DHAKA, June 5 (Xinhua) -- A memorial function was held in Bangladesh capital Dhaka on Saturday in memory of the the 38th anniversary of return of ashes of Atish Dipankar Srijnan from China to his country of birth.
Dozens of academics, politicians and and leaders of various religions have gathered in the memorial function to commemorate Atish Dipankar Srijnan (980-1054) , considered a man of many talents and served everybody without regard of caste, color, sex or religion.
During the 10th-11th Century, according to the discussants, Atish was known in Bangladesh, ancient India, China and northern Asian countries, as saint-philosopher by virtue of his unique character, erudition, scholarly attributes, and spiritual eminence.
Speaking at the memorial function, retired Lieutenant General Mahbubur Rahman, also the former Chief of Army Staff of Bangladesh Army, said Atish inspires mankind in its search for peace, harmony and amity.
"Today we celebrate the 38th anniversary of return of ashes of this great scholar from China to his country of birth," he said.
The ashes of Atish, who was on a mission to preach peace, teach knowledge and share culture with China, including his expertise in mathematics and construction, were returned by China to Bangladesh in 1978.
During the handover in June l978, the Chinese side said that the return of Atish's ashes to Bangladesh was part of its efforts to strengthen China-Bangladesh relations.
Since then, Atish has become a symbol of a stronger China-Bangladesh relations. In fact, a mausoleum has been built in the village of his birth with support from the Bangladeshi government.
Rahman, who presided over the ceremony organized by Bangladesh Cultural Academy and Bangladesh Buddhist Research Association, stressed the need for developing a world-class center to study the life and works of Atish who is revered not only in Bangladesh, China and India but also in other parts of the world.
He also underscored the need for developing more relation with China, which has the legendary philosopher and teacher Confucius who lived between 551 and 479 B.C. and is a country of wisdom and knowledge.
China's peaceful rise has generated enormous prosperity for the countries of Asia even today, Rahman said.
Rahman also expressed the hope that the China-proposed "Belt and Road" initiative of reviving the ancient Silk Road through a network of roads and maritime linkages will boost peaceful cooperation between China and the various regional blocs, adding that this was precisely the dream of Atish: creating a continent of peace in the whole Asia.
Participants of the event expressed their gratitude to China for offering Bangladesh Dipankar's ashes.
"We express our gratitude to China for offering us Dipankar's ashes," said Sukumar Barua, a Dhaka University professor and research scholar.
"Atish teaches us universal love, non-violence and amity," he said.
Another Dhaka University Professor Emajuddin Ahamed said: "We're proud of Atish. He was able to conquer the world not with arms but with his remarkable knowledge and deep wisdom."
Named Chandragarbha by his parents, Atish was born in 980 or 982 AD to a royal family in Vajrayogini village on the outskirts of Dhaka.
Because of his outstanding knowledge and wisdom, he was named Atish Dipankar Srigyan, which means "glorious wisdom source of light." He has been venerated for nearly 1,000 years as an outstanding personality in China's Tibet Autonomous Region and other Asian countries north of the Himalayas.
At the age of 56, Atish journeyed to Tibet to introduce the Buddha's teachings in around 1042. Dipankar stayed in Tibet until he passed away in 1054.
He wrote over 200 Buddhist books, popularized medical science, built reservoirs and did some translations.
But the great philosopher of 10th-11th Century was forgotten for centuries in a peculiar twist of history in the land of his birth, Bangladesh, as well as in Indian sub-continent until the end of 19th Century.
Illness and the unfavorable weather conditions in the Himalayan region having prevented him from returning home to Bangladesh, Atish died in Tibet in 1054.