Brief introduction of Bhante B. Sri Saranankara Nayaka Maha Thero
Chief Adhikarana Sangha Nayaka of Malaysia
Chief Judiciary Monk of Malaysia , Spiritual Advisor to Maha Karuna Buddhist Society & Chairman of Yayasan Maha Karuna
“In the beginning, compassion is like the seed without which we cannot have any fruit; in the middle, compassion is like water to nourish the seed we have planted; in the end, compassion is like the warmth of the sun that brings the fruit to ripening.” – Gautama Buddha
A birth of a virtuous child, of whose life destined to be full of loving kindness and compassion to the world in all his thought, speech and action, happened to be born to the family of Mr. & Mrs. Mudiyanselage in the village of Bootawatta, Kandy, Sri Lanka on 28th October 1953. No one knew that one day he would be a person with a big heart, filled with the noblest qualities of humanity.
In 1965, he entered monastic life as a novice Buddhist monk at the age of 12 under the mentorship of Ven. Sumanjothi Maha Thera; and it was this “suited station” that nurtured his life to have an altruistic spiritual journey to heal the hearts of fellow humans out of compassion. Then, he underwent monastic education for the next 11 years until he is a fully ordained Bhikkhu, receiving the Higher Ordination at the age of 22 in 1976 at Malwatta Chapter in Kandy. He later obtained “Diploma in Buddhist Philosophy” from the Vidyodaya Buddhist Institution, which is the most renowned institution for the Buddhist and oriental studies in Sri Lanka. Following that, 8 years of his life were dedicated for the benefit of people of Sri Lanka.
As a grate son of the Buddha and a real propagator of his master’s noble discovery, he decided to follow a new direction of his spiritual journey, leaving his motherland and stepping into his destined home – Malaysia at the age of 30 in 1984. Upon his arrival at the Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple in Sentul, he was invited by Sri Jayanti Association to take over the resident monk’s post, where he oversaw the transformation of the temple from an old and ruined look to an attractive Buddhist temple inspired by Sri Lankan traditional architecture. The decision took by him to reside in Sentul temple not only change his life, but also the lives of thousands of people who arrived at this temple seeking for the inner peace, serenity and solace in Buddha Dhamma.
From the beginning, he has a positive outlook about his role in serving the people of Malaysia both spiritually and charitably. Thereupon, to serve the needy in Malaysia further, he started the free clinic, free tuition classes and the Metta home through Sri Jayanti Welfare Organization (SJWO), which was an organization he formed in 1991. To ensure that his spiritual and welfare program could benefit a larger section of the Malaysian community, he later initiated “Maha Karuna Buddhist Society (MKBS)” in the year 2001. Since the day of its establishment, MKBS has been playing a leading role in helping people in Malaysia and overseas, covering almost all aspects of the charity service under his patronage. In 2003, he established the Maha Karuna Compassionate Home, which is a senior citizen home. Furthermore, the Maha Karuna Buddhist Centre was opened in 2004 to serve the community in Subang 2 and its vicinity. On 5th May 2006, he formed the Yayasan Maha Karuna to serve the needy in Malaysia irrespective of ethnic and religion. The charitable activities of Yayasan Maha Karuna are:
- EDUCare (Annual programme established in 2001)
- Maha Karuna Mobile Free Clinic
- Aid to Senior Citizens & People with Disabilities
- Medical Aid to Needy Patients
- Financial Aids to the Needy.
Through Siri Jayanti Association, MKBS and SJWO, he has also contributed to victims of natural disasters (tsunami, earthquakes, et cetera) in Sri Lanka, Haiti, Nepal, China, Indonesia, Pakistan and others by providing essential relief items and undertaking reconstruction projects for schools, hospitals, temples, community halls, houses and water project initiatives. Moreover, numerous international welfare programs are also being organised in those nations under his guidance. Other great initiatives incepted by him to serve the Buddhist community in Malaysia include:
- Monks Education Funds
- Young Buddhist Novitiate Training Program (For teenagers)
- Adult Novitiate Training Program
- Provision of assistance in the formation of numerous Buddhist organisations
- Become spiritual advisor to many Buddhist societies in Malaysia
- Provision of consolations, advices, blessings to devotees in need
- Became the joint-organising chairperson of Buddhist Culture and Arts Festival (BCAF 2007) – first ever grand Buddhist event in Malaysian history participated by 50 Buddhist societies in Malaysia representing Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana
Hence, considering of his selfless devotion to the development of the Buddha Sasana and his immense contribution to the international community, he was honoured by the Supreme Council of the Maha Sangha of Malwattha Chapter, Kandy, Sri Lanka by conferring the title “Sangha Keerthi Sri” upon him in 2017. Also, he was appointed as the Chief High Priest (Judiciary) of Malaysia.
It is needless to say that one would have to write hundreds of volumes about his grate sense of compassion and great commitments that he has been portraying throughout his 50 years of his monkhood, which consolidates his position as an inspirational icon and a role model for the Sangha members, Buddhist community and Dhamma friends in Malaysia to be kind, generous and compassionate towards the fellow mankind, regardless of their social, cultural, religious, racial and ethnic diversities.