Meegomuve Jinawansa Nayaka Thera: Bhikku who promoted religious
The 95th birth anniversary of Meegomuve Jinawansa Nayaka Thera who
radiated the light of Dhamma in Negombo called the 'Little Rome' falls
on January 25, 2007. The incumbent of Abhayasekeraramaya, Negombo
Meegomuve Jinawansa Thera and the deyaka sabhava of the temple has
organised a Pinkama for the occasion.
The well-known Buddhist prelate, preacher of bana, writer, poet and
social reformer, Ven. Meegomuve Jinawansa Thera promoted religious amity
in the area.
Negombo known as 'Little Rome' is a Catholic stronghold in Sri Lanka.
Over 65% of the population in Negombo are Catholics. There are over 50
Catholic churches and shrines within the Negombo Municipality. The
majority of the Catholic Bishops and the only Cardinal in Sri Lanka have
hailed from this Catholic fortress.
Although there are comparatively few Buddhists in Negombo about 15%.
their religious fervour is remarkable. The renowned Buddhist leader and
patriot, Brahmachari Walisinghe Harischandra was born in
Thimbirigaskatuwa, Negombo and a leading school in Negombo, Harischandra
Vidyalaya was named after him.
Bhodirajaramaya, the well-known Buddhist temple in Negombo is a
popular religious centre. The beautiful Buduge there, contain fine
sculptural works and paintings on the life of Buddha and Jathaka
stories. Its Pilima Ge contains important Buddhist events in Sri Lanka
as well as life size imager of all the Sinhala Kings from Vijaya to Sri
Ven. Meegomuve Jinawansa Thera was born at Thimbirigaskatuwa, Negombo
on January 25, 1912. He entered Buddha Sasana at the age of 12, as a
pupil of Madampe Aggawansa Tissa Thera, the then Nayaka Thera of
As a Samanera, Jinawansa Thera had his early education at Vidyabandhu
Pirivena, Kirimetiyana under Ven. Pindapathika Saddhammalankara Thera,
the Maha Nayaka of Amarapura Mula Vamsa Nikaya. In 1931, he joined
Vidyodaya Privena for higher education. He passed the Pundit examination
from Vidyodaya with honours in Pali and Sanskrit and carried many
After completing his education, Meegomuve Jinawansa Thera returned to
his native temple, Abayasekeraramaya in Negombo. As a young Bhikku, he
took a leading part in all the Buddhist religious and cultural
activities in Negombo. During his time Abhayasekeraramaya became a hive
of spiritual and social activity.
Meegomuve Jinawansa Thera set up Susilodaya Dhamma School in Negombo
and was its head for 40 years. He was the patron of Negombo Bauddha
Sadachara Vardana Samithiya and played a leading role to establish the
Bauddha Mandiraya in Negombo overcoming many obstacles. He also
initiated the formation of Bauddha Kulangana Samithiya in Negombo.
Even the Catholic lawyers participated in Philosophical discussions
conducted by Meegomuve Jinawansa Thera in this society.
In 1961, when Madampe Aggawansa Tissa Thera passed away, Meegamuve
Jinawansa Thera succeeded him as the incumbent of the
Abahayasekeraramaya Temple in Negombo. It was Jinawansa Thera who built
the beautiful Chaithaya at the temple.
The Buddhists in Kochchikade on the outskirts of Negombo were in dire
need of a temple for their religious activities. Meegomuve Jinawansa
Thera with the assistance of businessmen there established Sri
Dharmodaya Vihara, Kochchikade.
Ven. Meegomuve Jinawansa Thera was a well-known supporter of the SLFP.
He was close to the SLFP hierarchy. However he was not a political
activist and he never gave a political dimension to religion. He worked
with all and sundry irrespective of their political convictions for the
progress of mankind.