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 A Short Biography of Most Ven. Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayaka Thera
The architect of the DVF was the late Most Venerable Agga Maha Pandita, Vidya Visaradha, Maha Mahopadhyaya, Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayaka Thera (1913-2003), the Supreme prelate of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Nikaya.
He was also the Patron of the Dharmavijaya Foundation until his demise in 2003

Born on 21st June 1913 in the village of Madihe in the Matara District, the Most Venerable Mahanayaka Thera obtained his ordination as a novice at the age of 13. The Most Venerable Weragampitiye Sri Revata Maha Thera was his preceptor and the Most Venerable Pelene Vajiranana Mahanayaka Thera, the Viharadhipati of the Vajiraramaya in Bambalapitiya, his teacher. He obtained his higher ordination on 9 June 1933.

In 1941, the Most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Thera received the Vidya Visaradha degree of the University of Colombo on successfully completing the course of studies conducted under the direction of Prof. Gunapala Malalasekera. At the invitation of Venerable Thai Shu Maha Thera, he visited China in 1946, accompanied by Venerable Theras Soma and Kheminda of the Vajiraramaya, to introduce Theravada Buddhism to that country. This was his first dhammadhuta mission.

In 1954 he was appointed to the First Proof-Reading (Pathamaka-suddhi) Committee at the Sixth Buddhist Council (Chattha Sangayana) held in Myanmar. The same year he was appointed a member of the Committee to investigate into matters concerning Buddhist Affairs and also the Buddha Jayanti Tripitaka Mandalaya.

After the demise of the Most Venerable Pelene Vajiranana Mahanayaka Thera he was appointed the Mahanayaka Thera of the Amarapura Sri Dhammarakkhita Nikaya on 27th November 1955. He is recorded to be the youngest person who has been appointed to the eminent position of a Mahanayaka Thera. One of his significant contributions to the Sasana was the unification of 21 sects of the Amarapura Nikaya to form the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Nikaya of which he became the Chief Prelate in 1992.

The establishment of the Siri Vajiranana Dharmayatanaya in Maharagama on 21 April 1958 may be considered a milestone in the services of the Mahanayaka Thera to the Buddha Sasana. The services rendered to the community and the Sasana by this institution, which was started with the Venerable Ampitiye Sri Rahula Maha Thera, and the assistance of the Sasana Sevaka Society headed at the time by Senator D.L.F. Pedris, are most commendable. The prime task of this institution is the training of monks according to the Dhamma and the Vinaya and up to date ..... monks have undergone training.

In 1964, the Most Venerable Mahanayaka Thera went on a world study tour with Mr. Olcott Gunasekera, the then Joint Hony. Secretary of the Sasana Sevaka Society. It was sponsored by the Asia Foundation in appreciation of the Mahanayaka Thera's village and community development programme that was directed by him personally. The Washington Buddhist Vihara, the first Theravada Buddhist temple to be established in USA, the Thurunu Saviya in line with the 4H clubs in the USA, the Buddhist Information Centre were notable outcomes of this visit.

Another innovation by him was to introduce three separate ata-sil programmes on every full moon day at the Siri Vajiranana Dharmayatanaya, Maharagama to cater for the specific needs of children, youth and elders. The Siri Vajiranana Dhamma School, which has been honoured as the leading Dhamma School in the island and has a student population of over 6000 children, is another excellent outcome of his guidance and patronage.

To parallel the Sasana Sevaka Society, which was formed for Buddha sasana work, he pioneered the Dharmavijaya Foundation for community work and for a four fold development in society, namely economic, education, health and moral. From its inception the Venerable Mahanayaka Thera was its patron and he never failed to attend the meetings of the Board of Trustees held on every Thursday of a week. His wisdom of forming a specialised organisation was seen during times of man-made and natural calamities.

In the religious and literary field, he pioneered the Tripitaka Dharmakosaya (Encyclopaedia) and the Pali-Sinhala-English dictionary. Many fascicles have been published.

He always raised his voice fearlessly on national issues and on matters concerning the Buddha Sasana. His pen was his forte and he would have written over 1000 letters to the press on issues such as national integrity, racial harmony, unethical conversions, poverty alleviation, high prevalence of alcohol and tobacco use and the need for state intervention to curb them, population policy and birth control, Sangha unity, education, health and nutrition, development theory. He was patron of over 20 national organisations and his advise was always sought by the maha sangha, political leaders and the general public.

In recognition of his invaluable services, which spanned over seven decades of monastic life, the honorific title of Pravacana Visaradha was conferred on him by the Buddha Sravaka Dharma Pithaya, the honorary degrees of Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and by the Chulalankorn University, Thailand., the honorary degree of Sammana Pandita by the Sri Lanka Oriental Studies Society, the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by the Buddhist and Pali University and the honorific title of Aggamahapandita by the Myanmar Government