RELATIVELY UNHEARD SRI LANKAN BUDDHIST MONKS HONOURED BY KING OF THAILAND/MYANMAR
Posted on January 12th, 2021

By M D P DISSANAYAKE

The first Sri Lankan Buddhist monk honoured by the King of Thailand  awarding the status of Aggamaha Panditha ( meaning Chief Great Scholar) was none other than the former Vice Chancellor of Vidyalankara University Ven Polwatte Buddhadatta Thera.  He has made valuable contribution to Buddhism and wrote series of books in Pali and Sinhala, including Pali Bhashava Tharanaya, which was a recommended text book in Sri Lanka.

Similarly, Ven Balangoda Ananda Maithree Thero was also conferred the AP status in recognition of his contribution.

To add to this colourful list,  the following Sri Lankan Monks have been awarded AP status  on 12 January, 2021 by the President of Myanmar.

Mihiripenne Sobhitha Thero of Sri Maha Bodhi Viharaya, Dehiwela, Kollupitiya Mahindarakkitha Thero, Ananda Thero of Trincomalee and Dodampahala Chandrasiri Thero

The nominations were  compiled and recommended to the King of  by a Committee of Sanga Nayaka after rigorous  and subtle examination of the Monk’s wisdom and achievements. These monks are considered to be unusually wise, noble and enlightened (Arahants).

The Sri Lankan buddhist society have heard the names of Ven Galabodaththe Ghanasara, Athureliya Rathna, Elle Gunawansa, Muruththettuwe Ananada, Medagoda Abayatissa,  Medille Pannaloka, Damballa Amila  etc. who believe they have power to change governments willy nilly.  They are departing from the basic principles of buddhist philosophy, igniting News Breaks, Headlines on the media. For  many    modern day buddhist monks in Sri Lanka the important issues are:  20 amendment, dual citizenship, burial or cremation of covid victims, sale, lease or joint venture of Eastern Terminal of Port of Colombo, release of convicted criminals, special favours for corrupt politicians, etc.  These monks expect the government to solve every problem in less than 6 months, with threats to bring the down the government with a new team.

Except for few, majority buddhist monks are departing from their original objectives of learning and disseminating buddhist philosophy.  

It is heartening that the King of  Thailand award the Aggamaha Panditha status to a very special class of buddhist monks after thorough scrutiny, who are future saviours of Buddhism.  Therefore, it is not surprising that the Famous Names of Monks are not in the above list.

Buddhism : its religion and philosophy”  by Dr W.S. Karunaratne is strongly recommended to all buddhist monks in Sri Lanka.

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