Sri Lankan Buddhists in Auckland and surrounding cities have had an unfulfilled need with respect to associating with religious activities over the years, until 1999. However when Ven. Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero, a Sri Lankan buddhist monk who was in New Zealand on a short visit, and a few interested Sri Lankan Buddhists living in Auckland got together to discuss needs of Sri Lankan Buddhists in New Zealand and ways to fulfil such needs. The outcome was this great idea of forming a Buddhist temple on the lines of Sri Lankan traditions.
Sri Lankaramaya was begun in 1999 as a small outfit in a rented out property at 146a Church Street, Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand. In order to provide the administrative support, within a few months, a charitable trust was incorporated in the name of New Zealand Sri Lanka Buddhist Trust (NZSLBT) under the provisions of The Charitable Trust Act 1957. The NZSLBT consisted of fifteen trustees initially.
Sri Mihindu Dhamma School was set up to fulfil the need of Buddhist education for the children of Sri Lankan Buddhist families.
The Chief Incumbent Thero
Ven Walgama Sri Munidawansa Nayaka Thero is the Chief Incumbent (Viharadhipathi) of Sri Lankaramaya and the Patron Monk of the New Zealand Sri Lanka Buddhist Trust. In 2007, the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siyam Nikaya in Sri Lanka awarded him the title of Chief Sanghanayaka of New Zealand in recognition of his unparalleled dhamma service he had rendered towards promotion of dhamma in New Zealand. He is the Chief Incumbent of two other temples in Sri Lanka, Walgama Sriwardanaramaya in Rambukkana and Maarukwathura Gothabhaya Rajamaha Viharaya in Polgahawela. He is also the Chief Adhikarana Sanghanayaka of Sathara Koralaya in Sri Lanka.
Born in 1947, he entered the Ordain in 1960 under the guidance of his venerable teacher Wewatenne Piyatissa Thero, the Chief Incumbent of Dambulu Rajamahaviharaya, Rambukkana, and later received higher ordination in 1968. Having completed BE degree at University of Sri Jayawardenepura, he joined the education service in Sri Lanka. He became the Principal at Deliwala Parshada Centre in 1975. Since then he held numerous important positions in the sphere of education in Sri Lanka before retiring from government service in year 2000 to join Ven. Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero to serve the Buddhist community in New Zealand.
He was invited by Ven. Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero, the first patron monk of NZSLBT and the founder of Sri Lankaramaya, specifically to deliver dhamma services to the Sri Lankan community and to provide advice and guidance for the development of Sri Lankaramaya. Under his guidance Sri Lankaramaya was able to provide much needed dhamma services to the community.
He assumed the responsibilities of Chief Incumbent of Sri Lankaramaya and Patron Monk of NZSLBT in 2002 as the successor to Ven. Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero. Since then he had taken many initiatives and guided NZSLBT and dayaka to develop Sri Lankaramya, a premier Theravada Buddhist Temple in Auckland.
Ven Udagaladeniye Yasassi Thero
Ven Udagaladeniye Yasassi Thero arrived in New Zealand in January 2003 to serve as a Resident Monk of Sri Lankaramaya, on the invitation of Nayaka Thero. At this very early stage of Sri Lankaramaya, Yassasi Thero spent nearly two years and his contribution during his stay is invaluable. Having entered the Ordain in 1987 under the guidance of his teacher Ven Walgama Sri Munidawansa Nayaka Thero. Ven Yasassi Thero received the higher ordination in 1996, by the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siyam Nikaya. Ven Thero graduated from University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka with a BA Degree in 2000. Ven Thero has worked as a Buddhist Affairs Coordinator from July 2005 to July 2017 He was looking after Walgama Sriwardanaramaya temple in Rambukkana on behalf of Nayaka Thero and also visited a few countries on religious service. Thero visited Sri Lankaramaya again in June 2017 due to heavy work load at Sri Lankaramaya and continues his service to the Sri Lankan community since then. Currently he is a teacher of Sri Mihindu Dhamma School and plays a major role in delivering dhamma services to the community.
Ven Hengawa Rahula Thero
On invitation, Ven. Rahula Thero arrived in New Zealand in 2011 to serve as a Resident Monk of Sri Lankaramaya. Ven Thero graduated from University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka with a BA Hons. degree in 2008. Having entered the Ordain in 1995, received the higher ordination in year 2006, by the Ramanna Nikaya in Sri Lanka. He is a teacher of Sri Mihindu Dhamma School and plays a major role in delivering dhamma services to the community. Prior to arriving in New Zealand he served two years as a resident monk of Walgama Sriwardanaramaya in Rambukkana.
Ven.Walgama Rewatha Thero
On invitation, Ven.Walgama Rewatha Thero arrived in New Zealand in March 2016 to serve as a Resident Monk of Sri Lankaramaya. Ven Thero graduated from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka with a BA Hons. Degree in 2002. He obtained M.A Degree in 2010 from Pali & Buddhist University in Sri Lanka. He also obtained Education Diploma in 2013 from National Education Institute, Maharagama, Sri Lanka. He was honored by the title “Royal Pandit” in 1998. Having entered the Ordain in 1986 under the guidance of his teacher Ven Walgama Sri Munidawansa Nayaka Thero, Ven Rewatha Thero received the higher ordination in 1993, by the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siyam Nikaya. He is the Principal of Sri Mihindu Dhamma School and plays a major role in delivering dhamma services to the community. He made a valuable contribution to the chaithya construction at Sri Lankaramaya by selecting skilled craftsmen from Sri Lanka. Prior to arriving in New Zealand he served two years as a resident monk at Sagama Rajamaha Viharaya, Kandy. He served in a number of government and non governmental organisations in Sri Lanka prior to arriving here. His counselling experience will be a valuable asset to our community in Auckland.