Monday, December 11, 2023
Most Ven. Niyangoda Vijithasiri Anunayake Thera

A cornerstone of religious, cultural and social resurgence

by damith
November 19, 2023 1:04 am 0 comment 1.6K views

By Eng. Dimuthu Punsara Colambage (Lecturer, University of Moratuwa)

The Most Ven. Deputy Patriarch (Anunayake Thera) of the Malwatte Chapter of Siam Sect, Ven. Niyangoda Sri Vijithasiri Anunayake Thera will turn 75 years on November 26. The great service rendered by Ven. Anunayake Thera for the religious, cultural and social resurgence of the country will be long remembered and valued by the people of Sri Lanka and is sure to be recorded in our history in golden letters.

Seventy-five years ago, on November 26, 1948, a son was born to Herath Rajakaruna Wasala Mudiyanselage Kuda Banda Niyangoda and Mrs Molagoda Rajakaruna Wasala Mudiyanselage Bisomenike, a couple of teachers who were residing at Molagoda Walawwa, Niyangoda in the Harispattuwa electorate. The boy had basic education at Piyadassi Maha Vidyalaya, Molagoda and Science College, Matale. It may be due to the merits accumulated over a long cycle of Sansara, on May 26, 1964, he was ordained at Niyangoda Purana Vihara by the name of Niyangoda Vijithasiri, under the tutelage of Ven. Ethulgama Dewarakkita Nayake Thera, Bambaradeniye Medhananda Maha Thera, Gallelle Nandasara Thera and Henepola Nandasiri Nayake Thera.

Pirivena education

Ven Vijithasiri, the novice bhikkhu, was admitted to Dharmaloka Pirivena in Niyangoda and Ratnasela Pirivena in Wegama to complete the novice education. He was able to enrich his young life as a bhikkhu in close association with Most Ven. Yakkaduwe Sri Pragnarama Nayake Thera, the Parivenadhipathi of Vidyalankara Pirivena, Peliyagoda. Ven. Vijithasiri Thera was higher ordained on Vesak full Moon Poya day in 1970 at Malwathu Maha Vihara.

In 1968, Ven. Vijithasiri Thera entered the University of Peradeniya and obtained a Bachelor of Art degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Education. After completing the studies, Ven. Anunayake Thera began his career as a teacher of Nalanda Pirivena, Kuda Uduwa, Horana and Gnaneshwara Pirivena affiliated to Gangaramaya, Colombo 2. Later, he served at schools including Girihagama School, Paranagama School, Mahaweli Maha Vidyalaya and Kingswood College, Kandy.

The Ven. Thera was entrusted with the “Thewawa” ceremony of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, which is a highly respected task among the bhikkhus in 1991. The Thera was appointed as a member of Supreme Sangha Council of the Malwatte Chapter of the Siam Sect by Royal Pandit Most Ven. Sirimalwatte Sri Ananda Mahanayake Thera in 1986.

Ven. Vijithasiri Thera has provided his invaluable service for the Annual Upasampada Ceremony of the Malwathu Vihara as a “Karmãchãrya” and a “Upãdyãya” for several decades. He was elevated to the positions of Deputy Registrar and Registrar of the Malwatte Chapter in 1990 and 1993 by Most Ven. Rambukwelle Sri Vipassi Mahanayake Thera. The Supreme Sangha Council of the Malwatte Chapter conferred on him the prestigious position “Anunayake” in 2004.

Honorary doctorate

Ven. Anunayake Thera was awarded an honorary doctorate from a Korean University and an honorary DLitt degree from Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka. The Government of Myanmar honoured him with the Mahasaddhammajotikadhaja title.

The Vidyalankara Pirivena, the prominent Buddhist Institution conferred him ‘Sthavira wansalankara sasana keerthi sri’. Ven. Thera was appointed inaugural chancellor of the Wickramarachchi University of Indigenous Medicine by the President.

As the Anunayake Thera, Ven.Thera represented all the national and religious committees and functions throughout the country on behalf of the Most Ven. Mahanayake Thera and Supreme Sangha Council of the Malwatta Chapter of the Siam Sect. Ven. Niyangoda Vijithasiri Anunayake Thera provided his maximum contribution to uplift the Buddha Sasana as the representative of the Malwatta chapter in several state and international scale works. In the 1990s, he participated in preparing the legal and constitutional acts related to the Buddha Sasana. His knowledgeable, compendious speeches have become famous in society due to the interesting vocal and verbal pattern unique to him.

The selfless services rendered by Most Ven. Niyangoda Vijithasiri Anuayake Thera, brought greater light to the Buddha Sasana. His actions portrayed a most efficient and esteemed personality. May the blessings of the Triple Gem be bestowed on the Anunayake Thera to live many more years in fostering the Sambuddha Sãsana.

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