Beacon of Dhamma to the Nation | Daily News
Vinaya Visharadha Rajakeeya Panditha MOST VEN. NapanE Pemasiri Thera:

Beacon of Dhamma to the Nation

The esteemed Buddhist Monk, Mahanayake of the Sri Lanka Ramangngna Sect, Most Venerable, Shasana Shobana, Tripitaka Wageeshwaraachaarya, Siri Sheelawansa, Wanshalankara, Rajaguru Pariyaththi Visharadha Agga Maha Panditha, Vinyachaarya, Vinaya Visharadha Rajakeeya Panditha Napane Pemasiri Thera, who dedicated his noble ordained life for 87 years for furthering the Sambuddha Sasana, was a great patriarchal monk.

The Mahanayake Thera, who was very pious, disciplined, well-behaved, obedient, noble son of Buddha, was a very exemplary Monk in the true sense of the word.

He was born in the rural village of Napane in the Udagampaha Koralaya, Pathadumbara to parents Ekanayake Mudiyanselage Mahakumburegedera Kiribandara and Niyangoda Hitibandara Mudiyanselage Bandara Menike on January 20, 1923.

During his younger days, virtuous and wise, he worked with immense interest in obtaining his education as well as knowledge of the Dhamma. He had his basic education at a school in Walala, which was at the time administrated by the Theosophical Society and at the Amunugama Gunnepana School.

The thoughts of the Dhamma as well as the interest in gaining knowledge of the Dhamma, which he acquired during his younger days began to mature day by day. During this era, his father had a long-term relationship with the founder of the Hurikaduwa Ududumbararamaya, Venerable Thelipehe Siri Seelawansa Nayake Thera. His father, therefore, handed him to the care of this Monk to help him achieve the great knowledge of Dhamma as well as education.

The boy, Ekanayake Mudiyanselage Tikiri Bandara, who arrived at the Hurikaduwa Ududumbararamaya, practicsed everything needed for ordination under the advice of Thelipehe Nayake Thera. Tikiri Bandara practised with great interest the esteemed knowledge of the Dhamma with commitment and succeeded in winning over the trust of Thelipehe Nayake Thera. On July 8, 1933 this boy replete with much fortune entered the Sambuddha Sasana. The Mahanayake, who arrived on the back of an elephant to the Ududumbararamaya, which was three or four miles away, was ordained in the name of Napane Pemasiri, subsequently dedicated his entire life for furthering the ambuddha Sasana.

Ven. Pemasiri Thera entered the Dharmodhaya Pirivena in Wellawatte in 1935 to study there and learned the Dhamma with much interest. The Thera practised and advanced in his studies day by day in a disciplined manner with decorum.

Subsequently, the Thera entered the Nittambuwa Vidyananda Pirivena for further education and there he achieved a number of degrees such as Rajakeeya Panditha, Vinayaachaarya, and Vinaya Visharadha. One of the Thera’s contemporaries who received his education at the same time is the Chief Incumbent of the Rajapovanaramaya in Getambe, Venerable Labuduwe Siridhamma Thera.

August 16, 1943 was a very special turning point in the Thera’s life. It was on this day that he entered higher ordination or adhisheela sankyatha uthum upsampada at the Katugastota Pingaoya Udakukkepa Seema Malakaya. The Mahanayake, who entered this higher ordination succeeded in continuing strongly with the Dhamma revival he was engaged in. For conveying the Dhamma, he taught to a large number of students and accepted the post of Chief Incumbent of the Sri Vidyaloka Maha Pirivena, which commenced at the Ketawala Sri Jinendraramaya. He then contributed to the country over 10 years a learned generation of students both laity and clergy. Later, in the premises where he was first ordained in 1967, he set up the Hurikaduwa Vidyasagara Pirivena. The Mahanayake Thera, who had obtained degrees from the Sri Lanka Buddhist and Pali University and the Sri Lanka Bikkhu University in Anuradhapura, was appointed to the post of Co-Secretary of the Sri Lanka Ramagngna Nikaya, Kandy local Sangha Sabha and from there, while being awarded various posts, ultimately became the thirteenth Mahanayake of that Sect.

Most Ven. Pemasiri Thera, who joined the Sangha Sabha of the Sri Lanka Ramagngna Nikaya in 1974, was appointed the Secretary to the Sect in 1987 and prior to that, held several other posts affiliated with discipline. He served in this post, which entailed grave responsibilities such as registering Vinayakam, Upasampada Vinayakam and Bikkhus of that Sect and was elected as the Adhikarana Sangha Nayake of this Sect in 1998. The dedication, the Nayake Thera showed in achieving and creating noble Sangha unity by setting up one sect through merging the Sri Lanka Ramagngna Maha Nikaya and the initial Ramagngna Nikaya, which were two, is beyond measure.

The Ven. Thera, who dealt in a most exemplary manner on behalf of the Bikkhu Society of the three sects as well as on behalf of its existence together with several other noble Monks of the Maha Sangha launched the Kandurata Three Sect Bikkhu Association and implemented it together with the supreme Maha Sangha led by the Senior Sangha Sabha Member of the Malwatte Chapter Mahopaadyaya Most Ven. Aluthgama Dhammananda Thera.
Subsequent to the demise of the 12th Mahanayake of the Sri Lanka Ramagngna Maha Nikaya, Mahanayake Weweldeniya Medhalankara Thera in 2012, Most Ven. Pemasiri Nayake Thera was appointed to the post of the Mahanayake. Until he fell ill and was admitted to the hospital, Most Ven. Pemasiri Mahanayake Thera fulfilled an incomparable mission to the Nation and to the esteemed Sambuddha Sasana.
The Most Ven. Mahanayake Thera, who was fortunate enough to live approximately a century, showed a special talent for writing and reading as well as delivering sermons in spite of his advanced years. The Most Ven. Mahanayake Thera, who won the respect of the overall generations of the Maha Sangha of this country and was venerated by all, was an esteemed Thera, who was truly replete with the qualities of a Buddhist priest and extremely exemplary.
He advised various State leaders regarding exemplary State administration in a manner that did not insult or disparage anyone. The Mahanayake possessed the courage to say what had to be said directly. The Thera, who was a member of the Buddha Sasana was someone who portrayed that example was far greater and better than advice was akin to a bright, valuable light to Kundasale. Most Ven. Pemasiri Nayake Thera always provided advice with a meaning and through Dhamma and created a noble generation of students who would in turn produce an exemplary generation of the Maha Sangha.
Oh, great Mahanayake Thera, who came into being due to the merit of the esteemed Sambuddha Sasana and won the respect and veneration of the entire country, may you be blessed with the Supreme Bliss Nibbana!

On behalf of the Mahanayake Thera’s Cremation Committee
Mass Media Minister, Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella