Ven Panadure Ariyadhamma Thero

Ven Panadure Ariyadhamma Thero

The awakening of interest in Buddhism seen in Sri Lanka can be attributed to the effort of few Sangha fathers who took the courage to bring Dhamma to the people. Ven Panadure Ariyadhamma is one of those pioneers who blew life in to Sasana in the recent past.

He was born on 22nd of June 1940  the second son of a family of seven  in  Nalluruwa, Panadura .  His lay name was Lal Buddhadasa. His father was Mr. W. Solomon Fernando, a farmer, and mother was W. Linie Fernando, a very simple, devout, Buddhist . He had three brothers and three sisters .Buddhadasa received his primary and secondary education at Siri Seewali Vidyalaya,  Nalluruwa , Panadura; Cyril Jansz Vidyalaya, Panadura, and Vidyarathna Pirivena, Horana. During his childhood he had the good  fortune to associate with some eminent scholar monks like Ven. Panadure Ariyawansa, Keselwatte Chandamuni,Ven.Dr. Horana Vajiragnana, and Ven. Kottegoda Gnanalankara Nayaka Thera. He received his Dhamma Education at Sri Wimala Daham Pasala, Nalluruwa, Panadura.

Unlike the other youths in the prime age of youth , Buddhadasa was always attracted to the serenity of the temple, so that, after his education, he chose the most suitable place for work in the sacred city of Anuradhapura. He was employed as a clerk in the Preservation Board in accordance with his wish . Everyday, during his leisure, he took the opportunity to visit the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Tree, and the image of the Buddha in concentration (Samadhi Pilimaya) in the Mahamevna Grove in Anuradhapura. He always admired the pleasant atmosphere of the Sacred City of Anuaradhapura and,devotionally, he paid his homage to the Buddha and meditated under the Bo tree and also where-ever possible.

For many years he was engaged in meditation and practiced Buddhism as a layman . Ultimately he realised that it is not easy while living in a home to lead a holy life. The household life is close and dusty, the homeless life is as air (Sambodayamgaravaso rajapatho abbhokasova pabbajja)1. Thus he decided to go forth (pabbajja) from the home to homelessness.

While he was in Anuradhapura he spent hours and hours meditating under the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree. Once he visited the “Kaludiya Pokuna” forest hermitage, at Mihintale, Anuradhapura, and there he met a dedicated Bhikkhu, Ven. Dodampahala Chandrasiri, who was highly engaged in meditation. He expressed his willingness to enter the Sasana to the Bhikkhu, who is the present Chief Abbot of the Gotama Tapovanaya hermitage, Kalapaluwawa, and the Mahanayaka Thera of the Sri Kalyanawansa Nikaya.

The Ven. Thera consented and directed him to his Master, the Ven. Kudawelle Wangeesa Maha Nayaka Thera . Mr. Buddhadasa accepted the monk’s advice and decided to meet the Ven. Maha Nayaka Thera.

He was ordained on the 22nd of December, 1966 ,under the tutelage of Ven. Kudawelle Wangeesa Maha Nayaka Thera, the then Chief Abbot of the Gotama Tapoavanaya and the Maha Nayaka Thera of Kalyanawansa Nikaya.

At the Ordination his name, Lal Buddhadasa, was changed into Tapowanaye Atthakusala . But later on it was converted to “Panadure Ariyadhamma” This newly ordained novice spent a few months under his teacher and practised meditation and got instruction from his teachers and brother monks to be a well disciplined and well conducted monk .

Ven. Ariyadhamma had an unparalleled inborn ability to sing religious and devotional stanzas. He used his skills to recite religious and devotional stanzas and quatrains composed by himself praising the qualities of the Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha. By composing poems he practised the art of melodious and devotional recitation.

Due to the attraction of his Dhamma propaganda programmes people of all walks of like got drawn to listen to his talks and participate in his programmes.  With such popularity he was the subject of much veneration.  But this did not affect his noble character and he lived always a very simple life. Though he received hundreds of Pirikara he was conted with three as praised by the blessed one. Whenever he visited a remote area he distributed everything he received among those who were in local temples.  Ven Ariyadhamma was much interested in saving the youth of the day and directing the youth on to the noble path. Much of his talks are addressed to the youth.

Vent Thero  passed away unexpectedly on the 27th of May 1986 and it is one of the severest blows to the Buddha sasana in Sri Lanka.

May the venerable thero reach Nibbana.




You can download Desana and Puja Stanzas of the Venerable thero from




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