PROF. CHARLES DAHANAYAKEFebruary 9, 2013, 6:39 pm
Its been just a few years since an unfortunate accident took the life of a truly great human being whom it was my privilege to befriend. Prof. Dahanayake was Prof Emeritus of the University of Kelaniya, and according to his contemporaries and his students, been a great source of inspiration to them all. He was also a model to his many friends.
Prof Dahanayake who hailed from Galle, was considered a brilliant student. He had entered University from Ananda College, Colombo, obtaining four distinctions at the University entrance examination which was a record at the time; he did Physics Hons and passed out, not surprisingly, with a First Class. He quite naturally won a scholarship to further his higher studies in the UK and returned to serve our beloved country after he obtained his doctrate.
He first served at the University of Peradeniya, and when there won a Fullbright Fellowship for post doctoral research and proceeded to the US and after this returned and accepted the position of Professor of Physics at the University of Kelaniya in 1967. He was also the founder President of the Institute of Physics of Sri Lanka and a founding member of the University Grants Commission. He was also a past President of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science in addition to being a member of a large number of professional associations. Professor Dahanayake had a number of publications to his credit and worked with some of the most famous names in his field.
Despite this most impressive academic record his greatness lay in his humility which was and is an example to us all. He was indeed unassuming to a fault. He was a Buddhist who lived his religion. Buddhism to him was not the rituals but the essence of the Buddha’s trachings—— Sila (Morality), Samadhi (Meditation), Pangna (the acquiring of wisdom through meditation) and Karuna (compassion), Meththa (loving kindness) and Muditha (Equanimity). As the Buddha himself has stated in the Kalama Sutra —- there is no blind belief in Buddhism – one needs to question and understand and then accept. That was the Buddhism which Charles professed and that is to be expected for after all he was a true Scientist and a Physicist.
His untimely death removed a valuable friend from our lives and our country lost an intellectual who was one of a kind, he was an inspiration to us all; but he would be missed most of all by his immediate family - his wife Tilaka and daughters Rachitha and Punitha; our thoughts are with them as we remember our late friend—-MAY HE ATTAIN NIBBANA
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