“Big Baba” Black Buddha




Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee

( Arjarasupoh )


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Full Biography

Biography - Section VI


Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee

( Arjarasupoh )

  (January 2014)



Section VI:   Detailed Description of Big Baba's (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) BLACK BUDDHA of Nalanda Public Facilities and Community Development Project (India)


Ancient University of Nalanda


In the northeast of India in the state of Bihar is the site of an ancient great university, Nalanda, built in an area distinguished by its connection with the BUDDHA.  It houses the remains of the BUDDHA’s great disciple, Sariputta.  The great King Asoka was one of the patrons who built temples and monasteries there.  Already a Buddhist pilgrimage destination and a place of study, Nalanda University was established as one of the first great universities in recorded history, in the fifth century.  It was the first university in the world where Buddhist monasticism and classical learning were taught, and it was also the first residential international university of the world.  At its peak, it housed over 15,000 students and 1,500 teachers in numerous monasteries, attracted from throughout Asia and parts of the Middle East.  It was important in establishing links between China, Tibet, and India, and in the spread of Buddhism throughout Asia.  It prospered under the patronage of kings and emperors until the 12th century.  The university came to a violent end when it was sacked by invaders who killed many monks and residents and burned the monasteries and temples, and the incomparable nine story library.  The library supposedly was so extensive that it burned for three months.

(Nalanda’s location)


Excavations of the archaelogical remains of Nalanda began in 1915, under British colonization, and continues under the auspices of the Archaelogical Society of India.  The excavated site is now approximately 150,000 square meters, or about ten percent of the entire ancient site. 

The BLACK BUDDHA of Nalanda

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Near the ancient Nalanda University in the village of Baragaon, just outside the old university wall, there miraculously remains a rare, large, and fine BUDDHA image of black granite in the “Defeating Mara” position.  It survived attempts to vandalize it, and attempts to relocate it, protected by its own sacredness and by the Hindu villagers who have preserved it over the years.  As with other BLACK BUDDHA images in the vicinity, which are revered by Buddhists and Hindus alike, the local people tended to call it Teliya Baba (or the Baba upon which one pours oil).  This image is commonly called BLACK BUDDHA of Nalanda (though it may share this nomenclature with other images).

(Baragaon’s location)  (BLACK BUDDHA’s location)


Note:  Bigbaba wholeheartedly wants to thank and pay his respect to the local village pilgrims and friends, and to the pilgrims and friends from all around the world who so graciously protected and worshipped the BLACK BUDDHA, over many years.  Your constant, loving reverence and worship of the BLACK BUDDHA has made this possible and kept this supreme gift alive for all of mankind.  Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) appreciates your loving support very much!!

The state of Bihar, the locus of the BLACK BUDDHA of Nalanda and Nalanda University, is among the least developed and poorest states of India.  However, it is also the place where the most sacred sites surrounding the life of the BUDDHA are located, including the place of his enlightenment and major teachings.  The wealth of highly revered sacred places in Bihar carries the hopeful possibility of development that will be of assistance to the local populace.

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During a pilgrimage to India in 2005, Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh (Big Baba), a Thai Buddhist monk traveling with his internationally known and revered teacher, Luang Por Jumnian Seelasettho Chonsakhorn and fellow monk Phra Ajahn Ngam Rattanayano, was profoundly moved by a visit to pay respects to this BLACK BUDDHA.  He was inspired to undertake a project to develop the area around the BUDDHA image.  He secured the support and permission of Luang Por Jumnian Seelasettho to curtail his pilgrimage and stayed instead for two and one half months with the local community, developing a vision full of light and hope for the common benefit of the BLACK BUDDHA and the villagers.  During stays in Nalanda totaling over a year, he worked with the villagers to create a proposal for the site.  One focus was better access, and the first stage of development of a road has already become a reality.



  • พระเดชพระคุณ  พระพรหมวชิรญาณ  กรรมการมหาเถรสมาคม  เจ้าอาวาสวัดยานนาวา กรุงเทพมหานคร ประเทศไทย  ประธานอำนวยการโครงการ  สร้างถนนคอนกรีตเสริมเหล็กถวายหลวงพ่อองค์ดำ  นาลันทา  รัฐพิหาร  อินเดีย
  • Venerable Phra Promwachirayan (Member of the Sangha Supreme Council; Abbot of Yannawa Temple in Bangkok, Thailand; and the Executive Director of the Reinforced Concrete Road Project for the BLACK BUDDHA of Nalanda, Bihar, India)







Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) provided funding for a drinking well and a nearby marble temple, as an expression of gratitude to the local community for the respect and reverence with which the image has been maintained for centuries.  The project has created a bridge of mutual trust and goodwill between the Hindu and Buddhist communities.  Overall, Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) has spent over four years in Nalanda making these various improvements come to fruition.

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As reported in the Jakarta Globe on September 13, 2010, the Indian Parliament passed a bill approving plans to rebuild the campus at Nalanda on 200 hectares of land near its original location.  It is estimated that the project will need one billion dollars of funds.  Singapore, Japan, China, and groups within those countries have already begun pledging support to revive the educational heritage of the area.  Subsequently, meetings have been held, substantial funds have been pledged, and approaches to developing an architectural plan have been discussed.  Here is some extra information about Nalanda: 


In the old days, Nalanda was a Buddhist university, but it was remarkably open to many interpretations of that religion.  That is, Nalanda represents much of what Asia could use today - a great global university that reaches deep into the region’s underlying cultural heritage, restores many of the peaceful links among peoples and cultures that once existed, and gives Asia the kind of soft power of influence and attraction that it does not have now.  The West has a long tradition of rediscovering its ancient Greek and Roman roots, and is much stronger for that.  Asia could and should do the same, using the Nalanda project as a springboard but creating a modern, future-oriented context for a new university.  Today, it could perform a vital role consistent with its original ethos - to be an institution devoted to religious reconciliation on a global scale.


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Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) with the Honorable Chief Minister of the Bihar Government in India


Big Baba’s (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) vision for the BLACK BUDDHA Project is rooted in his life as a dedicated disciple of the BUDDHA.  His wish is to honor the life of the BUDDHA and to offer the opportunity for pilgrims to pay respects to the BLACK BUDDHA image, which is a powerful expression of faith.  His vision is finely tuned with the stated objectives of the Bihar government and the government of India to cultivate improvements in the infrastructure and sustainability of the area.  He has nurtured, with love, respect, and understanding, the enthusiastic cooperation of the Hindu local villagers who will be most benefited by the site’s continued development.  The Bihar government has encouraged Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) to develop the BLACK BUDDHA Project, and has given the necessary permission and assistance.  Big Baba’s (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) ability in bringing all necessary parties together cooperatively for this project is a key factor in its success.  



For example, six hundred members of the International Bhikkhu Sangha attended the opening ceremony for the road to the BLACK BUDDHA on December 13, 2009.

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Here are some videos and articles that you might like about the BLACK BUDDHA, the building of the road to the BLACK BUDDHA, and Nalanda:


BLACK BUDDHA in Nalanda, India:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30WBUYbO4AM&sns=em.


หลวงพ่อองค์ดำ นาลันทา อินเดีย:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30WBUYbO4AM&sns=em.


BLACK BUDDHA Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4hV3QyxRBQ&feature=youtu.be.


The BLACK BUDDHA of Nalanda (Thai Version):  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxTpltVmRBacWkFvZmhYLW84SUU/edit?usp=sharing.


BLACK BUDDHA in Nalanda, Bihar, India - Original:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlmfLkmy9zM.


Road to the BLACK BUDDHA:  http://bhpromo.org.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=65.


BLACK BUDDHA Road in Nalanda, Bihar, India - Beginning the Process:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHMpwmmN3IE.


Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) BLACK BUDDHA on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bigbaba-Black-Buddha/431488950205723?id=431488950205723&sk=photos_stream.


2nd Maha Moggallana Patha Padakhina Pada Yatra (November 26, 2011):  http://nalanda-onthemove.blogspot.com/2011_11_01_archive.html.


Nalanda Mahavihara History:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiVqU9BcPiM&list=PLEF30FAB589B5733F&index=13.


Nava Nalanda Mahavihara:  http://www.nnm.ac.in/.


Nalanda University Ancient Ruins (Bihar, India):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbPbG0ln6QM.


Nalanda - The Great University of Buddhist India:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf-KbfkfgYE.


Nalanda on the Move, December, 2010:  http://nalanda-onthemove.blogspot.com/2010_11_01_archive.html?m=1.


Nalanda on the Move - 1st Saṃghassa Patiṭṭhāpako Mahā Kassapo Sati Cārikāhttp://nalanda-onthemove.blogspot.com/2013/02/1st-samghassa-patitthapako-maha-kassapo.html?m=1.


Nalanda - Insatiable in Offering - Discovery of Buddhavanahttp://nalanda-insatiableinoffering.blogspot.com/2012/07/discovery-of-buddhavana.html?m=1.


Nalanda - Insatiable in Offering - Rampurwa - A Compelling Case for Kuśīnāra (Mahāparinirvāṇa Place of the BUDDHA):  http://nalanda-insatiableinoffering.blogspot.com/2013/03/rampurwa-compelling-case-for-kusinara.html?m=1.


Nalanda - Insatiable in Offering - Stupas of Magadha Under Threat:  http://nalanda-insatiableinoffering.blogspot.com/2012/11/stupas-of-magadha-under-threat.html?m=1.


Nalanda on the Move - 3rd Mahā Moggallāna Patha Padakkhiṇā Padayātrā:  http://nalanda-onthemove.blogspot.com/2012/12/3rd-maha-moggallana-patha-padakkhina.html?m=1.


Nalanda - Insatiable in Offering - Gurupāda /Kukkutapāda Giri /Cockfoot’s Mountain, and the Maitreya BUDDHA:  http://nalanda-insatiableinoffering.blogspot.in/2011/01/gurupada-kukkutapada-giri-cockfoots.html?m=1.


Nalanda - Insatiable in Offering - Maha Kassapa And Mahatittha:  http://nalanda-insatiableinoffering.blogspot.in/2010/12/maha-kassapa-and-mahatittha.html?m=1.


Nalanda - Insatiable in Offering - Maha Kassapa and the BUDDHA - The Exchange of Robes:  http://nalanda-insatiableinoffering.blogspot.in/2010/12/maha-kassapa-and-buddha-exchange-of.html?m=1.


Nalanda - Insatiable in Offering - Search Results for Maha Kassapa:  http://nalanda-insatiableinoffering.blogspot.in/search?q=Maha+kassapa&m=1.


Nalanda - Insatiable in Offering - Pipphali Guha:  http://nalanda-insatiableinoffering.blogspot.in/2010/04/pipphali-guha.html?m=1.


Nalanda - Insatiable in Offering - Kassapa (Mahakassapa and Foremost in Asceticism) - Exchange of Robes:  http://nalanda-insatiableinoffering.blogspot.in/2010/04/kassapa-mahakasaapa-and-foremost-in.html?m=1.


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Curriculum Vitae, Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh), 2013.


Tourism of India - BUDDHA - Nalanda, Government of India, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, www.tourismofindia.com.


In Light of Nalanda, Namit Arora, Himal Southasian, March, 2010, www.himalmag.com/component/content/article/89-In-light-of-Nalanda.


Revival of Nalanda University, IPCS Special Report, Vibhanshu, November, 2007.


India Plans to Lift Ancient University from the Ashes, Jakarta Globe, September 13, 2010.


Nalanda, Wikipedia, August 4, 2012.


World's First University Was Established in Takshila, Campbellsville University, http://veda.wikidot.com/tip:world-first-university-takshila.


Note:  Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) wants to thank the above authors, contributors, Takshila, Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, and all others for their generous sharing of information about Nalanda and the BLACK BUDDHA.  He also would like to thank the Venerable Dr. U. Panya Linkara Mahathera, The Abbot of the Chinese Buddhist Temple in Nalanda.  Thank you to Dr. R. Panth, the Director of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, for his support of Big Baba’s (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) projects.  In addition, he would like to thank Dr. Richard Dixey and Mrs. Wangmo Dixey and ITCC, Dr. Janardan Upadhyay, Mr. Vijay Singh, Mr. Chandra Kumar, and Mr. Brijnandan Ram Vill.  Thank you to Mr. Brajesh Kumar and Mr. Sukhdeo Prasad for their support.