Most Venerable Galagama Sri Attadassi Mahanayake Thera

Asgiriya Maha Nahimi

Dimuthu Punsara Colambage

(Royal Pandit, Most Venerable (late) Galagama Sri Attadassi Mahanayake Thera’s second remembrance falls on 9th day of March, 2018)

The establishment by Arahat Mahinda of the Sri Lankan Sangha Community by admitting into the order prince Aritta, a son of the soil, at the Mahameghavana at Anuradhapura was the origin of the Mahavihara fraternity. Since then the Sangha Community throughout the ages have rendered exemplary service to the country, the society and sãsana, at times even at the risk of their lives. It is our fortunate that the community has produced great monks during different periods to carry on this tradition.

It is very fortunate to have monks with the necessary dedication and perseverance can play a dynamic role even in a modern society without violating any of the Vinaya rules or conventions of the community. Most Ven. Galagama Dhammasiddhi Sri Dhammananda Attadassyabhidhana Mahanayake Thera, 21st Patriarch (Mahanayake) of Asgiriya Chapter of Siam sect and Chief Incumbent of Mahiyanganaya and Dambulla Historical Royal Temples was marked with extreme virtue of conduct, discipline and wisdom.

Most Ven. Attadassi Mahanayake Thera was born at Galagama, a small village in Yatawatta, Matale. The date of his birth can happily be fixed as 11th day of January, 1922. Most Venerable Mahanayake Thera was born as the youngest child of three sons of Mr. Kulatunga Mudiyanselage Dingiri Banda Nilame and Mrs. Tennakoon Mudiyanselage Pinchi Amma Kumarihamy. He was ordinated in 1936, under the tutelage of Most Ven. Udurawana Sri Dhammananda Nayake Thera, whose ancestor had held the rank of first patriarch of Asgiriya chapter of Siam sect. He received higher ordination at the Uposathagaraya of Asgiri Maha Viharaya in 1942.

Most Ven. Thera was an alumni of Sri Dharmaraja Pirivena, Matale and he shone like a bright star. Through sheer commitment and determination, he pursued his studies and obtained Royal Pandit epithet. After completed his studies at Vidyodaya Pirivena, Colombo and obtained "Thripitakacharya" and "Majjima bhanaka" epithets and started his career as a teacher of Buddhist monasteries. After serving as a teacher of his own alma mater, Dharmaraja Pirivena, Matale, Mahanayaka Thera also served as Parivenadhipathi (Head Master) of Dharma Sri Pirivena affiliated to the Kavatayamuna Temple, Matale.

After the death of his own tutor, Attadassi Thera became the chief incumbent of Royal Temples of Humbuluwa in Kurunegala district and Urulewatte in Matale district. He was entrusted with the "Thewawa" ceremony of Sri Dalada Maligawa, which is a highly respected task among the Buddhist monks. He was appointed to perform these highly religious rituals several times under the guidance of Mahanayake Theras at the time.Consequently, Most Venerable Mahanayake Thera was appointed several positions of Asgiri Vihara tradition by late Mahanayaka Theras. In 1950, he was appointed as a "Karmawagacharya" and was promoted as a member of Supreme Sangha Council (Karaka Sangha Sabha) of Asgiriya Chapter in 1982. Laterthe Thera was promoted to the "Mahopadyaya" position. Most Venerable Thera was awarded as the chief incumbent of historical Royal Temples of Metiyagane in 1992, Mahiyanganaya in 1999 and Dambulla in 2005. Ven. Attadassi Thera was elevated to the position of "Anunayake" in 1999. The Supreme Sangha Council of Asgiriya Chapter conferred on him the prestigious position "Mahanayake" in 2015.

As a distinguished Dhamma preacher, as a clever pirith chanter, as a Dhamma teacher, as a Head Master of Piriven monastery, Mahanayake Thera had carved his name in gold. A scholar of great distinction and achievement, the Mahanayake Thera has through his erudition, his scholarship and dedication made an invaluable contribution to the cause of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and abroad. The contribution made in this realm by Ven. Thera was a great need of the hour, was a rich source of inspiration and delight to all Sri Lankans. Ven. Mahanayake Thera's long line of dedicated and selfless service manifestly amounts to accomplishment by him of the unbounded service obligatory on the part of a Buddhist priest who is well versed in the doctrine who is mindful of discipline and religious observances and who is learned without pedantry.The selfless services rendered by Most Venerable Galagama Attadassi Mahanayake Thera brought greater light to the Buddha Sasana. His acts of Dhamma portrayed a most efficient and esteemed personality. Most Venerable Mahanayake Thera earned the respect of the Maha Sangha by his tireless efforts towards unification of the three Chapters of the Maha Sangha.

Most Ven. Galagama Attadassi Mahanayake Thera was a gold mine of knowledge. His pleasant charismatic personality with humbleness added more colour to his brilliant scholar. He passed away on 9th day of March, 2016, aged 95. May Most Ven. Mahanayake Thera attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.

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