Ven. Dr. Mirisse Dhammika Thero (Ph. D)
Hailing from the southern village of Mirrisse and having been ordained as a novice monk at the tender age of nine, Venerable Dr. Mirrisse Dhammika Thero attained higher ordination and subsequently gained his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Simon Fraser University, British Colombia in Canada. He is currently the chief incumbent of the Siri Sudassanarama Senasuna, a much patronized place of worship by Buddhists, not only from Battaramulla but from several parts of the City of Colombo and beyond.
It is indeed amazing how this serene, calm and sober environment encompassing the Senasuna (temple) has gained so much prominence and patronage of devotees of all social strata. Ven. Dhammika Thero makes little distinction between those who visit him and he rarely fails to meet and speak to all those who frequent the temple irrespective of their social standing. He will always have a pleasing smile and a kind word for every one, no matter how heavy his schedule is, for the day.
The Venerable Thero has the ability to communicate the Dhamma at all levels giving rise to his capability to attract those who are young as well as mature which has earned him the love and affection of little children attending dhamma schools to the mature and the very elderly following monthly Dhamma meetings and meditation sessions.
lf one was ever to visit the Temple, Venerable Dhammika Thero will be seen most often chanting Seth Pirith (Buddhist Stanzas) to those who take refuge in the dhamma or speaking to strings of people who come to him for advice. lf not any, he will be busy sweeping and cleaning the temple premises. As a scholar and having published two main publications on mindfulness and loving kindness and numerous short booklets based on discourses of the Buddha, he devotes much time writing and compiling articles and other Buddhist scripts during whatever time is left of his daily routine.
Delivering of regular dhamma sermons and discussions in different parts of the country and on national television and radio makes Ven. Dhammika Thero’s calendar of events filled beyond one’s imagination. It is often difficult to fathom how the venerable monk would cope with what is at hand though he has never been heard to have failed to fulfill them all.
The venerable Thero remains convinced that the society can always be directed in the right path, the path as shown by the Buddha and hence has taken upon himself a Herculean task of spreading the word of the Buddha. He believes in Dhamma education for children and hence personally administers two dhamma schools, one in Sinhala and the other in English. Both offer weekly classes from grades 1 to 10 and serves over a 1000 children from all walks of life. The uniqueness in the school being that they are not merely academic but with practical applications of the Dhamma. Children are encouraged to observe higher precepts at least annually and are made to participate in Mal Peraheras’ and events of special offerings of flowers to the Buddha to inculcate and develop the Faith faculty in them. A move taken in the right direction to the great benefit of children and parents alike, to raise a just and disciplined society for the future.
A monthly Tharuna Dhaham Hamuwa, a series of Dhamma discussions targeting the youth and young adults which aims at nourishing them in the Dhamma with a view of ensuring that they develop themselves spiritually and to discourage them from unwholesome deeds.
Both the young and the elderly get the opportunity to attend his weekly sessions on Buddha’s Discourses followed by a period of meditation which no doubt, have made them all better householders. Steady and continuous increase in numbers of those attending weekly Meditation classes which run into the hundreds is indeed evidence of the popularity and the growing interest that the venerable monk has been able to generate among the people to walk the path of those who have conquered. An year round mass scale monthly Sil program on Poya (Full Moon) days is one which is attended by the venerable Thero himself to make it more purposeful for those who attend’
Ven. Dhammika Thero has established a special evening Mal and Gilanpasa Pooja (offerings of flowers, medicinal herbs and drink etc.) on a daily basis is coupled additionally with the chanting of Seth Pirith and short discourses during the rains retreat. The period of the retreat is adorned with weekly Dhamma Sermons by visiting learned monks which itself is a period of great learning to the lay devotee.
The effort made by the Ven. Dhammika Thero to spread the word of the Dhamma is not confined to the householder alone but also to the Buddhist dispensation. The many novice monks resident within the Temple, are personally nurtured and guided by him to ensure they follow strict discipline according to the Buddhist doctrine. ln this, he believes in promoting a group of Buddhist monks who would set an example to the rest not merely by their knowledge of the Dhamma but also by their strict adherence to the teachings of the Buddha.
To add to this mammoth contribution to society by Venerable Dhammika Thero , his projects to offer food, provisions and clothing to the poor, scholarships for education to the deserving, robes, medicines and amenities to monks in need from remote villages could hardly be ignored.
The calm and collected figure of venerable Dhammika thero who dwells in a city temple abode and follows the discipline and the routine of monastic life could rarely be matched and hardly be described in words.
An erudite monk, Ven. Dr. Mirrisse Dhammika Thero is undisputedly a gift to society. if only one ponders to pause and seek his guidance there’s little doubt of one’s own development towards overcoming this cycle of Births and Deaths which is what is strived for by all Buddhists.
May this monk be protected by the Deva’s and live a long, healthy and productive life to serve in the best interest of our society, our Country and the World at large. May all his efforts and actions to illuminate this magnificent dispensation of the Blessed One, contribute in full in his bid to attain eternal bliss of Nirvana.