Ven. Mahopadyaya Agga Maha Panditha Aluthgama Dhammananda Nayake Thera, a senior member of the Karaka Sabha of the Malwatte Chapter, passed away in the early morning of October 2 at the General Hospital, Kandy following a brief illness. He was 103 years old.
He was born on November 22, 1915 in Aluthgama near Thumpane in Kandy District to parents Maha Arambe Rajakaruna Wasala Dukganna Ralahamillage Dingiri Bandara (village headman) and Herath Mudiyanselage Ranmenika. He was named Heenbanda. He received his primary education at Muruddeniya Vidyalaya and
He was ordained as a novice under the tutelage of Ven. Pahamune Dharmakeerthi Sri Sumangala Thera, the then Maha Nayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter and Ven. Aluthgama Sri Piyadassi Nayake Thera.
He received his education at Sri Sangharaja Pirivena, Kandy and had his higher education at the historic Visumgrama Uposathagaraya at Malwatte Maha Viharaya in 1935.
In 1936 he founded Sri Mahinda Daham Pasala at Ampitiya and was its head teacher until 1950. He started the Katina Cheevara Puja at Malwatte Maha Viharaya in 1944 and held it annually for 73 years. History was created at Malwatte Maha Viharaya in 1944 when two Katina Cheevarayas were placed at the same place and offered to Maha Sangha (Buddhist monks), who lived in the two temples belonging to Malwatte Maha Viharaya. These institutes were namely Malwatte Maha Viharaya and Poya Malu Viharaya. Since the opening of the official Avasa of the Maha Nayaka Thera in 1966, three (3) Katina Cheevarayas were offered to the Maha Sangha after being kept at the same place. This is unique in the Buddhist world. I haven’t heard of such an offering being made elsewhere in the world. State and foreign offerings were received for the Katina pinkamas.
As the Buddhist Chaplain at Bogambara Prison from 1950 onwards he pioneered the construction of a Chaithya, Viharaya and Bodi Prakara at the premises of the Pallekele open air prison
In 1950, he started teaching at Dharmaraja College, Kandy and taught until 1958 without receiving any remuneration. In 1958 he was chosen for a Governmental teaching appointment to serve as a teacher at Gurudeniya Vidyalaya (1966 to 1972) and again at Dharmaraja College.
He inaugurated Sri Sangharaja Gunanusmarana Sangamaya, Kandy and held the Sri Sangharaja Perahera uninterruptedly for 72 years. He founded the Sri Sangharaja Daham Pasala and Sri Sangharaja Kantha Sangamaya.
As the Buddhist Chaplain at Bogambara Prison from 1950 onwards he pioneered the construction of a Chaithya, Viharaya and Bodi Prakara at the premises of the Pallekele open air prison. A Dhamma school has been inaugurated in the name of Sir Richard Aluvihare, the first Sri Lankan IGP for the benefit of children living in Police Quarters, Kandy.
In 1951, he started the Poya day Samithiya which is being operated to date.
When the then Government decided to provide a plot of land close to the Maligawa to a church, the Nayake Thera objected and in turn was able to make it a possession of Sri Dalada Maligawa. The Maligawa pilgrims rest lies on that land
When the then Government decided to provide a plot of land close to the Maligawa to a church, the Nayake Thera objected and in turn was able to make it a possession of Sri Dalada Maligawa. The Maligawa pilgrims rest lies on that land. More than seven thousand cattle were freed from slaughter houses in Kandy by Maha Nauwara Avihimsa Samithiya in which the Nayake Thera was a patron. He was the President of the Sasanarakshaka Mandalaya of Kadawatha Sathara and Gangawata Koralaya for the past 46 years and held the post of patron of the Kandy District Sasanarakshaka Mandalaya.
In 1973 he was appointed to conduct the Thewawa at Sri Dalada Maligawa. In 1989 he was appointed to the Karaka Sabha of the Chapter.
The Government of Myanmar offered him the prestigious title of ‘Agga
May our Nayake Thera attain the supreme bliss of nibbana!