K. Sri Dhammananda

Centenary Celebration
He touched many lives with his outstanding Dhammaduta work spanning over 50 years in Malaysia

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“K. Sri Dhammananda – His Legacy Lives On” Exhibition 2018

Early Years - A Short Introduction

 

Venerable Dhammananda was born on March 18, 1919, to the family of K. G. Gamage in the village of Kirinde, Matara in southern Sri Lanka. He was given the English name of Martin and was the eldest in a family of three brothers and three sisters. 

Influenced by both a devout Buddhist mother and uncle, who was the Chief Monk of the local temple, he was ordained at the age of twelve and was given the name “Dhammananda” which means “one who experiences happiness through the Dhamma.”

In 1951, the Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardhana Society of Kuala Lumpur requested for a monk to take up residence in its temple in Brickfields to administer the religious needs of the Buddhist community in Malaya.

Venerable Dhammananda was selected from among the 400 monks at the Pirivena for the mission to Malaya, for which he readily accepted with great eagerness, to serve the Buddhist Sasana in a foreign land.

Venerable Dhammananda’s contribution to the growth of Buddhism and community development in modern Malaysia is without a doubt a historical fact.

A Life of Service & Contribution

“The essence of true charity is to give something without expecting anything in return.”

Stature As Buddhist Leader

In 1965, Venerable Dhammananda had been conferred the title “Chief Sangha Nayaka Thera” of Malaysia by the Siam Maha Nikaya, Malwatta Chapter of Sri Lanka. Throughout his life, Venerable Dhammananda strived tirelessly to bring Buddhism to Malaysians. Today, in Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka, Venerable Dhammananda is hailed for his contributions towards the Buddhist community.

Propagation Efforts

Venerable Dhammananda recognized the importance of the Sanghas’ roles in the growth and spread of Buddhism. Therefore, in December 1976 he initiated the first novitiate program for English-educated Buddhists at the Buddhist Maha Vihara, commonly known as the Brickfields Buddhist Temple.

Hymns, Humor and HiStories

Venerable Dhammananda conveyed simple practical wisdom through stories and humor, which made him a great storyteller as well as an inspirational spiritual leader. He made it easier for his audience to relate to and develop an understanding and respect for the Buddhist philosophy of living.

Intra & Inter-Religious Harmony

Venerable Dhammananda strongly subscribed to inter-faith activities. He had always preached the need to respect all religions. In his missionary activities he never condemned any religion; instead, he had been known to ask his devotees to appreciate and respect the teachings of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism.

Publication

Over the last four decades, Venerable Dhammananda had written profusely and his works have touched not only Buddhists but also non-Buddhists, both within Malaysia and in different parts of the world. Today he has to his credit no less than 47 important Buddhist books ranging from simple pamphlets to full-scale texts exceeding 700 pages.

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