Ven. Dr. Kakkapalliye Anuruddha Nayaka Thera
Erudite Pali scholar and Buddhist educationist
Three years have elapsed from the time of passing away of internationally famed Sri Lankan scholarly Buddhist monk Venerable Kaakkapalliya Anuruddha Nayaka Thera.
He was ordained during his childhood, obtained his primary education from Maliyadewa Vidyarakshaka Pirivena in Kurunegala, subsequently pursued his higher education at Vidyalaynkara Maha Pirivena, Peliyagoda and earned his Rajakeeya Panditha degree.
He later entered the University of Peradeniya and continued his studies in English and earned a special degree in Pali with honours.
After completing his higher studies, Ven. Anuruddha Thera served as a lecturer at Vidyalankara Pirivena, becoming very popular amongst the student population.
In 1959, when the Vidyalankara Pirivena was elevated to university status, he was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Pali Studies.
After a few years of dedicated service, Ven Anuruddha won a scholarship to enter Lancaster University in England and indulged in a research on ‘Buddhist Social Philosophy’, an area hitherto none had attempted to expound, and obtained his Doctorate in Philosophy.
While he was serving as a senior lecturer at Vidyalankara University, Sri Lanka Buddhist and Pali University was established and Ven. Kaakkapalliye Sri Anuruddha Nayaka Thera was chosen as its first Vice Chancellor.
He organised this new Buddhist University very successfully and took every endeavour to establish it on a firm footing. This pioneering service alone is adequate to indicate the success he achieved in his life.
Venerable Kaakkapalliye Anuruddha Thera was a distinctive Bhikku personality, empowered with the knowledge needed for the era. Being knowledgeable does not mean one is an expert in traditional languages and religious philosophies.
Bhikkus are living in a complex era where they will not be able to serve the country and nation with these expertises alone. Humanity is living in an era where modern science, technological advancements and religious and philosophical forces have created a very impulsive and a challenging situation.
A Bhikku who fails to identify, understand and grasp these situations may not be able to perform meaningfully for the betterment of the Sasana.
A Bhikku who has gained awareness of these current trends will only be able to convey the message of the Buddha to the modern world. In view of this Venerable Kaakkapalliye Anuruddha Thera was a very knowledgeable and erudite Monk. He possessed a very wide knowledge in traditional languages and religious philosophies. He was an honoured product of university education.
It is not incorrect to say that Venerable Kaakkapalliye Anuruddha Thera was one of the fewest Bhikkus in Sri Lanka who possessed in-depth knowledge in oriental and occidental languages, science of methodologies and a balanced knowledge in inter subject issues.
Venerable Anuruddha Thera received his higher ordination under his mentor and the chief incumbent of Vidyalankara Pirivena Venerable Kiriwaththuduwe Pragnasara Nayaka Thera and became a part and parcel of Vidyalankara, upholding the traditional values of this great institute. Venerable Anuruddha possessed an exemplary personality.
Though not very tall, in the midst of gatherings, he appeared to be a person with an enormous physique. He had the natural gift of excellent oratory. He had a personality that pleased all around him. He had a sensitive heart when in a painful situation. He had the courage and confidence to express his views without fear or favour.
Venerable Anuruddha Thera can be described as the supreme product of the Vidyalankara tradition.
Considering the erudition and the service to the Sasana of Venerable Anuruddha Thera, the Maha Nayaka Thera of the Malwatta Maha Vihara and its Sangha Sabha, appointed him as the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Sath Korala Maha Disawa. The main objective of Venerable Anuruddha Thera was to produce a group of Bhikku and Bhikkuni well disciplined in Dhamma who could sustain the Sasana. He founded an institute called Sathi Buddha Shiksha Anyathanaya’ for this noble purpose.
Buddhist organisations in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore made generous donations for this Institute and they also established a library here.
Prior to fruition of most of these noble expectations and ambitions, Venerable Anuruddha Thera passed away. Inspite of this, we are pleased to state that the administrative body of the ‘Sathi Buddha Shiksha Ayathanaya’ has taken every step to continue the great services to the Sasana and the Dhamma doctrinal work without any interruption.
The third death commemoration ceremony of Venerable Anuruddha Nayaka Thera fell on November 5.
May he attain the eternal bliss of Nibbana.
Ven. Dr. Kumburugamuwe Vajira Nayaka Thera, Chancellor, University of Sabaragamuwa