On December 15th 2000, The Most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayake Thero, (who is the founder of the Washington Buddhist Vihara, the very first Theravada Temple in the United States) was welcomed by the congregation of the Washington Buddhist Vihara, its friends, well-wishers, and admirers. During his six-week stay in United States of America, The Most Venerable Mahanayaka Thero bestowed his precious gifts of knowledge and blessing not only on the members of the Buddhist Vihara Society in Washington DC, but on all who were ready and willing to receive them.The Most Venerable Mahanayake Thero always touches a responsive chord among Sri Lankan masses when he makes a statement, be it on the state of our nation, of our sovereignty, or of Buddha and Dhamma. Therefore, it is no wonder that the Sri Lankans
living in the United States put aside all other priorities to welcome this saintly Buddhist monk, who is a true exemplar of Lord Buddha. Buddhists in North America unified in an unprecedented manner to put together a hectic, but a multifaceted schedule exposing his saintly presence to many fortunate pockets of Buddhist communities, living in all corners of the United States. This program enabled many Buddhists to meet and get to know closely this "Living Buddha", and to experience the loving kindness emanating from his presence. The Members of the Washington Buddhist Vihara were even more fortunate as he blessed the Vihara with a fairly lengthy stay; coupled with visits to many private homes; wonderful sermons, chanting of Seth-Pirith, a few special Poojas and blessing services. He addressed the many
well-attended meetings on "History of Buddhism" and "Buddhist Doctrine". No one who comes into contact with him fails to be impressed by his greatness and the dignity and serenity of one who steeped in the Buddha-Dhamma. Not only did he preach and expound Dhamma everyday during his six-week visit, but also demonstrated in his own person, the heights which may be attained by living the Good life. His visit was not restricted to the Washington, DC area; he toured New York and California to extol the gift of Dhamma. In between these activities, he found time to organize a program to help students with financial difficulties and poor families in Sri Lanka
Then came Tuesday, January 16th, the day of The Most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayake Thero’s departure. An emotional and well-attended farewell ceremony was held at the temple. He did not idle even a minute but
worked incessantly for the cause of Dhamma, giving advice and solace to all who asked, radiating thoughts of Metta, spreading peace, serenity and harmony to all around him. He has made an indelible impression in many minds and hearts during this short stay.
Special thanks go to Venerable Pandit Thirikunamale Ananda Thera, who accompanied the Most Venerable Mahanayake Thera and took care of all his needs with unwavering love and devotion. Tremendous help was given by Venerable Pandit Mahaoya Anuruddha Thera and Venerable Pandit Dunuwila Metteyya Thera to make the whole program a successful one.
May the Most Venerable Mahanayaka Thera have the courage and the strength to forge ahead with his noble work for the well being of Buddhism and the advancement of the Buddhist World.