Sayadaw Dr. Rewata Dhamma was Founder and Spiritual Director of Birmingham Buddhist Vihara and Dhammatalaka Peace Pagoda. He passed away peacefully in the early morning of Wednesday, on 26th, May 2004. Without him, Birmingham Buddhist Vihara and the Dhammatalaka Peace Pagoda could not have been established. Though he is not with us physically, the principle, guidance and institute that he has originated for the propagation of Dhamma will never disappear. He’s always spiritually and mentally represented us.
Dr Rewata Dhamma in 1975 was invited to England where he established a Buddhist monastery in Birmingham as his base. From there he journeyed to lead retreats and teach Buddhism at various centres in Europe, North, Central and South America. In 1998 he accomplished the building of Dhamma Talaka Peace Pagoda, after years of planning, as a suitable resting place for the royal relics.
In 2002 the Myanmar Government granted him the high title of Aggamahapandita. For many years, he has been a Vice President of the World Buddhist Sangha Council, as well as founder member of International Engaged Buddhists.
It was the plan of Dr Rewata Dhamma and I quote “to make the Birmingham Buddhist Vihara and Dhammatalaka Peace Pagoda a launch pad for Buddhism in Europe”.
Dr. Ottara Nyana is the present head of the Birmingham Buddhist Vihara. He was
born in Myanmar in 1949. He has studied Theravada Buddhism since childhood under
several eminent scholarly monks. He passed the higher examination in spiritual studies
and was awarded the prestigious titles of Sasanadhaja Dhammacariya (1971) and
Sasanadhaja Siripavara-Dhammacariya (1973). He got his B.A. from Yangon University
In 1992, he went to India for further study and he obtained M.A (1994), M.Phil
and Tibetan Diploma (1995), PhD. (Samgha and Royalty, 1998) Degrees from Delhi
University in India.
He stayed at Mahasi Meditation Centre in Yangon for three years (1984-1986).
He worked in the State Pariyatti Sasana University in Mandalay from 1986 to 1992 as
Registrar, Professor of Myanmar Literature and Secretary of the Administration and
Academic Board. In 1999 he worked in the Theravada Buddhist Missionary University
in Yangon as Dean of the Meditation (Patipatti) Faculty and Secretary of the Text Book
Committee until 2003.
The Myanmar government conferred on him the religious titles Mahaganthavacaka
Pandita (1992), Aggamahaganthavacaka Pandita (2002) and Aggamaha Pandita (2011)
for his academic activities.
He now teaches Majjhimanikaya, Pali grammar, Abhidhamma and Vipassana meditation in
Birmingham Buddhist Academy in United Kingdom. The academic board of International Theravada
Buddhist Missionary University (ITBMU) has unanimously decided to grant “An Autonomous Branch
of ITBMU” to Birmingham Buddhist Academy formally opened and established in July 2013 in
Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Bhante Nagasena Bhikkhu is an educated and dedicated Buddhist monk who was born in 1970 in the Chittagong Hill Tract which lies on the Bangladesh/Burmese border. He ordained as a novice (monk) at the age of eleven and received higher ordination at twenty. His studies began at an inspired and well-disciplined monastic school in Sitwe, Arakan State, Western Burma where he spent 6 years in traditional Pali and Buddhist studies. He completed his BA in Buddhist Studies in Thailand in 1997, followed by an MA in Buddhist Philosophy which he completed in Sri Lanka in 1998. Bhante Nagasena speaks several languages including Burmese, Thai, English, Sri Lankan, Bengali and Hindi.
In 1998 he came to England at the invitation of Dr Rewata Dhamma. Founder of the Dhamma Talaka Peace Pagoda and Birmingham Buddhist Vihara. Before coming to the West he received training in several meditation traditions, mainly Mahasi Vipassana and U Ba Khin tradition, and once here he trained under Dr. Rewata Dhamma on how to teach westerners. After the passing away of Dr. Rewata Dhamma in 2004, Bhante Nagasena decided to study his second MA (Buddhist Studies), this time with western academic methodology, at SOAS, University of London in 2005 and as a consequence of this he went on to complete his PhD in 2012.
Under the tutelage of Dr.Rewata Dhamma at the Birmingham Buddhist Vihara, Bhante Nagasena taught meditation and ran courses. He is active in the promotion of a multi-faith approach and in peaceful co-existence between different faiths. His approach to teaching is simple, logical and analytical, using a common-sense approach to understanding the Dhamma, Buddha’s teachings. He currently runs meditation courses both inside and outside the UK. He is a regular teacher at the Birmingham Buddhist Vihara where his duties include teaching meditation and Buddhism, especially to schools, colleges and university students. He has published many academic and non-academic articles including book reviews. Many of his academic essays are presented in different international conferences.
Ashin Rahtapala was born in Budalin, Myanmar in 1957. He has studied in Pepin Tike, Monywa and Thayet-taw Tike,Yangon and he passed Pathamagyi Examination. He ordained at age of 20 in Thayet-taw Tike, Yangon. Since 1977 he stayed in Thailand, Singapore and finally live in United Kingdom since 1997.