Late Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Anunayaka Thera:Erudite Bhikkhu did his utmost to uplift Buddha Sasana | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Late Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Anunayaka Thera:Erudite Bhikkhu did his utmost to uplift Buddha Sasana

The former Chancellor of Jayewardenepura University, the scholar monk who raised the institute to national and international fame, Bellanwila Wimalaratana Anunayaka Thera’s (1942-2018), passed away on February 3, last year.

Ven. Anunayaka Thera’s first death anniversary falls today. His was a dedicated life which was endowed with a unique personality of his own.

Bellanwila Wimalaratana Anunayaka Thera was born on the Sinhala and Tamil New Year day in 1942 at Veedagama in the Kalutara district, the native village of his mother, Buthsilina de Silva. Omaththage Paul Perera was the father who was the brother of Ven. Bellanwila Somaratana Nayake Thera, the Chief Incumbent of Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara. He was the fourth in a family of six boys, and was named Gilbert. The second boy of the family entered the Buddhist monastery, under the tutelage of Ven.Somaratana Nayaka Thera and was named Bellanwila Dhammaratana, the current Chief Incumbent of Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya.

Gilbert had received his basic education at the Nikape village school and Piliyandala Central College. Upon the death of his father, he was ordained under the tutelage of Ven.Somaratana Nayaka Thera in 1956 and named Bellanwila Buddharatana, later changed as Wimalaratana. After the ordination, the novice monk was enrolled at Pravachanodaya Pirivena in Molligoda, and later moved to the prestigious Buddhist institute of Vidyalankara Pirivena in Peliyagoda.

After completing the oriental studies with flying colours, Ven. Wimalaratana entered the Vidyalankara University and obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Pali, Sinhalese and Economics. After completing the studies, Ven. Thera began his career as the Head Master of Sunethra Devi Pirivena, Pepiliyana. Later, he served as the Head Master of Paramadhammachetiya Pirivena, Ratmalana and Teachers’ Training College for Piriven teachers in Ratmalana. While serving as a headmaster, Ven. Thera enrolled at the Vidyodaya University and completed his B.A. special degree and later completed formal higher education by obtaining a PhD degree from the University of Lancaster, UK in 1980.

After completing his PhD, Ven. Wimalaratana Anunayake Thera joined the University of Sri Jayawardenapura as a lecturer in Pali. In appreciation of the Thera’s service, he was promoted to the positions of Senior Lecturer, Head of the Department, Associate Professor and finally as a Professor. After retirement, Ven. Thera was awarded the prestigious position of Chancellor of the University in 2005.

Ven. Thera was engaged in the administrative activities of the Buddha Sasana, through Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sanga Sabha of the Siam Sect. The Ven. Thera joined as a committee member of the Sangha Council in 1972 and was later elevated to the positions of Deputy Registrar, Registrar, Upadhyaya and Anunayake.

After the passing away of Ven. Bellanwila Somaratana Thera, Ven. Dr. Bellanwila Dhammaratana and Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana became Chief Incumbent and Deputy Chief Incumbent of Bellanwila Royal Temple. When Ven. Dr. Dhammaratana was engaged in religious activities in Singapore, Prof. Wimalaratana became the main personality and took change of the Bellanwila Temple.

Ven. Wimalaratana wrote several books in Sinhala and English. He also provided his services to several Buddhist organisations here and abroad. The voice he raised on behalf of the public is unique. He openly pointed out mistakes of politicians.

The Most Ven. Wimalaratana Thera met with an accident while he was feeding a baby elephant in the Temple on February 2, 2018. He was rushed to the hospital and had to undergo a surgery, but died due to a heart attack at 11.15 a.m. on February 3.

May Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana

– Dimuthu Punsara Colambage