The Samaneras of Thilaka Mithra Mulika Pirivena - Mullaitivu | Sunday Observer

The Samaneras of Thilaka Mithra Mulika Pirivena - Mullaitivu

12 June, 2022

The Thilaka Mithra Mulika Pirivena in Mullaitvu is home to many Samaneras or novice bhikkhus. They come from all over the island bidding goodbye to their families, relatives and friends as well as to school and other lay occupations to follow in the footsteps of the Buddha.

Sole Pirivena

Ven. Pimburuththawe Sansindrialankara Nayaka Thera

This is the only Pirivena in the Mullaitvu district even though there are several temples in the area.

The Thilaka Mithra Mulika Pirivena was established in 2007 by the late Ven. Polonnaruwe Thilakalankara Nayaka Himi Thera under the leadership and guidance of the Senasenadhipathi of the Dimbulagala Aranya, the late Ven. Kithalagama Seelankara Nayaka Thera. The current Director of the Pirivena is Pimburuththawe Sansindrialankara Nayaka Himi who is also the Chief Sanganayaka of the Northern Province.

Today, the Thilak Mithra Mulika Pirivena is home to around 20 samaneras. The teaching staff consist of one bhikkhu and four lay teachers.

Austere and disciplined life

It is an austere and disciplined life for the Samaneras at the Pirivena. Their day starts at 4.30 a.m. when they wake up and perform the chores assigned to them. After this, the Buddha Pooja is performed and the samaneras are offered the Heel Dana or breakfast.

Classes start at 7.50 a.m. and go on till 2.30 p.m. with a break for lunch late morning as bhikkus and Samaneras are expected to finish lunch before noon.

The syllabus includes subjects designated by the Department of Education as well as subjects geared towards the Mulika Piriven Awasana Vibhagaya (The primary piriven final exam). This exam is similar to the G.C.E. Ordinary Level examination.

After finishing classes, the Samaneras have some time to themselves. However, they are expected to memorise stanzas and other works which come in Sinhala, Pali and Sanskrit,

In the evening, after the offering of the Buddha Pooja the Samaneras chant the Wata Piritha.

Dimbulagala Maha Pirivena

After passing the Mulika Piriven examination the Samaneras attend the Dimbulagala Maha Pirivena. Here, they can study up to the Rajakeeya Panditha Awasana Vibhagaya. There are four examinations named Pracheena, Prarambha, Madhya and Awasana (Final).

The Pirivena is in an arid and remote area, Kiriibban Wewa in the district of Mullaitivu. The dayakayas are mainly from the Weli Oya colony and it is they who provide much of the alms. However, people from outside the area also offer alms.

Lack of facilities

The Pirivena lacks many facilities and in the arid climate getting potable water is a major problem. People are sent to far away spots to bring water for drinking.

Sometimes, there is also a scarcity of food as the alms received are insufficient.

A dire need is for a Dhamma Salawa. The hall now in use is small and dilapidated. Therefore, classes are often held in the open under trees .

Until recently, the bhikkhus and Samaneras had no proper residential facilities. They had one small room till a philanthropist from Colombo repaired and refurbished a building as an Awasaya.

Inspite of obstacles, the Director and staff of the Pirivena continue to guide the young Samaneras according to the Dhamma as preached by the Buddha.

Pix. Dushmantha Mayaduune