By Deepak Anand
Nava Nalanda Mahavihara (NNM, Deemed University) is a research institute that specializes in the field of Pāli and Buddhist studies. It integrates and unfolds knowledge in threefold manner as per the Buddhist tradition namely: Pariyatti (Theoretical Knowledge), Patipatti(
Practice) and Pativeda (Experience).
NNM since its inception has not limited itself to the classroom teachings but has reached the wider audience by designing projects, programmes and activities for a seamless convergence of the Pariyatti, Patipatti and Pativedha.
In consonance with its aims and objectives, NNM in 2007 initiated ‘Mapping of Nālandā, Rājgir and around’ (Mapping) project. The objective of the project is to document the tangible and intangible Buddhist heritage of Bihār. Based on the documentation work done under the Mapping Project, ‘Revival of the Ancient Buddhist Pilgrimage in Bihār’ (RABPB) was initiated in collaboration with Department of Art, Culture and Youth, Government of Bihār in 2010.
Tangible heritage of Bihār in forms of sculptures, artefacts, mounds etc are under threat. Community living with the heritage is helpless and ill equipped to handle this vast heritage. At the same time the policy makers, government agencies and other stakeholders are ignorant about the ground realities. NNM under its projects is successfully facilitating bridging the gap of understanding between the stakeholders.
Awareness events like Dhamma and Heritage Walks to promote Buddhist heritage of Bihār are now integral part of the NNM’s annual event calendar. In acknowledgement of awareness generation efforts by NNM, Government of Bihār in 2012 marked the parinirvāṇa days of Sāriputta and Mahāmoggallāna as state days.
There are many important sacred sites associated with the sublime wandering of the Buddha that are not in the Buddhist pilgrimage circuit. A dedicated Buddha trail connecting sacred sites like Jeṭhian, Buddhavana, Prāgbodhi and Pārwati is conceived and being promoted under the project.