Mathises Appuhamy Maddumahamy and B. At the age of 15 he had decided to enter the order of Buddhist monks and was ordained as a Samanera at the temple Sri Nandaramaya, Udumulla, Balangoda on 2 March Thero entered Ananda College , Colombo in and became a teacher of the same school in This is understandable when one realizes that he was a theosophist as well as a Buddhist.
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Filed under Ven Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero - Ebooks , Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi Thero - Ebooks Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maitreya was one of the great personalities of Theravada Buddhism in the twentieth century, and it is testimony to his vast store of past merits that his life span stretched clear across this century from its beginning almost to its end. In the course of his exemplary life this outstanding Mahathera has held some of the most prestigious academic and ecclesiastical posts in the country.
Yet such honor and fame hardly touched him inwardly: at heart he always remained a simple monk whose greatest joy was quiet study and meditation at his small village temple near the town of Balangoda. For me it is a personal honor to be able to name Ven. Ananda Maitreya as my own ordination teacher, the one who brought me into the Sangha and guided my first steps in the life of a bhikkhu.
The background story to my meeting with the Mahanayaka Thera goes back to the year I had been ordained as a samanera novice in the Vietnamese Mahayana Order and was lecturing in world religions at a local university.
One day our center received notice that a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka would be arriving in Los Angeles. We invited him to stay with us and give a series of lectures on Theravada Buddhism at our center.
That Buddhist monk was none other than Ven. Piyadassi Nayaka Thera of Vajirarama. I served as Ven. When we parted, Ven. Piyadassi suggested to me that some day I should come to Sri Lanka, where he could arrange for me to stay at a Buddhist monastery. I wrote to Ven. Piyadassi to remind him of his invitation, and he wrote back, giving me the name of a senior prelate who, he said, had previously ordained Westerners. The name was that of Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya.
I wrote to the Mahanayaka Thera, telling him of my background and of my desire to come to Sri Lanka to ordain as a bhikkhu and to study Pali and Buddhism.
The Venerable promptly replied, extending me a warm welcome and assuring me that he could oversee my ordination and my instruction in the Dhamma. It was at the end of October that I at last arrived in Sri Lanka, and a week later I made the trip out to Balangoda.
I was accompanied on this trip by the late Ven. Pimbure Sorata Nayaka Thera, in whose vehicle we traveled to Balangoda. Though both spoke highly of the excellent qualities of my prospective guru, all along the way I felt somewhat apprehensive about my impending meeting with the Venerable One.
Again and again the doubts plagued my mind: Would I make my prostrations in the correct manner? Would I fumble hopelessly for words?
Would I make some blunder that would immediately convince the Mahathera that I was unsuited for ordination as a monk? We arrived in Balangoda in the middle of the afternoon and headed for the Sri Dhammananda Pirivena, where we were to meet Ven. Ananda Maitreya. As we approached the room where he was awaiting us, my mind was torn between a keen desire to see my chosen teacher and the anxious thoughts that played havoc with my good intentions.
But there was no turning back: the two Nayaka Theras had already entered the room, and now it was my turn. As soon as I crossed the threshold and set eyes on the Ven. Ananda Maitreya, all my fears were dispelled like the morning mist before the rising sun. It was no stern, cold, ascetic glare that met my questioning eyes, but a bright radiant kindness, a natural simplicity, and a twinkling immediacy of presence which instantly put me at ease.
At once I felt delighted that my kamma, and the good offices of Ven. Piyadassi, had brought me into contact with such a luminous being. My fears of bowing in the wrong way were also laid to rest. As soon as I came up close to the Mahanayaka Thera to begin my bow, he waved me towards a chair, as though he thought he should not impose Asian monastic formalities on a visitor from urbane America. Of course, I did not accept his invitation but made the customary triple prostration — with no fear at all that a pair of censorious eyes would be watching to see where I would trip up.
Later that afternoon, after tea and light talk, the two Nayaka Theras who had so kindly brought me out to Balangoda departed, and the Ven. A light rain had started to fall, and after several stopovers along the way we entered the rough dirt road that led to Udumulla. By this time darkness was thickly descending, and thus, when we reached the temple, I could barely see farther than the small area illuminated by the kerosene lantern I was given.
Over the next few days I had the chance to explore the full extent of Sri Nandaramaya. Earlier, while living in the U. Though Ven. These contained little more than beds, book cases, and wooden tables; it was in one of these that Ven. Ananda Maitreya was living at the time. A primitive alms hall in the back could accommodate about ten monks, none very comfortably.
Breakfast generally consisted of thin rice gruel lunu kenda with a few cream crackers and occasionally a couple of small bananas. The midday meal was usually country rice with a dhal curry and a single vegetable, and a local confection for dessert.
Occasionally a piece of papaya provided a special treat. For a year before I came to Sri Lanka I had already been a vegetarian, but the fare at Udumulla was still too spartan for my needs.
I soon enough learned how to go on alms round to the surrounding hamlets, where I collected a variety of nutritious curries and could supply the monks in the temple with my surplus. For two and a half years I lived with Ven. Ananda Maitreya at Sri Nandaramaya. During this happy period I received regular instruction from him in Pali, Suttanta, and Abhidhamma, fields in which his erudition was impeccable. The guidance he gave me so generously at that time has continued to benefit me right up to the present.
Without a reliable guide it is easy to get lost in the jungles of speculation and opinion, littered with the landmines of pride, contention, and conceit. During this period the Mahanayaka Thera always reminded me of the importance of relying on the Theravada commentarial tradition in order to understand the Pali Dhamma correctly. He implanted in my mind a profound respect for the Atthakathas and Tikas, the Commentaries and Subcommentaries, an attitude which inspired and guided my study of the Suttas and the Abhidhamma.
Although I subsequently came to see the need to distinguish among the various strata in the evolution of Theravada Buddhist thought, this early advice from my teacher helped to steer me away from fruitless interpretations often rooted in little more than the pride and cleverness of the expositor.
My meetings with the Mahanayaka Thera in those days were not all devoted to religious instruction. Ananda Maitreya was widely read, had a rich store of experience, and was an original thinker and writer. Thus every so often we would lay the books aside and he would dilate on his theories ranging from the origins of Christianity to the scientific basis for extrasensory perception.
At this time he was already years of age, yet several times per month, armed with a load of books, we would make the 6 km walk from his temple to the Balangoda pirivena, and then, after a short break at the pirivena, would make another 6 km walk back to the temple. I myself was some fifty years his junior, but even then I had to hasten to keep up with him on these walks! Writers who have eulogized the Mahanayaka Thera after his death have often extolled his lofty titles, his numerous writings, and his extensive missionary work all over the world.
A very different image of the Mahanayaka Thera remains fixed in my mind as a summation of his character and attitude towards life. The image stems from a scene I witnessed one afternoon about 25 years ago. We were on our way back to Sri Nandaramaya from the pirivena, and the Venerable decided to stop off at the Thumbagoda temple, near the approach road to Udumulla.
He often liked to stop off here on his way back to his own temple — to rest, enjoy a cup of tea, and chat with the incumbent monk, a close friend of his for many years. On this particular afternoon the weather had been cool and rainy, so the break was especially welcome. I sat out on the verandah sipping my tea while the Mahanayaka Thera and his friend spoke inside.
About an hour later they still had not emerged. Darkness was starting to set in and the rain clouds were rumbling, so I thought I should remind the Venerable of the time.
I did not find the Mahanayaka in the main part of the temple, though the incumbent monk was milling about there, so I went all the way back into the kitchen. There I found him, sitting on a small stool next to the fireplace, chatting amiably with the temple servant, who was sitting on a mat on the ground. I could not help being struck by the utter simplicity, the lack of any sense of self-importance, the utterly unpretentious kindness of this man — the highest ranking prelate in the Amarapura Nikaya, the most learned scholar-monk on the island, yet never thinking for a moment he was too good or too high to sit almost on the same level with a simple kitchen hand, extending to him the same gracious friendliness that he extended to everyone else who sought his guidance and help.
In recent years I did not have frequent personal contact with Ven. He had spent long periods abroad, and when he was in Sri Lanka he was residing at Balangoda while I have been in Kandy, looking after the late Ven.
Nyanaponika Mahathera and supervising the publications programme of the Buddhist Publication Society. I was fortunate to have three delightful meetings with the Mahanayaka Thera in the past three years. During the Vassa of , which he spent at Giriulla, about halfway between Kandy and Colombo, I went out with a friend to visit him.
I was both amused and impressed to see how assiduously he had taken to the computer, a skill he had learned at the ripe age of 94 and in which he had become quite adept. It was altogether in character for him not to think he was too old to learn something new, and to achieve an effortless mastery over it in minimal time.
We even exchanged views on the relative merits of different software programmes and computers. At this meeting he told us he had a strong intuition that he would live to the age of So sure was I that his intuition was correct that when I heard he was seriously ill in Colombo this past July I had no doubt that he would recover. A second meeting took place almost exactly a year before his death. With a group of friends I had gone to Colombo on Ven. I had earlier heard that Ven.
Ananda Maitreya was staying at his temple at Maharagama and I wanted to visit him too. I had a special reason for this visit. Mingun Sayadaw of Myanmar. The work describes in detail the spiritual path of the bodhisattva, and since I knew Ven. Ananda Maitreya followed this ideal the thought occurred to me to present him with this pair of books.
Fortunately we were able to meet him and I could offer him the books, which he started perusing even before we concluded our meeting. When we left his room we found to our astonishment a line of about thirty people waiting to see him.
My third meeting with the Mahanayaka Thera took place only a month before his death.
Metta Meditation – Ven Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero
Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Theravada Buddhist website featuring free. Late Ven. Balangoda Anandamaitreya Mahanayaka Thero was one of the. Library - Catalogue Lending Books.
පූජ්ය ආනන්ද මෙමත්රිය හිමි රචිත ග්රන්ථ … ( Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maithriya Thero Books )
Kazihn A light rain had started to fall, and after several stopovers along the way we entered the rough dirt road that led to Udumulla. The background story to my meeting with the Mahanayaka Thera goes back to the year maitrya Unusually for a teacher, he publicly studied some other traditions, such as, and esoteric. He often liked to stop off here on his way back to his own temple — to maitrdya, enjoy a cup of tea, and chat with the incumbent monk, a close friend of his for many years. Would I make some blunder that would immediately convince the Mahathera that I was unsuited for ordination as a monk? He was appointed to the post of MaitreysFaculty of Buddhist Studies in Ananda Maitreya was staying at his temple at Maharagama and I wanted to visit him too.
Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero
Filed under Ven Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero - Ebooks , Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi Thero - Ebooks Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maitreya was one of the great personalities of Theravada Buddhism in the twentieth century, and it is testimony to his vast store of past merits that his life span stretched clear across this century from its beginning almost to its end. In the course of his exemplary life this outstanding Mahathera has held some of the most prestigious academic and ecclesiastical posts in the country. Yet such honor and fame hardly touched him inwardly: at heart he always remained a simple monk whose greatest joy was quiet study and meditation at his small village temple near the town of Balangoda. For me it is a personal honor to be able to name Ven.