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Most Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera

“Whatsoever a book is in your hand, go through it with much interest and implant the subject matter in your mind. Thereby, it enables you to proliferate and enrich your knowledge. Pick up even a piece of paper of any sort thrown on the road, if there is something which you are ignorant of , learn it.”

The above lines were uttered by Ven. Hikkaduwe Sumangala Thera, during the era when Sri Lanka was under the British Colonialism. Since the introduction of Buddhism in 246 BC and the establishment, Sri Lanka had been a Buddhist country. Unfortunately, the invasion of the British and its impact on Buddhism and the innocent Buddhists, had drastic effects on the people. They were converted to Christian religion. The apostate sovereign could no longer protect the Sasana. There upon, the holy places of Buddhist worship that should have been in the possession of Buddhists were controlled by the followers of another religion. Both Buddhist Bhikkhus and lay people became helpless.

How could the Sri Lankan patriots endure the gravity of such a tragedy caused by the foreign rulers? Sri Lanka fell into the hands of the British on March 2, 1815, which had been protected by the ancestors even at the cost of their lives. The Sinhala Flag which fluttered proudly was replaced by the British Flag. At the end of the 19th century, the Sinhala Buddhists had to suffer various inexplicable plights. Such an unreasonable influence caused the Sinhalese a great deal of torment and oppression. All their social, religious and educational responsibilities were grabbed and suppressed by the British.

At such a critical moment a child was born on January 20, 1827 to a couple. Abeyweera Gunawardhana and Dandagoda Gamage, in a beautiful village named Hettigoda in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. The child was Don Nikulas. The Sinhalese who were deprived of their culture, traditions, customs, religion and their homes, had to go through Baptism. This little Nikulas had to be baptized in a church after his birth. With the passage of time, there came an auspicious time to introduce him to books as it was an important landmark in his life. It was a custom and was usual to go to a learned Buddhist monk to get a child’s first reading done. Through there were lay teachers, his parents took the child to Ven. Sobita Nayaka Thera, the erudite monk, for his first reading, which was done in May 1832.

Having obtained permission from his parents, he entered the dispensation of the Buddha in 1840 and adopted a new name Sumangala, Ven. Hikkaduwe Sumangala Thera. From his childhood onwards, he was skilful and had a deep respect for Buddhism. Having gone to Parama Dhamma Cetiya Temple, he obtained invaluable advices from Ven. Valane Sri Siddhartha Nayaka Thera, the Viharadhipathi. He learned Sinhala and Pali with the assistance of Ven. Thotagamuwe Pannamgoda Jethuththara Thera and Ven. Bowila Sri Dhammananda Thera. Furthermore, he acquired a good knowledge of English from Jhon Coraneris Abeywardhana and gained a good knowledge of the Sanskrit language from Brahmin Kashinatha Vidyalankara. Likewise, he received advice from Ven. Batuwantudawe Devarakshita Thera.

Ven. Hikkaduwe Sumangala Thera was the embodiment of various praiseworthy qualities. He was obedient, faithful and graceful to his teachers. He grew up gradually along with the thought of restoring Buddhism to its rightful place. In 1847, he obtained his Higher Ordination, “Upasampada” at Pushparama Uposathagara in Kandy. During the Uposatha ceremony, he presented some Sanskrit slokas composed by himself. But the presiding bhikkhus were doubtful. They did not accept that such a small Samanera could compose Sanskrit slokas in that manner. It was a challenging matter to him. In order to dispel their doubts, he in their presence made some Sanskrit slokas within a short time. It was indeed an astonishing incident that they had ever experienced.

The tremendous negative impact of the English education on Sinhala culture and civilization was unjustifiable. At that time, there was not a single press where he could print and publish at least a magazine. The magazine he wanted to publish was especially written with regard to regain Sri Lanka’s identity as a nation and to restore the lost prestige. It cannot be said that there were no presses. There were but they were controlled by the British rulers. But, he did not shrink back. He was daunties in his courage. He imbued himself with a great self-determination and dared to establish a press called Lankopakara in Galle in 1862. It was there where he printed a significant and influential magazine named “Sudarshana”.

Ven. Bulathgama Siri Dhammalankara Sumanatissa Thera including other bhikkhus and lay people ventured to contribute their support for the publication of this important issue. It brought forth a lot of inspiration and enthusiasm in him. As a result, there appeared in 1863 “Buddha Vag Saraya”, in 1873 Magazine of Doctrinal Studies appeared. It was published with the profound hope to challenge the irresponsible propaganda work, foreign missionaries and thereby, to reassure the dynamic and inherent strength of Sri Lankan ancient culture and civilization.

It is not notable that during his struggle for the long life of Buddhism, he did not forget to render literary service. He would have published countless books in various languages if he had not had to devote his time to revise and amend Thripitaka and Sinhala arts and literature to serve society. There was literary significance not only in his books published but also in his articles published in several languages such as Sinhala, Pali, Sanskrit and English. There is no doubt to say that his numerous issues were published in order to challenge the British power. This great deal of issue was compiled together and considered as one as “Brahmadharma or Anusasana Sangrahaya”. In 1887 appeared a Sinhala grammar book called Warnaritiya. In 1847, there appeared Sinhala translation of Mahavamsa, which could win the hearts of many and it was considered as one of his best literary publications, “Sidathsangraha Sannaya, Simawibhagaya, Kavsekara Sannaya, Sandhi Sangrahaya” were some of his publications which reflected his multi-skilled qualities.

Amidst all his publications, the commentary of Balawatara or Balawatara Tika is the most appropriate and explicit witness for the reflection of his immense scholastic knowledge. Apart from these, when he was residing in Galle, he published Ladbhitulawa, Atmaparikshawa, monthly publication-Sudarshana, in 1862 Lankaloka, Samaya Sangarawa with his tremendous effort. Under the approval of Robert Robinson, the post of leadership in “Sri Pada or Adams Peak” was conferred to him in 1864. It was the time when the foreign rulers were imposing various techniques, where Buddhists were deprived of religious liberty. Despite the risk to his life, his services, rendered for the sake of the nation, religion, art, architecture and literature, were unforgettable and remarkable.

The great hope spreading the light of education was aroused in the hearts of Buddhists. He too had a great desire to inculcate the Buddhist education in the Buddhist society. But, the one and only problem he had was that there was no place where he could do so. So, he popped on to Colombo and worked to sort out a congenial and accessible place at all. Being subjected to love, reverence and gratitude of the devout Buddhists, he could set up an educational centre, Vidyodaya Pirivena by name, at a holy place at Maligakanda Road in June 1873. Moreover, he held a council in the Pelmadulla Sri Sudharshana Dhamma Hall to protect and fortify the Sasana. On May 17, 1880, there arrived in this colony, an American Theosophist Col. H. S. Olcott. He was at once attracted by Ven. Sumangala Nayaka Thera and joined in his movement. With great courage, Olcott started to work with Ven. Sumangala Nayaka Thera for the revival of Buddhism, Buddhist culture and education.

Furthermore, he was appointed as the chief of Siam Nikaya. Simultaneously, he became Viharadhipathi of the Paramadhamma Cetiya Pirivena. Later, he went to Paramananda Temple in Kotahena on the request of the citizens of the place. There upon, he founded by Vidyadhara Sabha at Maligakanda. Still, this Sabha is doing a good service to the Buddhist Society. At this critical moments, Ven. H. Sumangala Nayaka Thera and Ven. Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera, both erudite theologians, challenged the Christian missionaries to an open debate on the merits of their respective religions. The debating skills of both overwhelmed their opponents.

As death is inevitable and common to all, Ven. H. Sumangala Nayaka Thera, after his several years of social, educational and religious work in Colonial Ceylon passed away on April 20, 1911. It was an irrevocable loss to the Buddhist world. Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera, the eminent scholar, with a wide knowledge of Buddhism and the Buddhist philosophy, contributed a lot for the welfare of humanity. His noble services not only influenced the literature, art and architecture of people wherever he went but also helped them to be more compassionate and tolerant. He helped in redeeming the privileges of this nation and the Buddhist religion if not in the government service at least in the estimation of society.

In this regard, every year, we commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of the late Most Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera on April 29 at the Vidyodaya Pirivena to show our due respect and gratitude to him. This year, the 98th anniversary of the Nayaka Thera is going to be commemorated at the Vidyodaya Pirivena under the patronage of the Principal of the Vidyodaya Pirivena, the Most Ven. Balangoda Sobhitha Nayaka Thera.

May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana!

වෙසක් පුර අටවක පෝය මැයි මස 1 වනදා සිකුරාදා අපර භාග 3.16 ට ලබයි. මැයි මස 2 වනදා සෙනසුරාදා අපර භාග 1.24 දක්වා පෝය පවතී. සිල් සමාදන්වීම මැයි මස 1 වනදා සිකුරාදා ය. වෙසක් පුර පසළොස්වක පෝය මැයි මස 8 වනදා සිකුරාදා ය.

පොහෝ දින දර්ශනය

First Quarterපුර අටවක

මැයි 01

Full Moonපසෙලාස්වක

මැයි 08

Second Quarterඅව අටවක

මැයි 17

New Moonඅමාවක

මැයි 24

2009 පෝය ලබන ගෙවෙන වේලා සහ සිල් සමාදන් විය යුතු දවස

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