Venenerable Dr. Ashin Nyanissara, better known as Sitagu Sayadaw, originally belongs to Myanmar but he is recognized as an able monk in the Theravada Buddhist community and a community supporter throughout the World. To his own people he is best known for his elaborate and clear Dhamma preaching and on a community level for his water distribution project that delivered clean drinking water to over eight hundred monasteries and eight thousand residents of Sagaing Hills.
During his recent visit to India, he visited the village of Juafardih situated about 2 km west of “Remains of Ancient Nalanda University” on the 21st of April 2010. As we have been discussing about the history of Nalanda and its surroundings in the Nalanda-insatiable in offerings blog, Juafardih is the birth and nirvana place of Mahā Moggallāna, who is considered one of his chief disciple and the left hand of The Buddha in organizing the Sangha and Buddha’s teachings. Xuanzang visited Kulika (birth place of Mahā Moggallāna) in 7th century and left eyewitness account of the place during the time. More details about the village/site are found under the topic: kulika (xuanzang's travelogue) kolitgram (Pali sources)
Juafardih is an integral part of Nalanda’s history and many clues that we encounter while resurrecting the history lead us to Kulika as an important link. To bring text book information out to the real world, a participatory rural appraisal (PRA) was conducted among the community.
This site has been in discussion for quite some time and before the initiatives was taken at the grass root level, there were insinuation to include it as a part of the Nalanda circuit, and Chief Minister of Bihar in his visit to Nalanda in December 2009 made it a point to visit the site personally.
Read more about the visit: here
Dr Ravindra Pant, the Director of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, discussed the possibility of collaboration with Ven. Nyanissara and he was pleased with this idea. Ven. Nyanissara visited the Stupa site at Juafardih and the community there welcomed him. He has shown willingness to take over the site for its restoration and adopt the village for various community welfare programs.
The association between Nava Nalanda Mahavihara with Ven. Nyanissara goes long and deep aside from their common roots. On the 27th of October 2008, Nav Nalanda Mahavihara revived its history of special convocation programme after almost 25 years. On this occasion two monks of great eminence Venerable Thick Nhat Hanh and Venerable Ashin Nanissara were conferred honoris Qausa Vidya Varadhi degree of the Mahavihara by His Excellency the Governor of Bihar cum Chancellor of the Mahavihara Sri R.L. Bhatia.