At the age of 92, the Most Venerable Kurunegoda Sri Piyatissa Nayaka Maha Thera (Bhante Piyatissa) passed away in his room with mindfulness on October 11, 2019 at 10.10 a.m. At that time, residential monks who gathered in his room were chanting discourses of the Buddha with Metta (having great loving-kindness).
He was a Buddhist monk for the last 82 years. He was ordained at the age of 10. Generously, he imparted his knowledge obtained since ordination by studying, contemplating and practising the Dhamma. Being one of the exemplary Buddhist missionaries, he did not understand any man-made boundary among human beings.
Although he had rendered yeoman service to the country as a teacher for monks at the Bhikkhu Training Centre in Maharagama, Vice Principal of Gangarama Sri Jinaratana Pirivena in Colombo, and as a popular teacher in Dhamma at Ananda College, a leading Buddhist school in Colombo, his deep Dhamma knowledge and boundless compassion in his heart did not permit him to limit services to his motherland. He extended his Dhamma mission to the West by crossing the seas to Londonin 1970s.
In the East or the West, guidance of such a spiritual leader is paramount at present than in the past. Hence, his demise is a great loss
Some ten years later in 1980s, he further extended his Dhamma service to the West by starting a small place of worship in New York. Afterwards, he gave leadership to construct a much more spacious place of worship known as ‘The New York Buddhist Vihara’ where hundreds of people could gather. Under his spiritual guidance, a few more Buddhist temples such as Staten Island Buddhist Vihara, New Jersey Buddhist Vihara, New England Buddhist Vihara, Long Buddhist Vihara, South Carolina Buddhist Vihara, Connecticut Buddhist Vihara and Hudson Valley Buddhist Vihara, have been established to support the spiritual wellbeing of all communities.
Anyone who associated him, even for a short stint, would be amazed by his knowledge and be touched by his compassion and loving-kindness. In the East or the West, guidance of such a spiritual leader is paramount at present than in the past. Hence, his demise is a great loss.
We wish this great Buddhist missionary to be reborn in human or divine realms in order to inspire the sentient beings on practising Dhamma and finally in attaining the supreme bliss of Nibbana.
New York Buddhist Vihara Foundation