Bodhimalaka Pushparamaya in Tabbowa, Naththandiya is reminiscent of the Late Most Ven. Matale’ Amarawansha Thera. My family’s association with the monk spanned well over there decades. Whenever we visited our relatives in Mahawewa, we made it a point to visit the Rajamahaviharaya and its serene surroundings and to call upon Ven. Amarawansha Thera. Reiterating the impermanence of life, his physical form is no more.
The late Thera departed from this earth exactly three months ago, at the age of 80 years, having fulfilled his duties and responsibilities as the Chief Incumbent of Bodhimalaka Pushparamaya.
During his lifetime the monk had contributed immensely to the religious, economic, social and cultural upliftment of the people of Tabbowa, whilst not forgetting his hometown, Matale
In late December last year, having learned that Ven. Amarawansha Thera was undergoing treatment at Sri Jayawardenepura Hospital, I visited him and had the good fortune of spending close to an hour in conversation with him. He spoke of the difficult path he trod, having been born in a very remote village named Polwattakanda in the Matale District. He was surprised, yet pleased to see me and recollected with a sharp memory, the first time my family was introduced to him by Ven. Tissamaharamaye Jinaratana Thera, of Kapilavastupura Mahinda Viharaya. Ven. Jinaratana Thera succeeded Ven. Amarawansha Thera. He inquired after my mother and invited both of us to visit him in Tabbowa, once he recovers and returns to the temple. This was not to be. A few days later, I learned of the passing away of yet another learned and a courageous Buddhist Priest.
Ven. Amarawansha Thera was born on 17th March, 1937 to Tikirirala Nilame and Budugahagedara Ranmenike. He was ordained as a novice monk on 2nd November, 1951 under the erudite Late Rev. Tabbowa Wajirawansha Thera. He undertook Preliminary studies at Balagalle’, Saraswati Pirivena and continued higher studies at Sri Lanka Vidyalaya, Maradana and received Upasampada (Higher ordination) on 16th of March, 1958 at Kalyananadi Seemamalakaya.
He successfully completed the Tripitaka exams of Sri Ramanna Nikaya (Sri Lanka) as well as those of Burma (Myanmar). He was blessed to have associated with many learned Members of the Buddhist Clergy, the Chief Priests of the Ramanna Niyaka namely Most Ven. Henpitagedara Gnanaseeha Thera, Ven. Hissalle Dhammaratana Thera, Ven. Hapuwalane Gnanaseeha Thera, Ven. Naththadiye Pannnasara Thera and Ven. Anuradhapuraye Somasiri Thera, to name a few.
The late Thera departed from this earth exactly three months ago, at the age of 80 years, having fulfilled his duties and responsibilities as the Chief Incumbent of Bodhimalaka Pushparamaya
Ven. Amarawansha had a commanding and a charismatic personality, and was well versed in the Sinhala language. His achievements are far too numerous to describe. During his lifetime the monk had contributed immensely to the religious, economic, social and cultural upliftment of the people of Tabbowa, whilst not forgetting his hometown, Matale.
Ven. Amarawansha Thera participated at World Buddhist Conferences in Japan, India and Singapore. A sapling of the Sacred Bo Tree was gifted to Thailand, symbolic of the two Buddhist nations. This was another meritorious gesture on his part. Ven. Amarawansha Thera, over the years, had served as an advisor on religious affairs to several Heads of State of Sri Lanka, some of whom paid their last respects, which was ample testimony to the yeoman service rendered in his capacity as an adviser.
I believe that the close association Ven. Amarawansha Thera shared with my late Father W.P.R.B.Wickremasinghe was based on their intellectual compatibility and their mutual patriotic feelings. Most Ven. Amarawansha Thera’s oratory skills were observed by me at my Late father’s funeral in 1998 during which he made a forceful and fiery speech.
Always sporting a smile and being a strict disciplinarian, he was an epitome of a disciple of the Enlightened One. It was our good fortune to have been able to associate with Ven. Amarawansha Thera. We will remember him with much reverence.
Always sporting a smile and being a strict disciplinarian, he was an epitome of a disciple of the Enlightened One
“Full of joy, full of faith in the Teachings of the Buddha, the Monk attains the Peaceful State, the bliss of cessation of conditional things’. (The Dhammapada) (Champa D. R. Wickremasinghe)