13TH COMMERATIVE CEREMONY OF LATE VENERABLE GANGODAWILA SOMA THERA
Photographs by Tissa Madawela
13TH COMMEMORATIVE CEREMONY OF LATE VENERABLE GANGODAWILA SOMA THERA
The annual commemorative ceremony was held in London, in memory of late Venerable Gangodawila Soma Thera by the Issipathana Old Boys Association UK branch. Ven. Soma Thera was a past pupil of Issipathana College, Colombo and in 1974 ordained as a novice under the guidance of Most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Maha Nayake Thera and Venerable Ampitiye Rahula Maha Thera.
Having obtained higher ordination in 1976, he took a keen interest in mediation and spreading of the Dhamma throughout the world. His greatest attribution was his ability engage with all communities in Sri Lanka; Sinhala, Muslim and Tamils. In a fast changing modern world he wanted to mould the younger generation to live according to the Dhamma teachings. Traveling throughout the country, he supported and helped needy people in various ways and encouraged other sangha to follow his vision. During these travels he noticed alcohol was affecting the society and strongly campaigned to open the eyes of the nation, especially the younger generation, showing the dangers of alcohol. He also did not appreciate the worship of Hindu gods by the Buddhists and wanted to root out this practise and strongly criticised having Devala at temple premises.
He visited London on two occasions. He also fulfilled part of his vision by opening two temples, one in Victoria and the other in Melbourne, Australia. Remembering his contribution to the nation, this year the Isipathana OBA UK Branch decided to hold a series of events and invited Venerable Padanangala Dhammadeva Thera from Seevali Asapuwa, Athurugriya Sri Lanka to participate. The events commenced with a Dhammadesana (sermon) at Sri Saddatissa International Buddhist Centre on 9th December followed by Buddha Puja and Dhammadesana on 10th December 2016 at London Buddhist Vihara. During his sermon, Venerable Dhammadeva thanked for all those who participated and remembering the legacy created by Venerable Gangodawila Soma Thera during a short period. The final ceremony was concluded with a Dana, Pan Wadeema and Atapirikara Puja to the Venerable Maha Sangha at London Buddhist Vihara on 11th December 2016.
The OBA thanked, all those who helped and participated and wished Venerable Padanangala Dhammadeva Thera good health and strength to continue his Dhamma mission.