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Stupa in memory Of Most Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maithriya Mahanayaka Thera

Photographs by Tissa Madawela

The plaque at the bottom of the small yet serene and pleasant Stupa built in the grounds of the Chittaviveka Buddhist Monastery in Chithurst, West Sussex, England, says "In memory of Most Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maithriya Mahanayaka Thero, Advisor and Virtuous Friend of Buddhist Monks".

Cittaviveka, popularly known as Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, is a Theravada Buddhist Monastery in the Thai Forest Tradition situated in West Sussex, England in the hamlet of Chithurst between Midhurst and Petersfield.

Ven. Ananda Maithriya Mahanayaka Thera has visited the monastery in various occasions and helped in teaching the Dhamma to many resident and visiting monks and nuns at the temple.

On the 18th of July, 2013, a formal religious ceremony was held at the monastery on the occasion of the placing of the Relics, the pinnacle and the opening of a Stupa build to commemorate the services rendered by the late Balangoda Mahanayaka Thera to the Monastery.

Maha Sangha from various Sri Lankan Buddhist temple in the UK as well as monks and nuns from Amaravati and Chithust monasteries and a large gathering of lay devotees attended the programme.

Head of the London Buddhist Vihara the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera was the chief guest.

The Relics Casket including bronze plates with engraved Suttas was placed in the Relic Chamber by the head of Chittaviveka monastery Ven. Ajan Sucitto Thera.

Ven. Sucitto said that Ven. Ananda Maithriya Nayaka Thero was a very valuable teacher and regularly visited the monastery to assist in teaching the Dhamma.

He said that the Stupa commemorates the Sima, ordination precinct, of the monastery established by Most Venerable Ananda Maithriya Maha Nayaka Thera in July 1981. Ordination of Monks and Nuns at the monastery took place at the Sima Malaka from 1981 till 2012. A new Sima was established in the newly built Dhamma Hall in 2012 and it was decided to commemorate the first established Sima in Britain and Ven. Ananda Maithriya with a stupa at the original location.

Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka thera in his Anusasana thanked Ven Sucitto and the Chittaviveka monastery for building such a beautiful memorial to venerate the late Balangoda Mahanayaka Thera. He said “ in the history of the Buddha Sasana there are two vocations which have been developed by the Maha Sangha a very long time ago. One is Gantha Dhura or devoting one’s life to the study of Dhamma Books. The second is Vipassana Dhura or devotion to the path of meditation. The life of Ven. Ananda Maithriya Maha Nayaka Thera was exceptional among all the erudite Buddhist monks as he was one of a few rare persons who successfully combined both of these, which he managed to develop to a very high level. This is unique because many of the others specialise only one of these vocations.

Ven. Anada Maithriya Mahanayaka Thera will be remembered and revered by many around the world for these qualities and the supreme quality of Meththa, loving kindness, and good will he has shown through out his life.

At the invitation of the Chittaviveka Monastery, Don Sirimal Rajapaksha, a well-known artist in London, build the Ananda Maithriya Stupa in the style of the Maha Thupa in Anuradhapura Sri Lanka.

A booklet written and published at the request by the London Buddhist Vihara by Dr.Upul Wickramasekara explaining the valuable contribution Ven. Mahanayathera has made to the propagation of the Dhamma was distributed free of charge to every one who attended the Pinkama.

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