The Bodhi Mirror
Venerable Dhammananda Nayaka Thera, a well known Sinhalese dhammaduta (Buddhist Missionary) resident of Malaysia for the last twenty eight years, is presently on a lecture tour for the first time in the United States of America.
As the Patron of the Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardhana Society, he is also the founder and spiritual director of the Buddhist Missionary Society (founded in 1962) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the founder Director of the newly established Paramadhamma Buddhist Institute (founded in 1977) in Ratmalana Sri Lanka.
Apart from being responsible for the magazine "Voice of Buddhism,"
As a lecturer on Buddhism, the Venerable One has traveled widely in the Far East particularly in Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong. For the past decade or so his efforts have been mainly directed towards welfare and educational activates especially among the young Buddhists: of Malaysia and receptive elders in the Buddhist community; As spiritual advisor to many Buddhist societies and youth organizations throughout the country, he provides them with, many inspiring talks and encouragement equipping them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and mental attitudes to use in the practical and peaceful; dissemination of the Buddhadharma. His regular Dharma talks and discussions with University students and other youth from secondary and tertiary institutions have been well received.
His rich experience and successful efforts in introducing the message of the Buddha in a non Buddhist country like Malaysia has provided him with greater Insights to the needs of newcomers to Buddhism in various parts of the world. For some time, he had conceived the idea of a training center to provide the necessary organizational skills needed for the ever increasing number of Buddhist organizations in various parts of the world. This long cherished dream of his was realized with the recent establishment of the Paramadhamma Buddhist Institute in Sri Lanka. This Institute is primarily aimed at providing a balanced approach for the effective development of organizational skills for both the bhikhus and the laity.
Venerable Dhammananda's great missionary effort has been recognized by the Sino American Buddhist Association by his appointment as one of the trustees of the Dharma Realm Buddhist University. The first official engagement on the Venerable Dhammananda's tour of the United States was to join the Celebration of Opening the Light on Kuan Yin Bodhisattva and the Dedication of the Dharma Realm Buddhist University at the City of Ten thousand Buddhas on. November 4th. As an Honored Dharma Master, the Venerable Dhammananda helped perform the official functions of the day and consented to deliver addresses and instructional talks during his several day visit at the City. (The text of his speech during Ceremonies at the Gate appears in News from the Dharma Realm, this issue).
The 60 year old Venerable Nayaka Thera was ordained at the age of twelve and received his Dharma education at the Vidyalankara Pirivena, the well known Oriental Buddhist Institute in Sri Lanka. Later he entered the Benares Hindu University in India for higher studies and was engaged in the dissemination of the Dharma in India before he left for Malaysia and the countries in the Far East.
Owing to the invaluable services he has rendered to the Sasana, the Maha Sangha Sabha of the Malwatta Chapter of Sri Lanka honored him, in 1965, with the title of Dharmakirthi Sri and appointed him as the Chief Sanghanayaka of Malaysia.
On November 4, 1979, following the Opening of the Light on Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, the Venerable Dharma Master Dhammananda was awarded Dharma Realm Buddhist University's first Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy in ceremonies led by Chancellor Hua, Trustee Carol Ruth Silver, Vice President Ronald Epstein, and Professor Wu-yi, Chairperson of the Philosophy Department.