[APPRECIATIONS - (10-03-2020)] | Daily News


[APPRECIATIONS - (10-03-2020)]


Buddhist scholar and competent meditation master

Venerable Katukurunde Nanananda, a Buddhist scholar, able and competent meditation master passed away on February 22, 2018 leaving a void in the Buddhist world which is hard to fill. The Ven. Monk was competent in Pali, Sinhala and English, his scholarly and profound sermons are available on the internet via the website accesstoinsight.com for the benefit of the seekers of truth in English.

The Ven. monk was born in 1940 and having graduated with a First Class Honours from the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya in 1962 and served as an assistant lecturer in Pali at the same university, till he decided to enter the order of Buddhist monks due to his deep understanding of the Dhamma.

He accordingly elevated the order of Buddhist monks in the forest tradition of Sri Lanka, and had become a pupil under the Ven. Matara Gnanarama, a renowned meditation master of the day.

When the Ven. Matara Nanarama went over to the Meethirigala Meditation Centre, the Ven Monk also followed him and continued to receive his instructions and guidance. After some time at the behest of his teacher, the Ven monk delivered a series of masterly sermons on the abstruse topic of Nibbana, which has been published in Sinhala as ‘Nivana Niveema’ and in the English as ‘Mind Stilled’.

After the Passing Away of the Ven. Matara Gnanarama, the Ven Monk went over to PahanKanuwa in Dewalegama, and had his kuti on a hill, from which he continued his preaching and education of the local community and those who visited him and sought his help and guidance along the Buddhist path.

His lucid and penetrative sermons delivered therein, giving the true Dhamma for the benefit of the entire Buddhist world, what has been misinterpreted by some other writers, have been put in the true and correct perspective. His sermons therein have been published as Pahan Kanuwa Desana.

A series of 20 sermons on the profound teachings of dependent arising or paticcasamuppada have been published as Paticca Samuppada Dhamma.

In the last decade the Ven Monk’s health was failing and he ultimately went over to Kirillawala Watta in Dammulla, Kavadana where he passed away. It is not possible to recount his vast and monumental services to the dissemination of the true Buddha word and for the benefit of Buddhists all over the world in a short article as this. But those who have associated with the Ven. Monk, those who have heard his sermons and read his writings will know the vastness of his services to the spread of the true Dhamma. Having received instructions and guidance from this learned and compassionate monk, it is sincerely hoped that this wise, simple and virtuous monk would realise the supreme goal as early as possible, unless he has already realised Nibbana by now.

Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu in grateful homage!

- J.C. Boange




A priest of God, and avid reader and a prolific writer

Excerpts of Homily given at the Funeral Mass for Fr. Augustine Fernando on January 31, 2020 at the Cathedral, Badulla by Bishop J. Winston S. Fernando, S.S.S., Bishop of Badulla.

"Fr. Augustine Fernando born on September 22, 1932 in Moratuwa was the eldest of seven children.

He was educated at St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa under De La Salle Brothers who offered him a teaching post on successful completion of the London Chamber of Commerce Examination to teach the same Commercial subjects.

"I do remember him as a teacher at St. Sebastian’s College in the early fifties. In 1955 terminating his teaching career, he responded to the call of God and joined the Sylvestro Benedictine Congregation and entered the Conventual Priory at Monte Fano, Ampitiya.

"He was sent to Rome for priestly studies and very successfully obtained with grade Bachelor in Philosophy Degree and Postgraduate Licentiate in Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome and later Bachelor of Theology Degree and Postgraduate Licentiate in Theology at St. Anselmo University, Rome – All studies were in Italian. There are priests here who were tutored by him in the Italian language before they were sent to Rome for studies. He also got a Diploma in Adult Education at the University for Foreigners, Perugia, Italy.

He was ordained a priest for the O.S.B. Congregation at Monte Cassino, Italy on June 25,1963 – 57 years a priest. He served in the Hatton Parish and thereafter as the Catholic Chaplain at the Peradeniya University Campus.

He joined Bishop Leo Nanayakkara, O.S.B. the first Bishop of Badulla and was incardinated to the newly carved out Diocese of Badulla in 1977. His successor Bishop Edmund J. Fernando, O.M.I. appointed Fr. Augustine as his Vicar General.

When I was appointed Bishop of the Badulla Diocese in 1997 I had the joy of appointing him again as the Vicar General until 2004. He also served as Parish Priest of the Cathedral, Badulla twice and at Welimada, Mahiyangana, Bandarawela, Bibile, Haldummulla, and as Rector of the Minor Seminary, Haputale. Even after his retirement he was appointed as the Diocesan Director of the Pastoral Centre the Institute of Integral Education, Catechetics and Bible Apostolate. He was the Editor of the Diocesan Bulletin “Uva Communion”.

"An avid reader and a prolific writer Fr. Augustine had been a frequent contributor to Daily News, Observer, Times of Ceylon, The Island, The Nation, The Catholic Messenger and Daily Mirror. His articles published in the newspapers often became the feature articles. He wrote over 100 articles on varied subjects ranging from Education, Catholic Spirituality, Priesthood, Religion, Honesty and Integrity, Inter-religious dialogue, Social issues, Politics, Good Governance, Good Citizenship, Agriculture and Development, Parliamentary System, Electoral System, State corruption, Extremism and Terrorism, Judiciary and Constitution of Sri Lanka.

"During his illness his physical strength began to weaken but he was mentally very alert and enjoyed tremendous memory power. He saw his writings as part of his priestly ministry. His fidelity to daily prayer and meditation, the celebration of the Eucharist, availability for Sacramental Confession and Counsel were more important to him than anything else. Pastoral charity and helping people in need endeared him to many people. In 1983 he even risked his life to the rebels who were terrorizing motorists on the streets, by driving a Religious nun who was shot and injured, all the way from Lunugala to Colombo for medical treatment. He was also bold and courageous to open the Badulla Cathedral to accommodate the victims and refugees of the 1983 ethnic disturbances.

"We now bid farewell to our brother Augustine who had been faithful to his priestly vocation for 87 years praying to God our merciful Father to grant him his due reward reserved for his faithful sons."

"May he Rest in Peace".



Luminary, humanist and philanthropist

The third death anniversary of Desamanya Al-Haj Dr. A.M. M. Sahabdeen fell on February 21 this year. His life and times need to be remembered for many reasons as a Muslim luminary and a humanist not restrained by petty racialist and religious prejudices. He reached out to the whole of Sri Lanka with his learning and liberal thoughts.

Dr. Sahabdeen was a retired Civil Servant, a University Lecturer, an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and an author of books on philosophy. He was arguably the last of a dying generation of brilliant Sri Lankan scholars educated in the British tradition who turned their talents to administrative tasks from a sense of duty and loyalty to their motherland.

He led an exemplary life having worked for and attaining material success but at the same time ever willing to help the people in need and giving inspiring advice to build other people’s lives.

I have known him very closely ever since I was an undergraduate at the Peradeniya University and our friendship lasted until his death. Having hailed from an ordinary Muslim family in the rural town of Kahatapitya in Gampola in 1926 and born to Abdul Majeed and Shaharwan Beebi, he was the eldest in the family of 10 siblings, who all rose to be people of significance in their own fields, especially in construction enterprise and business.

An old pupil of St. Andrews, Gampola and Kingswood College, Kandy, he graduated from the University of Ceylon in 1950 with an Honours degree in Philosophy. From 1953 until 1973 he had served in the Ceylon Civil Service besides lecturing part time in Philosophy at the Sri Jayawardenapura University from 1956 to 1959 where he also became a Head of the Department of Western Philosophy. He pursued his academic interests throughout his career.

Having obtained his Ph.D from Peradeniya University in 1985, he published his thesis under the title of ‘The Sufi Doctrine in Tamil Literature’ in 1986. He penned two more books thereafter including his favourite book ‘a circle of life’. After retiring from the Ceylon Civil Service in 1973 Dr. Sahabdeen continued to serve successive governments in various posts – in particular as Presidential Commissioner for Finance and Banking, and also as Presidential Commissioner for Industrialisation in 1990, both these key areas of national development. Having retired in 1973 after twenty years in Public Service, he went on to become a leading land developer when he setup his family business under the name of Majeed Sons.

Education and human resource development were his chief concerns. Many were the beneficiaries of his largesse and support to establish their career. His Foundation besides being a welfare providing institution, replicated and introduced the Magsaysay type Awards in Sri Lanka to honour the prominent contributors to human causes. Among the recipients of Sahabdeen awards which included a prize money were many outstanding Sri Lankans including Gamani Corea, Justice Christie Weeramantry, Jayantha Dhanapala, Godfrey Goonetillake and others. The Bangladeshi Nobel Laureate Professor Mohamed Yunus too was a recipient of the award in 1994.

As a Chinese proverb states, one must leave behind a tree, a book and a son in order to perpetuate his legacy. Dr. Sahabdeen left behind all three. More importantly, the Trust Foundation and financial endowments he established would continue to carry out his ideals and service to not only the present generation but also many generations to come.

For his services to his motherland and humanity, Dr. Sahabdeen had received many awards in his life time. For his distinguished services to Sri Lanka, Dr. Sahabdeen was awarded the highest civilian titular honour of Desamanya by the President in 1992.

Dr. Sahabdeen left behind his wife Halida, son Rizvan,daughter Samiya and grandchildren.

May he attain Jannatul Firadus,

- Dr. B.A. Hussainmiya



A wonderful person

By 2020 a decade has just flown past
With Manik being away from our midst

Hurriedly departing this world in prime of his life
Was what was unimaginable to all and his charming wife

Mangala, entire family and both mums are yet in shock
And denial that Manik has left them forever

Such a loving, affectionate guy, extremely wise
That Mangala is refusing to come to terms with his demise

That fateful day, the life of a wonderful person came to an end
Leaving behind Mangala, family and countless friends

Creating a void that will sadly never be filled
Specially Rikshan and Rukshila yearning for their lovely dad

Unaware a decade has gone without him by her side
She thinks that Manik has gone for a heavenly ride

During all these years of Manik being apart
Mangala fulfils all her duties with a golden heart

While alive Manik too had a heart of gold
Bringing all of them joy and comfort untold

His precious gift, Mangala and kids were his dedication
They were his pride and joy on every joyous occasion

He looked after them with loads of love in his heart
Enjoying every moment till he did depart

Towards work his commitment and passion
Will always be cherished, and it will need no mention

He was a remarkable man who excelled
In performance of duty in his selected field

He was a delight to work with – a quality rare
Was a fact that his colleagues were well aware

With foreign education service to nation in every sphere
Was reflected throughout his illustrious career

Rikshan and Rukshila proving to be talented as their proud dad
Are performing fine to prevent mum feeling sad

He accomplished many achievements in his short 54 years
They are what they are today because of his efforts

He selflessly devoted his attention to religious welfare
To church and reverend priests was well reflected in his daily care

This deeply moving tribute is to recall fond memories
And to live happily for Mangala forgetting all the worries

May heavenly Gods and Manik from their abodes above
Shower on them blessings, divine protection and love
May his soul rest in peace!

- Rupa Banduwardena

Melbourne, Australia



A cheerful personality

Leicster Fernando answered his call ‘when his role was called up yonder’ on October 11, 2019. He was born on 18.12.41 to Lionel James Fernando and Esmie Helen Stella. Educated at St. Sebastian's College, Moratuwa, he joined one of the leading multinational companies (CTC) in 1965 as Commercial Manager and retired after serving more than twenty years. Leicster married Amala, Dayanagani and the couple was blessed with two children, Chamith and Harsha.

He is survived by his children; Chamith, Harsha; daughters in law Marilyn, Dinushi and grandchildren Kiara, Jaydan, Diandra.

Leicster was a pious person, a man of faith who took an active part in all church activities, was warden in his church for many long years. Leicster was elected as Honorary Secretary for the Retired Managers Association of CTC and continued in this position for a long time, until his demise.

After retirement he spent many happy years and enjoying his time with his grandchildren. Leicster was an amazing man, always cheerful with a smile on his face and believed that he had a responsibility to serve all around him as a whole.

As colleagues, we extend our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to all the family members.

May his soul rest in peace and rise in glory.

- Chelvam Ariaratnam

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