Demise of a great Buddhist educator

by Ven. Kotagama Vachissara Thera, Lanka Daily News, June 26, 2005

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- The sudden demise of most Ven. Rajakiya Panditha Medagoda Sri Sumanatissa Threra has caused an irreparable loss to the Buddhasasana and also Buddhist all over the world.

At the time of his death he was the Chancellor of the Jayawardanapura University. Ven. Sumanatissa Thera made a tremendous sacrifice to propagate Buddhism and rendered a yeoman service for the upliftment of Buddhism not only in Sri Lanka but all over the world.

Born in July 13, 1925 at Narammala, Medagoda in Kurunegala, his parents were Mr. A.A. Edirisinghe and Mrs. H.M. Wahami. The Thera entered the order in 1939 under the guidance of Sunethradevi Viharadipathi Ven. Ratmalane Piyatissa Nayaka Thera. He was 13 years of age at the time he entered the order. Ven. Thera had his early education at Subadrarama Pirivena, Gangodawila. Later he obtained his Pundit degree from Vidyodaya Maha Pirivena at Maligakanda, Colombo.

He entered the Vidyodaya University in 1959 and obtained the sastravedi (BA) degree. Thereafter in 1974 the Ven Thera obtained his Sastrapathi (MA) degree from the Manchester University in UK and also the Dharshanapathi (MPhil) and Dharshana Visharada (Phd) post graduate degrees from the Delhi University in India.

The Thera was a very good orator and he had the ability of explaining any thing in a very simple manner. He rendered a great service to uplift the Piriven Education in the country. Due to his tireless service towards the upliftment of educational activities, the Thera assigned duties as the Head of the Pepiliyana Sunethra Devi Pirivena and later upgraded it to the university level.

During his tenure the Pirivena became one of the major pirivenas in the country. The Pirivena produced thousands and thousands of educated students who are now holding high capacities here and abroad.

The Ven. Thera also pioneered to start a dhamma school at Sunethra Devi Pirivena for the benefit of children in the area. He treated all people alike without considering their caste, creed or religion.

May the Ven. Thera attain the supreme bliss of Nirvan.

The writer is a Senior Lecturer and a Past pupil of Sunethra Devi Pirivena, Pepiliyana