He rendered a yeoman service to the public | Daily News
TRIBUTE : Ven. Meegasthanne Chandasiri Thera

He rendered a yeoman service to the public

This article is written with regard to the 70th birthday of Ven. Meegahathenne Chandasiri Thera that fell on February 22.

As Chief Incumbent of the Mahindarama in Ethul Kotte, Chief of Sri Jayawardenepura Sri Kalyani Samagi Dharma Maha Sanga Sabha and Chief Secretary of Sri Lanka Nippon Educational and Cultural Centre, Ven. Meegahathenne Chandasiri Thera is an eminent Bhikkhu who has shown great leadership and rendered countless social services.

Born on February 22, 1951, in Meegahathenna, Kalutara, the Bhikkhu had his initial education at the Meegahathenna Primary School. Being much devoted to Buddhism from childhood, he was ordained as a monk on February 15, 1963. Subsequently, the thera mastered Dhamma, discipline, and languages at the Meegahathenna Vidyarama Pririvena.

The thera rendered a yeoman service not only as a Dhamma teacher, but also as the Deputy Principal of the Ananda Sasthralaya in Kotte. The most memorable of his undertakings is the establishment of the Sri Lankan Nippon Educational and Cultural Centre. For the past 35 years, Ven. Chandasiri Thera has provided an unstinted service as the centre’s Chief Secretary.

Around 14,000 students in 118 Divisional Centres have been awarded scholarships under the patronage of Japanese Foster Parent scholarships programme that the thera initiated with Japanese aid. Moreover, 14 preschools have been constructed with the patronage of Japanese donors. Ven. Chandasiri Thera’s other activities include the establishment of a Japanese Language School for youth looking for foreign employment, assisting special needs children in Kotte, conducting student personality development programmes, and providing urgent accident benefits to students.

The Bhikkhu also set up a temple and biodiversity garden in Diyawanna. He was able to get contributions from past scholars of the Nippon Centre, as well as from Sri Lankan expatriates. Ven. Chandasiri Thera is the one and only Sri Lankan who got the rare opportunity to address the Japanse Members of Parliament at the Silver Hall, regarding ‘Peace and Development in Sri Lanka’.

The annual commemoration of all late Sri Lankan and Japanese donors could not be held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Ven. Meegahathenne Chandasiri Thera and the Nippon Centre decided to donate pharmaceuticals worth Rs.1 million to the Maharagama Apeksha Hospital.

Ven. Gawaragiriya
Pemarathana Thera
Senior Dhamma Instructor,
Royal College, Colombo 07