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Photographs by Tissa Madawela

The sudden demise of Dr Ananda  Weihene Palihe Guruge, came as a shock to Aggamahapandita  Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi,  MBE, Head of the Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre, as well as the devotees there,  as he had enthralled them with his learned talks on Buddhism and Buddhist academics during his frequent visits there.

Dr Ananda Guruge was a great admirer of Ven. Dr Hammalawe Saddhatissa Nayaka Thero as well as Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Thero and he had constantly assisted in the work of the SSIBC and its development , even establishing the link with the World Buddhist  University in Bangkok, of which he was Vice Chancellor.

Therefore  Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Sangha Nayaka Thero arranged a ceremony to transfer merits to Dr Guruge on Saturday 9thAugust 2014, with his  family members  Milton, Bennet and Patthma Hettigoda and Mr and Mrs Weerasena  Gunasekera participating. Among the friends and acquaintances of Dr Guruge who attended, were Dr Subadhra Siriwardena who was a contemporary of his  at the University of Ceylon, Dr (Mrs) Kokila  Waidyaratne- Minister Education at The Sri Lanka High Commission, Mr and Mrs Chandra Monerawela, Dr Senevi  Athurupana,  Mr Lionel Wijeyratne, Mr Nissanka Athukorale and Mr Yasantha Monerawela and Miss Chumani monerawela.

Dr HanduPelpola Mahinda Nayaka Thero, in his eulogy said Sri Lanka had lost one of  its most famous sons, an Internationally recognised academic, a Buddhist Scholar of distinction, an orator of repute and one very much loved and admired by those who  met or heard him. He was a student of Dharmaraja College, a well known  Buddhist School in Kandy and a graduate of the University of Ceylon where he excelled and  obtained a first class degree in Sanskrit, winning a Scholarship to the university of London. After joining the Ceylon Civil Service  he had a distinguished career  as Government Agent and Senior Assistant  Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. He was responsible for coordinating the Buddha Jayanthi Celebrations in 1955. In recognition of his Buddhist and Cultural activities he was given a senior position in UNESCO and was its representative in Bangkok in the 1970’s.The government of Sri Lanka required his services and he was appointed  as Ambassador to  France and  UNESCO, and later Ambassador to Washington.          

One of the highlights of his academic  career was his translation of the Chinese Samantha Pasadika Vinaya commentary  into English after studying Chinese. He was also responsible for the Mahavamsa Tikawa in English and Deepawnsa Teekawa. He was a prolific writer on Buddhism and Sri Lankan history.

He spent his retirement at the University  of the West in California as Director if Buddhist and Hindu  Studies , attending International Conferences and  giving talks. As Los Angeles where  he lived  had a rough neighbourhood, he established a n organisation to eradicate violence and crime , a crime watch group, in cooperation  with the local police service and was popular and respected figure. He  lived a full life, to be emulated.   


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Photographs by Tissa Madawela

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