By Chaminda Jayalath
“We realized it was better to understand the Dhamma taught by Lord Buddha in-depth and to pursue the path to attain Nirvana by emulating him rather than to acquire wealth by engaging in the engineering field” said Ven. Bhikkuni Gampaha Sumithra on Saturday. She was staying at the Galigamuwa Nevgala Bhikkuni Aramaya, prior to leaving for Australia to participate in a Meditation programme.
The Bhikkuni, her two ordained sons and daughter who is also a Bhikkuni, addressed the media recently on the eve of their departure to Australia.
Edirisinghe Mudiyanselage Ariyarathne Edirisinghe, born in Kuliyapitiya, met Anuruddhika Wijesundera, hailing from Matale at the Peradeniya University Engineering Faculty. They fell in love and
married in 1998.
They, together with their children Tharindu Dilshan Bandara Edirisinghe, Tharuka Sachinthana Bandara Edirisinghe and Dinuka Sithumini Bandara Edirisinghe, migrated to Australia in 2009 after having obtained employment as Engineers.
"Impressed with the eloquent discourses of the Ven. Monk, the family returned to Australia, having decided to enter the Sasanaya as Bhikkus and Bhikkunis"
While in Australia, Ariyarathne and his three children received Australian citizenship. Anuruddhika, his wife, did not. The family frequently visited Sri Lanka and attended the Bana preachings of the Gampaha, Kirindiwela Kannimahara Veluvanaramadhipathi Ven. Wathurugama Nandasiri Thera. Impressed with the eloquent discourses of the Ven. Monk, the family returned to Australia, having decided to enter the Sasanaya as Bhikkus
With this goal in mind, they arrived in Sri Lanka and visited Kalutara on January 8, 2015. The couple, together with their three children paid a visit to the Kalutara temple. On February 7, 2015, Ariyarathne Edirisinghe was ordained as Gampaha Ariyarathne, his eldest son Tharindu Dilshan as Gampaha Seelawansa and his second son Tharuka Sachinthana as Gampaha Sumanawansa.
On 10 March, 2015, Anuruddhika was ordained as Gampaha Sumithra and her daughter Dinuka Sithumini as Gampaha Khemavisuddini. Thereafter, Gampaha Ariyarathne Thera remained at the temple where he was ordained, while the two novice monks took abode at a temple in Kurunegala.
The two Bhikkunis took up abode at the Nevgala Galigamuwa Bhikkuni Aramaya.
Four members of the family were scheduled to travel to Australia for a two-month programme on Meditation. Gampaha Ariyarathne Thera would remain behind at his temple.
Prior to their departure to Australia, Ven. Bhikkuni Sumithra said their decision to join the Sasanaya was not due to their having become disillusioned with worldly pleasures; but that their participation in the teachings of Lord Buddha as gathered from the several discourses of Ven. Wathurugama Nandasiri Thera had motivated them to take this decision. While in Australia, they had pondered over this idea and had decided to enter the Sasanaya together. One and a half years has passed since they began their new way of life as novice monks but they are happy and content, despite giving up their previous occupation. Their main aim now is to walk together along the same path in search of Nirvana.