Dr. Ven. Ittapane Dhammalankara Thera

Dr. Ven. Ittapane Dhammalankara Thera

[ Fr.Sunil De Silva - 12.06.2015 ]
The Catholic Church felicitated Dr. Ven. Ittapane Dhammalankara Thera, on his appointment of Maha Nayake (Sannasa) to the Kotte Kalyani Samagri Dharma Sangha Sabhava, on 12th Jun 2015 at SEDEC - Caritas Sri Lanka conference hall. His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith presided at the felicitation ceremony together with His Lordship Bishop Vianney Fernando, the Chairman of the Catholic National Commission for Justice and Peace and Human Development and Rev. Fr. George Sigamony, Director of Caritas.

The ceremonial presentation of the title of Maha Nayake (Sannasa) to Dr. Ven. Ittapane Dhammalankara Thera by the Kotte Kalyani Samagri Dharma Sangha Sabhava, was held onn 28th Feb. 2015 at 3.00 pm at the Kotte Raja Maha Viharaya, Sri Jayewardenepura.

On Sunday, March 1st, a felicitation ceremony was held at the Shri Dharmawijayaloka Maha Viharaya in Rukmale, to honour the newly appointed Maha Nayaka Thera. The felicitation ceremony will be chaired by the Most Ven. Maha Nayaka Thera of Asgiriya Udugama Shri Buddarakkitha Thera. Most Ven. Niyangoda Vijithasiri Anunayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter, Chancellor of the University of Jayewardenepura, Most Ven. Bellanwila Nayake Thera, Chancellor of the Kelaniya University, Most Ven. Welamitiyawe Kusala Dhamma Nayake Thera and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe attended the felicitation ceremony.

Dr. Ittapane Dhammalankara Thera is the 12th Maha Nayake Thero of the Kotte Chapter. During thre British rule, Buddhist monks found it difficult to travel to distant villages to attend Upasampadha ceremonies. Considering this fact, the Siyam Nikaya in 1855, decided to establish the Kotte Chapter at Sri Jayewardenepura.

Known for exerting his quiet spiritual influence to illuminate the path of devotees, towards eternal Buddhist values, Ven. Dr. Ittapana Dhammalankara Anu Nayake Maha Thera, provides spiritual direction even to those at the helm of affairs in this country at many levels.

Many village names in Sri Lanka became popular when they were coined with a name of a Buddhist monk. To name a few, Walpola with Rahula, Welavitiya with Soratha, Madhiye with Pannasiha, Kalukodayawe with Pannasekera, Mawittara with Sri Revatha and Amanwella with Pannasekera.

Ittapane is a hamlet in the Kalutara district. Galatharage Don Jamis Appuhamy and Meegahapolage Dona Lisahamy, hailed from a respectable family from Ittapane. They had a large family, consisting of five boys and four girls. The youngest was named Galatharage Don Peres, who was born on October 14, 1934.

He had the privilege of being tutored and guided by such leading monks as Ven. Kiriwathtuduwe Sri Pragnasara Nayake Maha Thera, Ven. Hedipannala Sri Pragnaloka Maha Thera, Ven. Kotahene Sri Pragnakirthi Maha Thera and Ven. Bambarande Sri Seewali Maha Thera at that well-known Buddhist educational institution Vidyalankara Pirivena at Peliyagoda.

Due to his intellectual abilities and spiritual advancement, higher ordination was conferred upon him just eight years after he was ordained a novice monk.

G.D. Peres, studied at the Ittapane M.V. He was a bright and intelligent student. While attending school, he studied at the village Dhamma school. He was an extraordinary child. Probably he would have accrued many merits in his Samsaric journey. Determined to be a Buddhist monk, he achieved his ambition in 1959, by entering the Buddhist Order as Ittapane Dhammalankara. He was ordained a monk during his stewardship to Kalalgoda Dhammasiri and Thalawathugoda Dhammaloka Nayaka Theras.

Ittapane Dhammalankara joined the Vidyalankara Pirivena and later studied at the Vidyodaya Pirivena and later obtained his Degree from the University of Kelaniya. His doctorate was also from the University of Vidyalankara, presently the Kelaniya University of Sri Lanka.

Ven. Dhammalankara Thera is the Chief incumbent of Dhammachithyaramaya, Dhamma Vijaya Loka Maha Viharaya, Rukmale, Shri Mangalarama Viharaya in Pelanwatte, Digana, Shri Sudarshana Rama Maha Viharaya and Maithri Viharaya in Los Angeles, USA, respectively. He is also the Chief Incumbent of the Buddhist Temple in Sunvalley, Los Angeles, USA.
The monk who is a preacher of the Dhamma and also an eloquent speaker, is also a reputed writer and author. He authored 'Budu Bawa Pathana Ananda Maithri Thera,' 'Pavidhi Pandi Mini Pahan,' 'Mal Pale Upan Pansale Piyathuma' and the 'Auto Biography of Fr Marcelline Jayakody,' and many more Buddhist literary works.

Ittapane Dhammalankara Nayake Thera possesses a very majestic and pleasant personality. He is a symbol of religious harmony and one of the most respected Maha Nayaka Theras in the island.
[ Photos by Fr. Sunil De Silva]