|Monday, 21 April 2003|
Regarding the demise of Venerable Rajakeeya Panditha Brahmanawatte Dhammakithi Tissa Maha Thera, the chief incumbent of the Nagadeepa Vihara in the North, the secretary general of Sri Lanka Anuradhapura Maha Sangha Sabha Ven. Kotugoda Dhammawasa Anunayake Thera expressing the deepest condolences together with supreme Patriarch, the most Ven. Agga Maha Panditha Madihe Sri Pannaseeha Maha Nayaka Thera, the President of the Maha Sangha Sabha Most Ven. Boyegama Wimalasiri Maha Nayake Thera and that of Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Sanga Sabha, issued the following statement:-
The Ven. Brahmanawatte Dhammakitti Tissa Maha Thera first visited Jaffna in the year 1939 mainly to learn the two languages English and Tamil. At the time he had earned his Pracheena Pandit degree in Sinhala, Pali and Sanskrit. He entered the Jaffna Victoria College and studied the two languages English and Tamil with flying colours winning several prizes specially for the Tamil language and he had been appointed to the staff of the same college as a teacher. A few years later after the demise of the chief incumbent of the vihara Ven. Randombe Somasiri Tissa Thera, Ven. Brahmanawatte Dhammakitti Tissa Nayaka Thera succeeded him and was incharge of the Vihara.
There onward for the last sixty years or more he performed his duties as Viharadipathy diligently. His sincere and genuine efforts to build peace and harmony between Sinhala and Tamil peoples will be written in letters of gold in our history. He never intended to come to the south despite the grave terror existed in the North for the last twenty years. He had been residing in the Nagadeepa Vihara and did his best as a true Buddhist disciple to bring the two communities together specially by improving the relationship between the two religions Buddhism and Hinduism.
Thereby he was able to reside in Nagadeepa Vihara by securing the goodwill of the Tamil people. No doubt he has set an example to this country and to the whole world and specially to the Maha Sangha.
Recognizing the yeoman services rendered by him to the Buddha Sasana and to the country, the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Sangha Sabha conferred on him the title "Dheeraweera Prawachana Keerthi Sri Sasanajothi." His demise is an irreparable loss to the Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka. May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.
SL Islamic Society condoles
The demise of Most Ven. Brahmanawathe Dharmakirthi Thissa Amarapura Mulawanshika Nikaye Maha Nayake Thera is a irreparable lost to the Buddhist community and to the Buddha Sasana, the Sri Lanka Islamic Society said in a condolence message. The message: "During the 90 years of life he has done a great service to teach the Buddha, Dharmma to the people of this country. He is a Chief Viharadhipathi Nagadeepa Raja Maha Viharaya in Jaffna.
The Sri Lanka Islamic Society (Maligawatte) President M. Ruzaik Farook and members convey its condolence to the Maha Sangha.
Mahanayaka Thera stressed Sinhala-Tamil unity
by Venerable Meetiyagoda Gunaratana Thera, Chief Sanghanayaka of Sri Jayawardhanapura
Viharadhipati of Nagadeepa Vihara, Jaffna, Venerable Brahmanawatte Dhammakiththi Tissa Mahanayaka Thera passed away on the day following the Sinhala and Hindu New Year Day.
He was born at Brahmanawatta, Balapitiya on April 15, 1915. He was the Mahanayaka Thera of the Amarapura Mulawanshika Nikaya. He passed away on his birthday itself. Of his lifespan of 88 years the Mahanayaka Thera spent 55 years at Nagadeepa Vihara fostering Sinhala and Tamil amity.
North-South harmony was fostered by bhikkhus who settled in temples in towns such as Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Ampara, Akkaraipattu and specially the Nagadeepa at Jaffna. All those Nayaka Theras were from the South and Brahmanawatte Dhammakiththi Nayaka Thera was the last link.
Migalahandige Richard de Silva and Lakdu Layanhamy were the parents of the Nayaka Thera and they decided to admit their youngest son to the Sasana. Accordingly the Mahanayaka Thera entered the bhikkhu order under Thotagamuwe Pagnamoly Tissa Nayaka Thera at Ambalangoda Randombe Maha Cetiya Pirivena. He completed his studies at the same pirivena.
The Mahanayaka Thera obtained a thorough knowledge of Sinhala, Tamil and Pali languages and got through his Matriculation at the age of 26 with his contemporary, Venerable Professor Walpola Rahula Thera. Realising the language problem as the main obstacle for Sinhala and Tamil amity Ven. Dhammakiththi Thera mastered Tamil language at Victoria College, Jaffna. This helped the Mahanayaka Thera to be at the Nagadeepaya unhurt during the 1958 communal strife and later amidst communal fires that engulfed the whole country.
Venerable Dhammakiththi Mahanayaka Thera has authored several valuable books in Tamil as well as in Sinhala and the one titled 'Pukkar Vanakkam' was very much popular among Tamils. 'Uthure Nagadeepaya', 'Seema Lakkhana Deepani', "Solos Maha Than" and 'Prakrutha Prakasha Vyakyawa, are among his other works.
Born and educated in the south, the Mahanayaka Thera was able to remain unhurt at the heart of Jaffna city among Tamils because of his sterling human qualities inculcated in him by the teachings of Lord Buddha. He directed the security forces sent for his protection to see to the protection of the Tamils in Jaffna.
He emphasised the importance of Sinhalese and Tamils living as children of the same family in harmony, not by word but by deed. Because of this even the guns of the Tigers were silent on him.
There are four disciples of the Mahanayaka Thera and they are Venerable Brahmanawatte Seevali, Venerable Balabowe Wimalakiththi, Venerable Kadawatha Vijitha and Venerable Navandagala Padumakiththi Theras. The seniormost of them, Venerable Brahmanawatte Seevali Thera is rendering a great service to the nation conducting Dhamma lectures in Tamil over the radio and the TV.
Venerable Brahmanawatte Mahanayaka There set up eight temples in the country including the North and East and a Nagadeepa branch at Baseline Road, Dematagoda. The Mahanayaka Thera passed away in Colombo and even though his funeral could have been held at Dematagoda the people of Jaffna wanted it to be at Jaffna as a mark of respect to his efforts taken to foster Sinhala and Tamil brotherhood. Navy Commander, Daya Sandagiri and the sailors have taken up the responsibility of funeral to be held with full State honours, a testimony to his cordial relationship with the SL Navy.
The demise of the Mahanayaka Thera is a great loss at a time when peace talks are on to stop the brutal war which killed thousands and usher in peace.
We wish more Theras such as Venerable Brahmanawatte Mahanayaka Thera, who felt the pulse of Tamils, be born to fill the void created by his demise.
The cremation of Ven. Brahmanawatte Dhammakeerthi Tissa Nayaka Thera (92), Viharadhipathi, Nagadeepa Purana Raja Maha Viharaya, Jaffna who passed away at the Colombo National Hospital on April 15 will be held under state patronage at the Nagadeepa Raja Maha Viharaya, Adahana Maluwa today at 2.30 p.m.
Ven. Dhammakeerthi Tissa Thera's remains were flown to Jaffna from the Nagadeepa Shaka Viharaya, Dematagoda on Saturday after religious rites at the temple.
Produced by Lake House