Dr. Ananda Guruge – His Passing Away is a loss to our Nation of an Exceptional Patriot and An Outstanding Buddhist Scholar.
Posted on August 7th, 2014

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane


Concluding his exceptional Convocation Address at the University of Ruhuna on October 25, 2004, the late Dr. Ananda Guruge said

Born in a family hailing from the border of Agaliya and Akuretiya in rural Baddegama, I was blessed with an education which I received from my parents, my teachers in my schools and University and supplemented diligently with my lifelong devotion to learning, I am proud to say, I am entirely made in Sri Lanka.” In a career of over half a century, I have achieved much in several fields of activity. I have done so because of my deep-seated confidence that there is nothing that a fervent, hard-working and deeply committed Sri Lankan boy or girl cannot achieve in this world. I share my little mantra with you. Face the world with faith and confidence, telling yourself, I am a Sri Lankan and the whole world is open for me.”


 The commendable research efforts of the late Dr. Ananda Guruge’s in the late 1990’s, helped to reaffirm the authenticity of the historical information contained in our nation’s ancient chronicles. This was at a time when some unworthy elements were skeptical and suspicious of the authenticity of such information. Dr. Guruge’s research led to the discovery that the Chinese Vinaya Commentary offers a version of Sri Lankan history which is older than the Dipavamsa, the Samantapasadika and the Mahavamsa. Also, that this Chinese Vinaya Commentary was a primary source of the information selectively used in these three works and the Mahavamsa Commentary of the ninth-tenth century.


 Dr Ananda Guruge was honoured by the International Academy of Buddhism (IAB) of the Hsi Lai University of Los Angeles, California, USA, as IAB Honoree of the Year 2003, at the Fifth International Conference on Humanistic Buddhism in January 2004.

This was in recognition of five decades of outstanding visionary and diversified contributions to:

  • Buddhist scholarship through instruction, research, and publication;
  • International Buddhist activities through World Fellowship of Buddhists and European Buddhist Union;
  • educational and cultural development through United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and to the progressive realization of world peace; and
  • in appreciation of the most devoted services rendered to Hsi Lai University as its Director of Religious Studies, Dean of Academic Affairs, Director of the International Academy of Buddhism and Editor of Hsi Lai Journal of Humanistic Buddhism the International Academy of Buddhism of Hsi Lai University, Los Angeles County, USA.

Before joining the His Lai University in 1996, Dr. Ananda Guruge was the Senior Special Advisor to the Director General of the UNESCO in the Culture and Peace Programme. In parallel he was active in his academic career with assignments as a Visiting Professor of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Peace Studies at California State University, Fullerton and at the College of Buddhist Studies in Los Angeles, California. Prior to that he had a distinguished professional career in Sri Lanka besides being a high-ranking diplomat.

Buddhist Studies has been his primary area of interest and his contributions have been widely recognized. His areas of specialization and research interests include Buddhism, Buddhist Art, Sculpture and Architecture, Asian History and culture with special reference to India and Sri Lanka, Oriental Literature, Sanskrit,  Sinhela and Sinhela Literature, and Educational Planning and Management. An excellent writer in both Sinhela and English, he has authored some 48 books and 150 articles and research papers. For the last 15 years, he has been the Honorary Consultative Editor of the Encyclopedia of Buddhism.

He is a reputed leader in the international Buddhist movement and has been the Patron of the European Buddhist Union and a Vice-President of the World Fellowship of Buddhists from 1988 and its representative to the UNO and UNESCO. He is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of

Great Britain and Northern Ireland and several international organizations relating to Buddhism and Education. He is also the President of the World Buddhist University Council (Bangkok, Thailand) and a member of the UNESCO  Inter-religious Advisory Committee.

One Response to “Dr. Ananda Guruge – His Passing Away is a loss to our Nation of an Exceptional Patriot and An Outstanding Buddhist Scholar.”

  1. samurai Says:

    An eminent personality of Dr. Guruge’s stature should have been accorded a state funeral after bringing his body to Sri Lanka. Since he is to be cremated in California USA on August 16 the authorities and Buddhist organisations should at least urge that the ashes should be brought to the land of his birth. When the Anagarika Dharmapala passed away in 1933 even though he was cremated in India the ashes were brought to Sri Lanka and given the honour they deserved.
    In Sri Lanka, where Governments go to great lengths in honouring politicians, artists, cricketers and others it is amazing that a man of Guruge’s calbre has not been considered for State honours. It exposes the inability of those in power to recognize true values. But the real blame for failing in this duty should go to leading Buddhist organisations that have much influence and connections with the ruling circles. Another ‘Guruge’ might not be born in Sri Lanka for generations to come.

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