The Incumbents of Dakshinaramaya
- Ven. Dickwelle Sri Gunaratana Nayake Thera
- Ven. Dickwelle Sri Uttamawansa Nayake Thera
- Ven. Devinuwara Ariyawansa Nayake Thera
- Ven. Athuraliye Ananda Nayake Thera
Ven. Dickwelle Sri Uttamavansa Nayake Thera
(June 11, 1899 to October 19, 1970)
Ven. Dickwelle Sri Uttamavansa Nayake Thera was a monk of sterling qualities and well-versed in the Buddha Dhamma. He was born on June 11, 1899 at Kondeniya-Dickwella in the Matara District, his lay name was Don Eliyas Devaraja and his parents were Malvarage Don Hendrick Devaraja and Dona Sisiliyana Mutukumarane. He received his early education at Moggaliputtatissa Buddhist Mixed School – Dickwella. On November 22, 1912, he was ordained under the eminent Burmese monk, Chakkindabhidhage Maha Thera. He was a pupil of Sri Gunaratana Nayake Thera, incumbent of Asokaramaya, Kondeniya. He received his education at the Paramadhamma Chethiya Pirivena, Ratmalana and later in 1921 joined the Vidyodaya Pirivena, Colombo, where he studied Sinhala, Pali, Sanskrit and the Dhamma Vinaya.
In 1923 he received higher ordination (upasampada) under Ven. Sri Ariyavansapala Dhammaratana Nayake Thera at the age of 20. He had been associated with distinguished Scholars like Ven.Chakkindabhidhaje and Ven.Pelene Sri Vajiragnana Maha Nayake Thera. In 1955 he was conferred the title of “Dharmakeerthisiri Vachissara” and was made the Upa Pradhana Sangha Nayake by the Sangha Council of the Amarapura Siri Saddharmawansa Maha Nikaya. After the death of his teacher in 1965 he became the incumbent of the Dakshinaramaya, Galkissa and Asokaramaya, Kondeniya.
Sri Uttamavansa Nayake Thera was a humble, simple and unassuming monk who endeavoured to live up to the Buddha’s teachings. As a preacher he served well with acceptance and was in great demand in places like Maithree Hall Bambalapitiya, YMBA Dehiwela, Dhammaduta Saba – Galkissa. Further, he was the mainstay behind the Buddhist Girls School – Galkissa.
The greater part of his life was devoted to the welfare of the Dakshinaramaya. It was during his lifetime as Nayake Thera that the temple was equipped with the relic
chamber, the library, the preaching and dana salas, the viharage and the devalaya. During his guardianship, a Daham Pasala was started for the good of the young, in the name of his venerable teacher, Dickwelle Sri Gunaratana Nayake Thera.
Ven. Devinuwara Sri Ariyawansa Nayake Thera
(June 29, 1921 to January 23, 1992)
Ven. Devinuwara Sri Ariyawansa Nayake Thera was born on June 29, 1921 and his parents were Mr.& Mrs. D. A. Devaraja of Devinuwara. On August 22, 1934, he was ordained under the Ven. Dickwelle Sri Uttamavansa Nayake Thera. He received his education at the Paramadhamma Chethiya Pirivena, Ratmalana and later joined the Vidyodaya Pirivena, Colombo, where he studied Sinhala, Pali, Sanskrit, the Dhamma Vinaya and obtained the B.A. Degree. Also, he was trained by Ven. Narada Thera in Buddhist missionary work at Dharmaduta Vidyalaya, Dematagoda. On July 16, 1945 he received higher ordination (upasampada) under Ven. Dickwelle Sri Uttamavansa Nayake Thera at the age of 24.
Ven. Devinuwara Sri Ariyawansa Nayake Thera was a member of the editorial board of the “Tripitaka Dictionary” and was a patron of several Buddhist organizations. Further, he was in the tutorial staff of the Sri Vajiragnana Bikkhu Training Centre, Maharagama. In 1970 he became the incumbent of the Dakshinaramaya, Galkissa and Asokaramaya, Kondeniya upon the death of his teacher.
Sri Ariyawansa Nayake Thera with his sterling qualities, simple and unassuming manners was following the footsteps of his teacher and continued the good work. He devoted a greater part of his life to teaching of Dhamma Vinaya to his pupils and also to the development of Dakshinaramaya. It was during his stewardship as Nayake Thera that the temple was equipped with a new Dhamma Hall where the “Nalanada Pirivena” was commenced under his guidance. Also, he was instrumental in the construction of an unique Atavisi Muni Seya and the planting of a Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Sampling in the temple premises.
Considering Sri Ariyawansa Nayake Thera’s yeomen service to the propagation of Buddhism in the country, the Sangha Council of the Amarapura Siri Saddharmawansa Maha Nikaya conferred the honorary title of “Siri Sumana Wansalankara Vageeshwara Dharmakeerthi” and appointed him as the Adhikarana Sangha Nayake of the Western Province.