Venerable Ahangama Rathanasiri Mahathera
was born at Ahangama in the District of Matara in Sri Lanka,
on April 9 1950. He had his primary education at Dharmarama
Vidyalaya and Rohana Maha Vidyalaya, both at Ahangama. At the
age of 13, he was ordained a sāmanera (novice) on October 26
1963 at Jayasumanarama Vihara, Ahangama, under the tutelage of
Most Venerable Pathegama Saddhatissa Mahathera and Most
Venerable Godauda Sorata Mahathera. He received Upasampadā
(Higher Ordination) at higher ordination ceremony presided
over by His Holiness Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayaka Thera,
Supreme Patriarch of Amarapura Dharmarakshita Nikaya
(Fraternity) of Sri Lanka, which took place at Gangarama
Vihara, Pelena, on June 30 1971.
From 1963 to 1968, he was a student at
Dharmodaya Pirivena (Buddhist Monastic College), Ahangama,
where he received his primary monastic education. Venerable
Rathanasiri then got admitted to a prestigious seat of
Buddhist learning in Sri Lanka, the Vidyodaya Pirivena,
Colombo, where he studied from 1969 to 1973 and graduated with
the Certificate in Final Examination, offering Sinhala, Pali,
Sanskrit, Buddhism and Culture, History, and Logic and Theory.
It was in 1973 that he got his admission to Pirivena Teachers’
Training College, Rathmalana, where he earned his Diploma in
Parivenacarya upon successful completion of the studies and
submission of his thesis on “Buddhist Education Methods.”
In 1982, he entered the University of Kelaniya and obtained
his B.A. (Honours) degree in Buddhist Philosophy and German.
During the period 1981-1982 he studied English at Aquinas College in Colombo and
graduated with a Diploma. Continually enthusiastic about further knowledge in
Oriental Studies, he continued monastic education and obtained
the highest qualification in the filed in 1983: the Pundit Degree.
From 1983 to 1985, he studied at the Postgraduate
Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies of the University of
Kelaniya and obtained his M.A.
Venerable Rathanasiri Thera was Principal
of Sri Naga Pirivena, Weliweriya, Gampaha, from 1981 to 1985,
and Principal of Nalanda Pirivena (Monastic Training
Institute), Mount Lavinia, from 1985 to 1989.
In October 1989, he left for Canada, where
he assumed duties of Buddhist spiritual and academic service
as a resident monk at the Toronto Mahavihara Buddhist
Meditation Centre, the oldest Theravada Buddhist Centre in
Canada. In 1992, he was appointed Head (Viharadhipathi) of the
Mahavihara. In June 1997, Venerable Rathanasiri Thera became
the Viharadhipathi of Jayasumanarama Vihara, Ahangama, after
the passing away of his teacher.
With the unanimous consent and approval of
the Sri Dharmarakshita Chapter of the All Sri Lanka Amarapura
Maha Sangha Sabha headed by His Holiness Madihe Pannasiha
Mahanayaka Thera, Venerable Rathanasiri was elevated to the
position of “Sammāna Nāyake” (Honourary Prelate), in
recognition of his deep understanding of the Dhamma and his
devotion to the services of the Buddha Sāsana in Sri Lanka and