Ceremony to felicitate Ven. Harispattuwe Ariyawansalankara Thera

by Sumanawansa Rajapaksa, Lanka Daily News, October 12, 2005

Pujapitiya, Sri Lanka -- A felicitation ceremony has been organised by the 'Harispaththuwa Ariyathilaka Foundation' in recognition of 50 years service of Venerable Ariyawansalankara Thera at the Senkadagala Buddhist Center Hall, Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Kandy on 16th October 2005, at 3.00 p.m. with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse as the chief guest.

Venerable Ariyawansalankara Thera was born on 18th October 1939, in Maruddana (Kandanhena) in Harispattuwa, Kandy district.

He received his education primarily at K/Molagoda School, K/Nugawela Central College and the Pirivenas, and obtained degrees from the Vidyalankara University and Pali and Buddhist University of Sri Lanka. He also obtained a Diploma in Education from the Open University of Sri Lanka.

Having spent fifteen years as a teacher in five schools, during which period he temporarily entered monkhood in the three sects, time and again on 21 occasions and established a record and finally entered monkhood for good on 20th June 2000 and dedicated his full time and energy on religious activities.

One of his important activities was the organising of meditation campaigns, especially in schools for students, with a view to induce the younger generation to a religion based culture, so that they would become useful citizens in the future society, a vital need of the day. Not only among schoolchildren, he conducted sermon campaigns throughout the length and breadth of the area for laymen in society by organising monthly preaching sessions in various places, where large gatherings were present. He was also instrumental in collecting funds to be donated, to tsunami victims to build houses, one of his prestigious social activities.

The scholarly Thera held the post of Senior Lecturer of "Abidharma" at the Buddha Sravaka Bhikku University, Anuradhapura. He was also a Lecturer at Teachers' Training College, Nittambuwa, Buddhist Training College, Nittambuwa, Saripuththa Educational Academy and Mahaveli Educational Academy, Polgolla.

He also held a distinguished portfolio as the Head of the Sri Lanka International Vipassana Meditation Centre, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7. In the religious sphere and in the social sphere as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Temperance Movement (a post formerly held by late Most Ven. Madihe Pagngnaseeha Thera). In the field of writing books, he is credited with publishing "Guidance to a Successful Buddhist Living", "Peace and Co-existence," and "Religion Science and Buddhism".

His pension has been donated to the "Srimath Ariyathilaka Foundation" to be utilised in social activities, specially towards the less privileged sector in the society.