Friday, 28 August 2009
Ven. Dr. Pategama Gnanarama Maha thera
Born on December 6, 1931 to parents R.G. Silva, a businessman and S.S.E. Karunatilleke, a school teacher, at a small hamlet Pategama near Balapitiya, the child was named Ranmuthu Piyasiri. He received his primary education at Ampe Junior School, Balapitiya. In November 1945 he was ordained as a novice at Purvarama Viharaya, Dias Place, Colombo by his teacher, Viharadhipathi Ven. Abidhammika Welithara Pannananda Maha thera.
Sri Lanka Buddhist and Pali University conferred D. Litt (Houoris Causa) Degree on the Ven. Dr. Pategama Gnanarama Maha thera, principal, Buddhist and Pali College, Singapore and Viharadhipathi, Purvarama Viharaya, Purvarama Place, Colombo 12 at the annual convocation of the University held at the BMICH on August 22. A significant event at the ceremony was the awarding of Ph.D Degree to one of his students of Singapore.
A felicitation ceremony was held at Purvarama Viharaya on the 23rd presided over by the Ven. Agga Maha Panditha Davuldana Gnanissara Maha Nayaka thera of Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Nikaya, Ven. Rekawa Gunasiri Maha Nayaka thera of Amarapura Sri Saddhamma Atika (Matara) Maha.
Nikaya, Ven. Professor Ittademaliye Indasara Maha thera, Mahopadyaya of Sri Lanka Buddhist and Pali University, Ven. Professor Bellanwila Wimalaratana Anu Nayaka thera, Kotte Chapter of Siyamopali Maha Nikaya, Ven. Brahmanawatte Seevali Anu Nayaka thera, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Nayaka thera, Ven. Professor Kandegoda Wimaladhamma thera, Ven. Kotugoda Dhammawasa Anu Nayaka thera and other prominent members of the Maha Sangha and Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, Professor Daya Edirisinghe of Kelaniya University and Colombo’s District Secretary P.A.J. Sylvester and a deputation of Singapore Buddhists were among those present.
Born on December 6, 1931 to parents R.G. Silva, a businessman and S.S.E. Karunatilleke, a school teacher, at a small hamlet Pategama near Balapitiya, the child was named Ranmuthu Piyasiri.
He received his primary education at Ampe Junior School, Balapitiya. In November 1945 he was ordained as a novice at Purvarama Viharaya, Dias Place, Colombo by his teacher, Viharadhipathi Ven. Abidhammika Welithara Pannananda Maha thera. He received his monastic education at Vidyodaya Pirivena. For some period he attended Olcott College which held classes in the afternoon session at Ananda College. He received higher ordination in 1956 at Kalu Nadi Uda Kukkepa Sima-malaka of Amarapura Sri Saddhamma Yukthika (Matara) Maha Nikaya.
He entered the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya and obtained B.A. Degree in 1961. In 1966, he obtained BA (Hons) degree from University of London. From Vidyodaya University of Ceylon he obtained MA degree in 1968, and in 1986, he obtained Ph.D degree from University of Magadha.
From 1961 to 1966, he worked as an assistant teacher and then as a school principal. From 1967-1992, he was a lecturer in Buddhist Philosophy and Pali at Sri Jayawardenapura University. From 1984 to 1992, he was the first principal of Saddharmakara Buddhist and Pali College at Panadura. From 1977 to 1992, he was the visiting lecturer in Comparative Religion and Buddhist Philosophy at University of Kelaniya. From 1992-1993, he was the religious instructor at Maithri Viharaya, Penrose Street, Sun Valley CA 91352 USA.
Ven. Maha thera was instrumental in inaugurating Buddhist and Pali College in Singapore in 1994 and was the principal from then onwards. This institution is affiliated to the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka. He is the Chief Religious Advisor of Ti Sarana Buddhist Association, Singapore, Principal, Ti Sarana Dhamma School, Singapore, Counsellor and Religious Advisor, Singapore Buddhist Federation, Counsellor, Shan You Counselling Centre, Singapore, Religious teacher and Advisor, Singapore Buddhayana Organization, Chief of the Editorial Board and religious teacher, Singapore Buddhist Meditation Centre, Executive Member, World Sangha Council (hq at Taiwan), President, Purvarama Welfare Scheme, Colombo, President, Sri Lanka-German Fellowship (hq Colombo), Life Member, Oriental Studies Society, Patron, Isura Lama Sevana, Siyambalape, Viharadhipathy, Aluthkade Purvarama Bodhi-malu Viharaya and Price Place Purvarama Bodhi-malu Viharaya.
He is instrumental in constructing a five storeyed building with a dagaba on the top floor for ‘Ti-Sarana Religious and Educational Centre’ at Purvarama Viharaya with the help of patrons from Singapore and Sri Lanka. He inaugurated ‘Vidya Niketha Pirivena’ at Purvarama Viharaya in 2005.
He has travelled widely for conferences, religious ceremonies and Dhamma-dutha work to India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, the Maldive Islands, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Laos, South Korea, Japan, China, Mongolia, UK, Cyprus, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Malta, Italy, Egypt, Australia and USA.
He has fostered his chief student, Ven. Pategama Anuruddha thera who is capable of taking care and handling the Viharayas and institutions in the absence of Maha thera.
He has authored the following English books which were published in Singapore:
1. An approach to Buddhist Social Philosophy
2. The Mission Accomplished
3. Aspects of Buddhist Sociological Thought
4. Essentials of Buddhist Philosophy
5. The Therapeutic Value of Loving Kindness
6. The Woman’s Social Role Redefined
7. The Buddhism on Human Dignity
8. Bhikkuni Sanghamitta
9. Glimpses of Buddhist Wisdom
10. Blueprint of Free Inquiry and Personal Verification
11. The Charter for an Ideal Society
The following three Sinhala books were also authored by him:
1. Parinirvanayata Pasu Siyawas Tunak
2. Jataka Sahitya Vimarshana
3. Mulbudusamaya and Vivarana Getalu.
May our Maha thera live many more years and foster the Sambuddha Sasana.