(18 March 1919 – 31 August 2006)
Since his arrival in Malaya more than 54 years ago, Chief Reverend Dr K Sri Dhammananda has been tirelessly propagating the sublime teachings of our Lord Buddha Gotama for the well-being and happiness of the multitude. Like a beacon in the dark, he lit up the path for those who sought happiness. He himself literally lights up whenever he speaks the Dhamma. Despite being plagued by diabetes for many years, he relentlessly attended to his unending engagements to propagate the Dhamma and promote inter-religious harmony.
Not only was he a great Dhamma preacher but he also wrote some 70 booklets and books that have been translated into some 20 languages. The popularity of his works is due to his lucid style of explaining the profound Dhamma in simple language that is easily understood by the layperson.
His charismatic personality, sense of humour and discreet PR earned him widespread respect not only among Buddhists of all schools, but also among other religious leaders, politicians and the press. This high public esteem made him an unofficial but popular spokesman of Buddhism in Malaysia, so much so that many thought that he was the Sangharāja or Supreme Buddhist Patriarch of Malaysia, when in fact he was the Chief Priest of the Siyam Nikāya (the largest sect of the Sri Lankan Sangha) in Malaysia and Singapore.
Although his physical body is no longer with us, his life’s work will surely live on in our hearts and in the hearts of future generations. Such a great being deserves all the honour that we can give. Various types of puja have been carried out since Chief Reverend’s demise, particularly chanting and dana in his name. Let us be reminded that when our Lord Buddha was just about to pass away he remarked that the highest type of pūjā for him is practice according to the Dhamma. So, as the highest form of puja for our venerable Chief, let us endeavour to practise the Dhamma so that we can live
• generously among the stingy
• righteously among the unrighteous
• peacefully among the quarrelsome
• selflessly among the selfish
• with composure among the stressed out
• with loving-kindness among the brutal
• with forgiveness among the unforgiving
• with tolerance among the intolerant.