Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero

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Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero
Ven Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero.jpg
Religion Buddhism
School Theravada
Sect Amarapura Nikaya (for registration purposes)
Order Sri Kalyaniwansa Nikaya
Nationality Sri Lankan
Born (1961-07-01) 1 July 1961 (age 55)
Iriyawetiya, Kiribathgoda,
Sri Lanka
Senior posting
Based in Sri Lanka
Title Vener
Religious career
Teacher Dambagasare Shri Sumedhankara Thero and Dikwelle Pannananda Thero
Initiation Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery

Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero (born 1 July 1961) is the founder of Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery.[1]

Spiritual biography[edit]

Gnanananda was born into a Roman Catholic family. The family converted to Buddhism six months after his birth, going so far as to give up their main source of income: animal husbandry for meat.

Gnanananda became a monk at age 17 on 26 March 1979 under Dambagasare Sumedhankara Thero and Dikwelle Pannananda Thero at Seruwavila. He received a traditional Buddhist academic education and entered the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.[2] He founded Mahamevnawa Monastery in 1999 under the guidance of Kotapola Amarakitti Thero, in Waduwava, Polgahawela. Mahamevnawa monastery now has around 40 branch monasteries for meditation throughout Sri Lanka and overseas, including in Canada,[3] the United States,[4] Australia,[5] the United Kingdom,[6] Germany[7] Italy, Dubai, South Korea and India.[citation needed]


He now teaches Buddhism (Theravada), emphasizing the need to practice it in pure form (i.e. as in the Suttas) and casting off what is not advocated by the Buddha.

Our Teacher, the Buddha has taught that birth as a human being is, indeed, a very rare achievement. Fortunately, we have now obtained that rare achievement. Yet, we have to remember that man's greatness does not lie either in his nationality, caste, clan or any such feature. His greatness depends solely on his conduct. Man's experiencing of happiness and suffering, too, is related to his three modes of action, namely mental, verbal and physical action.

The Buddha devoted all his life to save man from dukkha - suffering. We are followers of the Buddha and our fervent hope is to see a world full of people who are freed from dukkha.

Mankind's wonderful treasure of wisdom is the Teaching of the Buddha. This doctrine illuminates our lives bringing happiness and joy. Go in search of this wonderful Dhamma yourself, lead your life accordingly, get rid of your suffering and join that fortunate band of people who experience the Supreme Bliss : 'A Message by Venerable Thero'.

[citation needed]

Thousands of practicing Buddhists are associated with Mahamevnawa.

"Maha Sthupa Wandanawa" [8] conducted on 2 February 2008 at Anuradhapura with participation of over 100,000 disciples, and "Somawathi Stupa Vandanawa" [9] conducted on 8 May 2010 at Somawathiya temple with participation of over 1,000,000 devotees, bear evidence for the popularity his Damma program has achieved.

Gnanananda reintroduced the usage of "Namo Buddhaya" to the Sri Lankan Buddhists as a way of Buddhist greeting. Also, there was a weekly dhamma discussion program telecasted on TNL television named "Namo Buddhaya" in which the Thero participated.[10]


Gnanananda thero has written many books based on the teachings of Buddha. These publications are aimed to emphasize uncontaminated Buddhism that can be understood by anyone who reads it.

The thera has also instigated a culture in Sri Lanka (traditionally known as Dhamma Dīpa – Island full of Buddha’s Teachings) to teach the Buddha’s teaching in the national language of Sinhala, even though the teachings are traditionally taught in the Pali language. Many disciples believe that they are now able to teach the Buddha’s teachings with the right understanding.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "StartLogic". Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2008. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 June 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2008. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2008. 
  6. ^ "Mahamevnawa UK Branch". Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Somawathi Stupa Wandana Part 1". 2 August 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2016 – via YouTube. 
  10. ^ "Namo Buddhaya :: The Live Dhamma Discussion on TNL TV". 12 February 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2016 – via YouTube. 

External links[edit]

Dhamma Sermons/Articles by Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero