Major General Ananda Weerasekera
Soldier in search of Supreme bliss



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The Mahavamsa records an account, referring to the Ten Giants (‘Dasamaha-Yodayas’) or military commanders of the victorious army of King Dutugemunu (383-407 BC) who played an important role in the liberation of Sri Lanka from the Tamil king, Elara.


They were Nandimitra, Suranimala, Mahasona, Velusumana, Kanchadeva, Pussadeva, Labiya-Vashba, Gottaimbara, Bharana and Theraputthabhaya.


King Dutugemunu, after a planned and sustained campaign, united Sri Lanka under one canopy and ruled the country according to the ‘Dasarajadharma’, followed by Sinhala rulers.


Theraputtabhaya entered the order. After Theraputtabhaya’s ordination, the only incident in modern history of the Sri Lanka Army, was recorded a few years ago. He fought against terrorists, later renunciated lay life and entered the Buddhist order.


This great soldier is Major General Ananda Weerasekera, who entered the Buddhist order a few years back as Bhikku Buddangala Ananda. Today he is living in a forest hermitage in Buddangala, in the Ampara district, meditating and preaching the ‘Buddha Dhamma’ to villagers and lives a serene, peaceful life.


Ananda Weerasekera was born on 29 April 1943. His parents are Mendis Weerasekera and Sumana Weerasekera. Ananda has two brothers (Donald and Sarath) and three sisters, Mallika, Sujatha and Shanthi. Ananda started schooling at Nalanda Vidyalaya, Colombo and he was a brilliant all-round student. He excelled in soccer and was a member of the Sinhala and English debating teams.


He was one of the finest goal-keepers produced by Nalanda and later he went on to represent Sri Lanka. His moment of glory was the day he captained Sri Lanka at the Junior Asian Soccer Tournament.


Ananda Weerasekera participated in five Junior Asian Soccer Tournaments, as a goal-keeper, which is a rare achievement.


The liberation of Elephant Pass


He was a gallant warrior. Major General Ananda Weerasekera commanded the the Army unit which regained control of Elephant Pass from the clutches of the LTTE.


It was undoubtedly a landmark victory for the Sri Lanka Army.


In the field of sports, he represented the army soccer team for many years as an excellent goal-keeper and later became a fine soccer administrator. He served as the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Football Federation.


After retiring from the Sri Lanka Army, he was appointed Commissioner General of Rehabilitation.


He was a prolific reader, writer and preacher. The Malwatta Chapter, in appreciation of his services to Buddhism bestowed him with the title ‘Keerthi Sri Dhammapaarkshka’ which was a rare honour.


Ananda and I developed our life long friendship on the playing fields of Nalanda College. He is a ‘Kalyanamitta’. When he was the goal-keeper at Nalanda, I was the wicket-keeper of the cricket team in the late 1950s.


His renunciation of ownership of worldly possessions reminds us of the stanza of Dhammapada – ‘Treasury of Truth’ (‘Magga Vagga – The way of the Path’).


Stanza 277-278:


Sabbe Sankhara Aniccati


Yada Pannaya Passati


Atha Nibbindati Dukkhe


Esa Masso Visuddiya


(277)


Sabbe Sankhara Dukkhati


Yada Pannaya Passati


Atha Nibbandati Dukkhe


Esa Maggo Visuddhiya


(278)


He who realizes that all conditioned things are painful will be passive in pain. This itself will lead him to purity.


The Buddha uttered these verses, residing at the Jetavana Monastery.


When Ananda Weerasekera was the Commanding Officer of NCP, he guarded the Sacred Jayasiri Maha Bo Tree.


He said; "Premasara, we got information that the terrorists were planning an attack on the Jeyasiri Maha Bodhiya. I personally stayed at the Udamaluwa, day and night for a couple of days and kept my troops round the premises. I was prepared to sacrifice my life to save our precious Jayasiri Maha Bo Tree. Of course, they never attacked it during my time when I was the Commanding Officer," stated Bhikku Ananda.


Military life and Buddhist philosophy are poles apart. Andnda is a rare personality, who possessed a golden heart. He is compassionate and kind.


His name will go down in military history as a brave Army Major General, who contributed his might to safeguard the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our beloved motherland from the clutches of terrorism.


After retiring from the Sri Lanka Army he served at Airport and Aviation Services as Deputy Chairman and later as a top executive at the Maharaja Organisation.


He was a dutiful father. His beloved wife, Sita, passed away a few years ago. She was the wind behind his wings.


They have three children. Suraj, who is a pilot, Manoj and Kanchana, both doctors. He was also a fatherly figure to his brother, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, the present MP for the Digamadulla-Ampara district. Sarath is a fine orator and a Buddhist scholar.


On Full Moon Poya Day in 2007, Major General Ananda Weerasekera entered the Buddhist order, under Kalutara Dhammananda Thera, who was his eacher. Presently, he lives at the Forest Hermitage, Aaranya Senasenaya, in Buddhangala, as Bhikku Buddangala Ananda.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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