Great disciplinarian who respected true values
Ven. Baddegama Wimalawansa Anunayake Thera’s death
anniversary falls today
Late Ven. Baddegama Wimalawansa Anunayake Thera was born on December
8 1913 in Baddegama into a distinguished family which hails from
down-south and he came to Colombo at the age of nine.
He was ordained at the age of nineteen under the pupillage of Ven.
Medaduwe Vipulasena Mahanayaka Thera and he received his higher
ordination at the age of twenty six. He studied Sinhala, Pali, Sanskrit,
Tamil and English at Vidyodaya Pirivena, Maligakanda and excelled among
others passing Praccena Pandita examination in 1945.
In appreciation of his academic and literary work, the University of
Vidyodaya appointed him as a lecturer who taught Sinhala language,
Buddhist Philosophy and Civilisation. He was nominated to administrative
committee and executive working committee of Ramanna Maha Nikaya
respectively in 1953 and 1963.
The University of Sri Jayewardenepura conferred honorary D Litt on
Him for his contribution to academic writings. He was adorned with the
higher status in the Nikaya as Anunayake-deputy prelate till his passing
away on January 17, 1993.
Late Ven. Baddegama Wimalawansa Anunayake Thera of the Sri Lanka
Ramanna Maha Nikaya was the founder of Srisudarshana Vidyalaya at
Kaikavala, Matale in 1942. Sri Lanka Vidyala Maha Pirivena at Maradana,
Colombo in 1947 and Mayurapada Pirivena at Talangama South in 1950.
He extended his service towards the children of the down trodden
society in remote villages, such as Dimbulagala, Yakkure, Sorivila and
Aralagamvila, and commenced to build up schools with the assistance of
the government for them to improve their standards of literacy.
Moreover, in Mumbai, India the school Takshila which was established
in 1969 by Anunayake Thera extended a great service for the uplift of
Indian children to eliminate caste-based social dissension which
accorded the peaceful social revolution by Dr. Ambedkar, the great
This was a result yielded from Maha Mahinda International Dharmadutha
Society which was set up by Anunayake Thera in 1963.
He led Buddhist missions to other countries in the West and East. He
persisted and persuaded the competent monks who were equipped with
foreign languages and Buddhist studies to engage in dissemination of
Buddhist philosophy in the international arena.
For this purpose in 1954 he ordained 500 children as novices at
Independence Square in Colombo.
His determination to accomplish his mission is now carried forward by
his erudite pupillage namely, Ven. Dr. Amaravansa Thera, Ven. Professor
Madagama Nandawansa Thera, Ven. Dr. Gunasiri Thera, Ven. Dr. Ananda
Thera, Ven. Gunavansa Thera, Ven. Sirinivasa Thera and Ven. Aggadhamma
Thera in other countries.
Anunayake Thera’s vision towards internationalising Buddhist
philosophy made those monks to learn various languages such as Hindi,
Japanese, Korean, English and French while maintaining high standards of
learning Pali and Sanskrit.
Ven. Elle Gunavansa Thera, Ven. Silogama Wimala Thera and Ven.
Bandagiriye Somavansa Thera who follow the foot-steps of the Anunayake
Thera with linkage to international missions deal with current social
problems and lead philanthropic and social activities for children and
The Anunayake Thera closely associated the erudite monks such as late
Ven. Yakkaduve Pragnarama Thera Ven. Kiriwattuduwe Pragnasara Thera Ven.
Henpitagedara Gnanaseeha Thera Ven. Akuratiye Amaravanse Thera and Ven.
Horana Vajiragnana Thera and leaders such as Dudley Senanayake, S. W. R.
D. Bandaranaike, who dedicated towards Buddhist practices.
He acquainted sensitively the disciplinary rules and practices for
the well-being of the Mahasanga in the Nikaya. This recognition and the
rapport made him to be conferred the title of Sugathavansalankara
tripikakavagisvaracarya Anunayake of Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya.
He belonged to a group of versatile and dedicated monks who had an
equal interest in multifaceted activities to benefit the Sri Lankan
The Anunayake Thera guided people of various races, for unity and
prosperity, of Sri Lanka.
During the last decades of twentieth century due to several causes
mainly on account of internal dissension and discord within Buddhist
Sangha fraternity and the indifference of the people to uphold and
non-observance of the sacred rituals and disciplinary practices,
especially due to colonial influence, the Sri Lankans began to
assimilate foreign customs, ways of life, dress and langauge resulting
in transformation of their local lifestyle.
He kept abreast with other contemporary Nayaka Thera such as late Ven.
Akuratiye Amarawansa Nayake Thera to give utmost attention and devotion
to religious activities, being aware of the standards to which the Sri
Lankans had fallen.
His contribution to flourish Buddhism reflected through his
commitment to bring about the Buddhist commission report in 1956 into
light. Ode temple which is known as Sri Lanka Vidyalaya Pirivena
produced several top notched scholars, at national and international
level. One of its greatest teachers, scholar and administrator of all
time was most reverent Baddegama Wimalavansa Thera.
He was a successful religious entrepreneur, philanthropist, indeed of
the great erudite monks of Sri Lanka in modern times. He was a fabulous
teacher who got thousands of monks and laymen to learn freely with
available facilities during his life time. He wanted all of his pupils
to know what the mission they were involved in.
He provided honorary counselling or advice and directions to persons
who had aptitude for higher studies. After 1950 there had been no
employment for young people who passed Senior School Certificate
Examination in Sinhala.
He set up an office for Sinhala national language at Ode temple. It
is no wonder, with such guidance over seventy five per cent of the
students of Sri Lanka Vidyalaya Pirivena walked into the universities.
Amazingly what an output here was, some entered the Sri Lankan
administrative service, some became academies in the universities, and
some head the private sector.
One should not falter to mention the graduate, lawyer and the
prestigious politician Mahinda Rajapaksa the President of Sri Lanka as
one of the renowned student who boomed under the pupillage of Anunayake
The Anunayake Thera vividly reflected practising discipline himself
and set an example to others by deed as well. Being a Great
disciplinarian of par excellence he taught everyone to respect to true
values. His exemplary character induced monks as well the laymen to
practise values and to apply them in day to day life.
He devoted to uphold the Vinaya and scholarship among monks. Ven.
Nayake Thera had powerful and persuasive influence for the good of his
generation and for the future generation’s time to come in. He was
acclaimed by the certainty of his enduring impact on generations yet
Undoubtedly Anunayake Thera had courage vision, and character and he
was full of efficiency and industry. In 1958, he advocated communal
harmony to restore peace and rebuild the ruined living conditions by
providing houses for the people in Trincomalee following the communal
Moreover, he instilled the spirit of selfless, social and religious
service and high patriotic endeavour. In 1960, a training centre for
disabled was set up in Hokandara, Sri Lanka.
The Anunayake Thera was a multidimensional and multifaceted
personality who adorned everything whatever he touched and undertook,
and infused new life into it and made it living institution.
In all spheres such as working for people and reforming the society
we could see the imprint of his personality and the versatility of his
genius. He opened the eyes of new generation to an entirely new literary
genre. He was above all else, a committed, engaged intellectual who was
one of the finest monks of his day.
His writings such as Sinhala Tupavansaya, Jinacarita Vyakyava,
Darmapradipika Sanskaranaya, Sankya Shabdakosaya, Balabodhini Sannaya,
Demala Vyakaranaya and Bhasha Parinamaya are classic literal creations
with highest academic value. He wrote 28 texts from which 11 contributed
to perennial collection of Sinhala classics which stood for his
He was dedicated towards through his writings to make the people
educated morally and ethically. His wide readership benefited very much
from his broad knowledge couched in his own style of his writings.
He was also a prolific writer; he rendered an unforgettable service
through his brilliant writings by enlightening politicians, academics
and scholars in Sri Lanka.
It is notable to quote a paragraph which contains the very crux of
his thinking on the Sri Lankan ideology.
He was very active and productive to furnish to provide guide lines
with prominent figures, such as, “It is the characteristic of an
intelligent community, understanding realities according to contemporary
needs and moulding the behavioural patterns.
In this endeavour the youth have to lead the task. In the perspective
of Sri Lankan society, the Buddhist monks had been carrying out this
objective with understanding over 2000 years.
Giving up those for being old and embracing for being novel - both
are weaknesses. The world contracts so as to be a courtyard of the same
house. Hence, we have to be mindful about mimicking and wrong view”.
Even in the Sri Lankan national policies, irrespective of political
distortions, through his knowledge of all religions he appraised our
national culture and heritage in the perspective of Buddhist thinking.
This versatile erudite monk passed away leaving a great fleet of
pupillage with great calibre. Ven. Nayake Thera will be continuously
remembered as we owe a deep sense of gratitude to as he hailed from the
descending generations of great disciples of the Buddha.
The fraternity of Buddhist monks and Buddhists in general respect
Anunayake Thera for his devotion to preserve Buddha Sasana which
includes Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha through which Anunayake Thera
contributed to uphold standards of Sri Lankan community.
May he Attain Nibbana.