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Ven. Rekadahena Chandrajothi Nayaka Thera

An erudite scholar with deep sense of devotion to the Sasana: Sunday Observer May 27 2007

Ven. Rekadahena Chandrajothi Nayaka thera who hails from Southern Sri Lanka was born on January 24, 1920.

Entered the Sasana on November 9, 1929, as a novice, he had his education as Vidyaloka Maha Perivena, Galle and later joined Gnanodaya Vidyalaya, Kalutara and Carey College, Colombo for English education.

He received the higher ordination in 1941 and was subsequently appointed head of Sasthrodaya Pirivena, Sandalankawa.

The Venerable Thera left for India in 1956 for higher education and joined the Nalanda University where he obtained his B.A. degree in English medium. He had his diploma in Hindi Language in addition to his proficiency in various other languages.

Having joined the Department of Education as a teacher, the venerable Thera tought at a number of leading government schools such as Central College, Wanduramba, Maha Vidyalaya, Ampegama and Ananda College, Colombo.

He also undertook the propagation of dhamma abroad and later left for England, and Europe.

His theme was The words of the Buddha. His visit to Singapore and Malaysia was a landmark in his career.

His magnum opus, Buddhism, history and civilisation was launched in 1976 only to be circulated in 60 countries later.

To bestow merit on his mother and his teachers the venerable thera constructed a memorial and named it "Dharmamalaya", and consecrated it to the Sangha. He was conferred the title, 'Vimalakeerthi Sri Piyadarshi' in 1987 and appointed Sangha Nayaka, Galle district.

The other contribution to Sasana was the Manampita International Buddhist Cultural Institute, established by him in 1979.

In paying homage to his beloved mother's native village, he put up 75 houses, a Vihara and a vocational training centre at Vathuruwila, Kahaduwa in the South.

A Buddhist shrine and a pre-school building was also constructed at "Piyagama".

The Buddhist Consise Dictionary which he published in 1998 remains a constant reminder of his erudite knowledge.

Having dedicated his entire life to the progress of the Sasana and the welfare of the people, Ven. Rekadahena Sri Chandrajothi Nayaka Thera passed away on May 23, 2007 at the age of 88.

This script is a homage to the erudite scholar by two of his humble pupils.

Imtiaz Bakeer Markar, Sarath Kongahage.