Ven. Maharagama Dhammasiri Thera – a lifelong service to the Buddha Sasana | Sunday Observer

Ven. Maharagama Dhammasiri Thera – a lifelong service to the Buddha Sasana

27 August, 2023

In 1949, on August 25, Maharagama, Habaragamu Ralalage Bastian Peiris and Habarakada Ralalage Joselig Peiris became parents with the birth of their son Gunadasa Pieris.

Gunadasa had his primary education in Parama Winyartha Buddhist School initially and he along with his mother attended Dharma School in the Maharagama Parama Vajiragnana Institute.

Then the boy expressed his wish to be a bhikkhu. Upon his insistence, his mother consented and he was ordained as per the traditionally conducted rituals under the tutelage of Most Ven. Madihe Panyaseeha Nayake Thera and Ven. Ampitiye Rahula Nayake Theras.

He was named Ven. Maharagama Dhammasiri Thera under the mentorship of these two Ven. Theras. He swiftly learned all skills and subjects taught in the Monastery such as Pali, Sanskrit and Thripitakaya as well as Mathematics and English Language where he became the highest scorer in the English language competition held in 1962.

In 1971, Ven. Dhammasiri Thera obtained higher ordination or Upasampada following an impressive academic performance. Subsequently Ven. Dhammasiri Thera became a Pali lecturer at the Maharagama Dharmayathana. He was also a visiting lecturer at the Maharagama Teacher Training Institute.

Ven. Dhammasiri Thera was asked to establish the Washington Buddhist Temple in Washington, USA by Ven. Madihe Pannaseeha Thera. This was the first Theravada Buddhist Centre ever established in the USA and Ven. Dhammasiri Thera holds the position of its Chief Incumbent to date.

Ven. Dhammasiri Thera was also later appointed as the Chief Incumbent of the Maharagama Parama Wajiragnana Institute.

As a symbol of gratitude towards the mentorship of Ven. Madihe Pannaseeha Thera, Ven. Dhammasiri Thera founded a Monastery in Maryland, USA converting an old club house to a well facilitated monastery.

Later he was felicitated and granted the honorary title of Sri Dharmarakshitha Wanshadiwaja for rendering a great service towards Buddhism along with the new position of Chief Sangha Nayaka of USA.

Ven. Dhammasiri Thera has been serving the country and world in spreading the message of Buddha for more than six decades.

Ven. Dhammasiri Thera is respected by the Buddhist fraternity both lay and clergy for his unprecedented service to the Buddha Sasana. We wish the Ven. Thera a long life and good health on his birthday. (Tharanga Wickramadara, Head of Religious Programs, Hiru TV).