barua Buddhists live in the Chittagong District. Some numbers of Barua live in large districts of Comilla and Noakhali. The Barua Buddhists are staying in Bangladesh from ancient period. They live in co-existence with ethnic groups of Hindu and Muslim in Bangladesh. The ethnic group of Barua Buddhist strongly believes and follows their social customs similar to Hindu community. They are practicing their social customs of Birth Celebration, Marriage Ceremony and funeral Ceremony from the ancient period. This conventional social customs fundamentally depend on blind faith not related to Buddhist religious faith. Buddhism only stands on the fundamental belief not superstition or blind faith. Mean; good deeds good result and misdeeds bad result.
Recently, we included religious rules and principles to most of social customs’ celebration. Now I would like to focus briefly in my paper about some Buddhist social customs in Bangladesh.

Sadh Bhakhon:

Any married woman, who once becomes pregnant in her married life, performs (Sadh Bhakhon) a desire consumes. It is not originated from Buddhism and it basically comes from Hinduism. Buddhist people celebrate this custom similar to other ethnic groups. On the occasion of (Sadh Bhakhon) many relatives such mother, an aunt, aunty friends and relatives come from pregnant woman’s parent house with various kinds of sweets, cakes, new cloths, perfume and cosmetics. On this day of (Sadh Bhakhon), firstly they wash the pregnant woman and after washing they give her new cloths to wear. The one as well as the other relatives total five women whose husband are alive arrange a seat with mat and bed-seat inside the house or compound of the resident. This time pregnant woman is seated on the decorate mat. After sitting; the relatives of pregnant woman such as one of her sister’s husband and a wife of husband’s brother dressed her hair and head and give an infant in her lap. Thereafter; the five women come in front of pregnant woman and feed her various sweets and cakes by their five folding hands. That time; impending oldest women loudly sing with rhythmic voice with joy .So now; the joy and rejoice is less than previous celebration. Then Sadh Bhakhon ritual continues before the child born. Pregnant woman’s mother, present here with midwife and some other personal intimate relative. If the born child is son, the people who were present make sound five times HULU DHANI 2 and for daughter they make sound three times. The villagers can identified the new born infant is son or daughter listening this HULU DHANI sound. Three, five or seven days later the parents of newcomer child invite relatives from both sides to join HUT festival and called a barber for saving infant’s head. Many relatives come to join at the HUT festival and bring valuable gifts for child. At the sacred bright fortnight they start to keep the infant in a cradle. When, the infant starts to swing, then they put Mimosa leaf, Margasa leaf, and Jasmine leaf, Book, Writing pad, Pen, Pencil and some educational elements beside it. They strongly believe that for these elements in future the child will be strong, healthy, wise, brilliant, pious and free from sickness. Within six or seven months the newcomer child’s parents select a sacred day for ANNO PRASON . On that day they go to Buddhist Temple with child and relatives. Firstly they worship Buddha, take refuge the Triple Gems and five precepts from resident monk and make donation for monks and temple donation box. Finally they feed up sweet liquid rice to child with gold or silver spoon or coin touched by monk.

Now-a- days; most of the parents perform SANGHA DANA & ATTAPARIKKHARA DANA and relative gathering on this memorable moment and child’s birth day. It is a great opportunity to our society and religion.

Dikkha or Pabbajja:

Dikkha or Pabbajja is the most significant social custom of Barua Buddhist in Bangladesh. The meaning of Dikkha or Pabbaja is penetrating to religious holy monk life. According to the custom, every Barua Buddhist must take Pabbajja for minimum seven days renouncing worldly life. Pabbajja means “PABAKANAM MALAM PABBAJETITI PABBAJITO ” that means He abandons his sin filths-that is why he is called ‘pabbajito’ it is the best for the house holder. Any boy can take pabbajja for more than seven years but girl cannot in our country. The Buddha has compared the worldly life as a jail but Pbbajjaas as the open sky. Take Pabbajja is much respected and most praiseworthy in the society. Anybody can take Pabbaja according to his parents’ permission. Without taking Pabbajja nobody can get married in our society. For this reason all parents think it as their social and religious duty to give Pabbajja to their son. In the occasion of Pabbajja Ceremony the parents of Pabbajja holder invite their relative, villagers, neighbours, friends and relation. They also provide SANGHA DANA & ATTHAPARIKKHARA DANA and arrange feast for relatives. The Pabbaja holder must need ATTHAPARIKKHARA . Without Attaparikkhara nobody can take Pabbajja. In the evening, Pabbaja holder goes to temple to carry Attaparikkhara after shaving his head with all of his relatives. On the way, a group of religious singers sing BUDDHA KIRTAN . Then after reaching the monastery the Pabbajja seeker worships Buddha and takes blessings from all old and elder people. At first, he has to take PANCASILA and do VANDANA to the present Bhikkhu SANGHA . He will take the TI CIVARA in his hand round shaped. Then sitting down, he prays for the Pabbajja –
“OKASA AHAM BHANTE PABBAJJAM YACAMI” Three times, means Oh! Venerable give me the opportunity I am praying for the Pabbajja. Then Pabbajja seeker recites the following word orally UPAJJHAYA
“SABBADUKKHA NISSARANA NIBBANAM SACCHIKARANATTHAYA IMAM KASAVAM HAHETVA PABBAJETHA MAM BHANTE ANUKAMPAM UPADAYA” Three times
Means-
Oh! Venerable, for the freeness from all sorrows and for the realization of the nirvana, please taking these KASAVAS give me Pabbajja. After then The UPAJJHAYA will make the seeker recite the first five of 32 elements of ASUBHA KAMMATTHANA . After taking ASUBHA KAMMATTHANA one is to take DASASILA . After taking DASASILA, the UPAJJHAYA will call the Samanera in a new religious name. Finally at end of Ceremony, the chief monk called Samanera’s parents for hand over the Alms-bowl and Umbrella and tell them to show respect to new Samanera and invite to receive Dana for next day. One can spend whole life as monk life if he wishes or can go back to his worldly life. The Barua Buddhist in Bangladesh respectfully believes that everybody must take Pabbajja one time in his life. If anybody does not take Pabbajja he will be blameworthy in the Society. So, Pabbajja is compulsory to any Buddhist in Bangladesh.

Bostra-Alonkar Chorani:

“Bostra-Alonkar Chorani” is one of the important and delightful social customs or festivals in Barua Buddhist social life of Bangladesh. This social custom festival is very meaningful in the life of every unmarried male and female. This is the primary holy path of entering domestic life. For this festival everyone chooses a fixed date from the sacred bright fortnight. On a fixed day a number of social respectable bridegroom party representatives go the to bride’s house to discuss about the date of marriage ceremony, it is called ALONGKAR CHORANI house festival. That day they give present to bride’s house and bring delicious sweet, conch, vermilion, garments, ornament and cosmetics. When they enter the bride’s house then a group women sound HULU DHANI and spray holy water from weal jar. After then the bride party representatives welcome them to take seat in specific place and people from both groups take seat in guest room and exchange cordial greetings to each other. Here they put in front of guests a decorated betel and betel nut plate with sugar pot to accomplish light repast of sweet after that they perform light repast of sweet from sugar pot to each others; this is call PAN-MITA . After formalities an older in age approach on behalf of bride party” honorable distinguished guests, we heartily welcome all of you to our village. Please, we want to know; what the purpose about yours arrival at our village? Thereafter, another older in age reply on behalf of bridegroom “Yes, gentle men, our purpose is “We want to make an offer in marriage to our village member Mr. (bridegroom father’s name) son Mr. (bridegroom’s name) with your village member Mr. (bride father’s name) daughter Miss. (bride’s name) “We hope our proposal will be accepted heartily”. Now the bride party accept bridegroom’s proposal with three times SADHU sound. This time the bridegroom party shows the dresses, ornaments, ring, cosmetic and other elements which will be used to beautify the bride on the marriage ceremony. At the eleventh hours; the both parties take dinner; it is call JORANI BHAT . After finishing dinner, the bride takes a seat on a new decorated mat and wears the ring brought by bridegroom’s younger brother or sister in law. When the bridegroom party leaves the house then bride’s mother gives them a binding pack of her daughter’s horoscope with some rice and a kind of grass. It is called GAD . In this manner the Bostra-Alonkar Chorani arrangement finished.

Pan-Salla:
PAN-SALLA is one of the gatherings between bridegroom and Bride’s villagers and discusses how they can properly finish the upcoming marriage ceremony. The Bridegroom and Bride family leader send a messenger for calling village leaders to attend the meeting. They should come in the evening and take seat in the meeting. The Bridegroom and Bride’s father or their guardians proclaim the date of marriage ceremony at the meeting. The meeting held together not separately because later there may arise confusion. At the tea time in meeting, the village judicious leader offer duty to other sub leaders and young generation. This PAN-SALLA is very important for arranging the marriage properly.

Tele-Chorani:

TELE CHORANI is a one kind of Bridegroom and Bride greetings social custom ceremony in Buddhist community of Bangladesh. In the beginning of Ceremony Bridegroom and Bride go to Buddhist Temple to worship Buddha, take five precepts and hear Sutta. Before starting Ceremony they are given a holy sanctified cotton right hand from monks, left hand a bundle of iron, on the waist copper mirror from barber from save an evil eye and an evil sprit. On that time many friends and relative present at the occasion from bridegroom and bride and perform an entertaining function. Over all; marriage Ceremony function the BORON KHULA in most important elements for Bridegroom and Bride. The BORON KHULA decorates with fourteenth elements. There are-
1. New wicker-try - 1 piece
2. Paddy-seed - 1500 gram (Symbol of wealth and prosperity)
3. Durba Grass - 1 Bundle (Symbol of fulfillment)
4. Green Guava - 3/5 pieces (Symbol of family growth)
5. Turmeric - 3/4 pieces (Symbol of beauty)
6. Small Stone - 1 piece (Symbol of strength and courage)
7. Ghila - 1 piece (Symbol of soundness and gravity)
8. Soil lamp with mustard oil -1 piece (Symbol of knowledge and wish)
9. Soil Jar with full water -1 piece (Symbol of fulfill life)
10. Fig-tree leaf -1 Bundle (Symbol of ever youth and long live)
11. Bamboo leaf -1 Bundle (Symbol of ever youth and long live)
12. Muragi leaf -1 Bundle (Symbol of ever youth and long live)
13. Mango leaf -1 Bundle (Symbol of ever youth and long live)
14. Tender leaf of Banana Tree -1 piece (Symbol of ever youth and long live)
This function is held in front of Bridegroom and Bride house. Basically here join only unmarried young generations. The decorated new wicker try put in front of bridegroom or bride. Then young man or young woman takes a bundle of Durba grass and touch Bridegroom or Bride forehead five times. At the side of sister in law or an older aged person hold a lamp to get the burning touch to Bridegroom or Bride’s forehead. Lastly his or her parents take turmeric past and smear his or her face and remove it with his napkin or corner of loincloth. After that they take their son or daughter on one’s lap and give them blessings. At last they take all elements from BORON-KULA and drop mustard oil on Bridegroom or Bride head.

Bou Namani:

Barua Buddhist community has two kinds of marriage system in Bangladesh. One is NAMONTA marriage and another is CHOLONTA marriage. When the bridegroom party come back home with bride in a bridegroom house, the SADHOVA female members cordially receive her (a new bride) through HULU DHANI. It is very interesting that the bridegroom and bride cannot see each other before the ceremony is celebrated. The bridegroom is kept in a particular house and bride kept in another room. The girl and other relative make a crowd and express joy and see the face of bride. The bride does not take any food or drink in the bridegroom’s house till she is not a real wife through Buddhist custom. For this reason bride’s parents sent some banana and fruits to bridegroom’s house or supply other neighbour family for the bride. In the evening, the villager eat delicious food when the bride party came in the bridegroom’s house, they are welcomed in a ceremonial way and preparation is taken for the actual marriage ceremony according to social and religious custom.

Conclusion:

The social custom is very important to every society. Not only Buddhist but also majority communities of Bangladesh have respective social customs. In Bangladesh Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist heartily believe and follow their own customs. Bangladeshi Buddhists observe, practice and believe the social custom and keep relation with Buddhist ideal concepts. It is sure that Hindu community strongly influences all social customs of Barua Buddhist community.

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