Venerable Talalle Sri Dhammananda Swaminwahan
Most Venerable Talalle Siri Dhammananda Maha Nayaka Thera, the chief Patriarch of the Amarapura Siri Saddhhammavamsa Maha Nikaya and head of the Kuppiawatta Jayasekhararama Mahaviharaya was born on 7 th June, 1918, the venerable Maha Nayaka Thera was fifteen months behind his eightieth birthday. This grand prelate who took leave of us very silently in his characteristic manner, three years ahead of the turn of the century, was an unmistakable link in our Sasana history, connecting a glorious monastic past with the lamentable decadence of the present.
Graduating from the Vidyodaya Pirivena as a Royal Pundit in 1956, he obviously assimilated the best these ancient seats of learning had to offer, combining with success his own personal genius. Pursuing his distinguished academic career, he obtained within a decade a Master’s Degree, a M.A. from the Vidyodaya University. His glorious academic ascent was crowned with the conferment of a D. Litt. on him by the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in 1978.
These achievements began to blossom forth as the years went by, both in his later researches into Buddhism and in his own writings, which was their outcome, as well as in his exposition of the Dhamma to the people of the land at large. He did much work in the field of Buddhist culture and civilization and several subsequent publications stand to his credit. His mastery over the original source material of Buddhism in the Pali language also won him international acclaim.
In 1954, he shared with several eminent Sri Lankan monks the honour of being invited to Myanmar [then known as Burma] to take part in the literary activities of the Chatta Sangayana, i.e. the sixth Buddhist Council held in Rangoon.
Within the monastic community to which he belonged, the Amarapura Sirisaddhammavamsa Maha Nikaya, he has held notably high positions during the last thirty-five years of his life. His first appointment as the joint-secretary of the Chapter was in 1962. In 1965 he became the Chief Sangha Nayaka of the Chapter for the Colombo District. In 1983 he was elevated to the position of Chief Adhikarana Nayaka of the entire Chapter. The same year he became the joint-secretary of the Amarapura Maha Sangha Sabha. In 1985 he became the Maha Nayaka of the Amarapura Sirisaddhammavamsa Maha Nikaya. He was also elected Vice- President of Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Sangha Sabha. Both these positions he held up to the time of his demise.
His lifelong interest in Buddhist studies has been creditably recognized by many academic institutions in the country. In 1954 he was already a teacher at the Vidyodaya Pirivena at Maligakanda. In 1959 he was a visiting lecturer in Buddhism at the Vidyodaya University.
He had traveled wide to propagate Buddha Sasana. It was one of his concepts to construct a four storied International Dharmamandiraya and laid the foundation on February 1993, but due to ill-health he could not complete the construction work of ‘Dharmamandiraya’. He passed away on April 12, 1997.