Late Tripitakacarya Sri Saddharma Vagisvara Upaddhyaya M M Mahaweera Maha Nayaka Thero was born on the 16th January 1913 in Maliduwa village in Matara district and was given the name of Upasena de Silva Liyana Gunawardhana. After finishing his primary school education at 12 years of age, he was ordained as a samanera (junior monk) under Venerable Paragoda Sumanasara and was given an ordination name of Maliduwa Mahanama Mahaweera, which, in Pali, means: Great Name, Great Hero.
He did his religious studies under Venerable Paragoda until 1926. In 1929, our founder sailed to the Federation of Malaya. With Brickfields Temple as his base, he set about propagating the Dhamma among the lay people in Malaya and Singapore. He had intended to travel to Thailand for his meditation training but this was not to be as there was a growing demand for his religious services in Singapore. He finally managed to travel to Thailand at the age of 21 for his upasampada (higher ordination).
Our founder set up his first temple in 1934 at Spottiswoode Park Road and later shifted to Outram Road. With the expanding Sri Lankan expatriate’s population in Singapore, our founder was instrumental in the founding and construction of the Sri Lankaramaya Temple.
In 1960, our founder built Mangala Vihara on a piece of land donated by the late Mdm. Chew Quee Neo in Jalan Eunos. With our late founder’s foresight on the benefits on education, he set up the Sunday Dhamma School in 1940. The SDS used the syllabi set by the Young Men’s Buddhist Association (YMBA) of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Our late founder was himself the Dhamma School’s first teacher. In 1982, a 3-storey annex was built to cater the rapidly expanding Sunday Dhamma School.
After re-building the Main Shrine Hall, our founder realized his dhammaduta dream of setting up the Buddhist and Pali College in 1993 with Venerable Dr. P Gnanarama its principal.
In the last few years of his great life, our founder, with his failing health, needed an assistant monk to assist him with the religious duties. Our founder celebrated his last Vesak day in Mangala Vihara before passing away on the 12 June 2002.
May he attain his noble aspiration of Nibbana!
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu
Biography Of Late Bhante
Ven. K. Sri Pemaloka, who succeeded late Bhante as the Resident Monk of Mangala Vihara in June, 2002, has put together a biography of Bhante. To do so, he has to recall his conversations with Bhante since he first arrived in Singapore, in November, 1962 and discovering that they came from the same area in Sri Lanka and were somehow related on their fathers’ sides. We are also fortunate to have the history of Mangala Vihara recorded from 1965 in our quarterly magazine, the Echo of Dhamma, which should be credited to the foresight of our late Bhante. This biography commemorates the first death anniversary of our beloved Bhante on 12th June, 2003.
Lim Ah Swan,