Ven Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Maha Thero
Walakuluge Don Jahanis Abeyweera Gunawardana Maha Liyana Arachchi Ralahamy and his spouse Dandangoda Gamage Christina Hamine of Hettigoda, Hikkaduwa were blessed with an infant on 20.01.1827. This offspring was named Don Nikulas at the Baptism in accordance with the general practice prevailed at the time and was provided with preliminary education in Sinhala and Pali at Hettigoda Thilakarama temple (Hikkaduwa) under the tutelage of Ven. Hikkaduwe Sobitha Nayaka Thera and Ven. Revatha Thera.
He was ordained at the historic Thotagamuwe Vijayaba Pirivena in November, 1840 when he was only 13 years of age. He received further education under sagacious monk Rev. Pannamgoda Jethuthara Thera of Vijayaba Pirivena and acquired proficiency in English from Coranelis Abayawardana renowned English scholar of the area.
Thereafter he was taken for higher education by parents, kindred and well-wishers to Ven. Valane Sri Siddartha Nayaka Thea who was acclaimed as the exalted scholar monk in that era (1844). Under the guidance of this Prelate within a relatively brief span he acquired wide knowledge of Buddhist Philosophy and Buddhist Culture and familiarity of bikkuhood from Ven. Batuwantudawe Devarakshita Thera.
He was well versed in Sinhala, Pali, Sanskrit, English, Buddhism, History, Arithmetic and Archaeology. He received his education from Parama Dhamma Chetiya Pirivena Ratmalana, under the guidance of Ven. Walane Sri Siddhartha Maha Thera. The Ven. Ratmalane Dharmaloka Thera was one of his contemporaries. As an erudite monk he has written many books. He was the main source for the success of the Panadura Debate held in 1873.
Ven Sumangala Thero with Col. Olcott