06th April 2017 21:58:09 Hours
The funeral of Most Ven. Davuldena Sri Gnanissara Maha Nayake Thero, the Supreme prelate of Sri Amarapura Maha Sangha Sabha took place this afternoon (6) at Independence Square with full state honours, amid gun salute and a huge gathering of mourners, including prominent members of the Maha Sangha and clergy, HE the President, Prime Minister, Governors, Ministers, Chief Ministers, State Ministers, tri-service Commanders, state officials, et al.
The motorcade carrying his mortal remains after leaving his Pagoda Sri Vidya Vijayarama Dharmadutha temple reached the Independence Square by about 3.00 p.m. to be received again by late Mahanayake Thero’s pupils in the company of senior Buddhist monks who carried the coffin to the special dais.
The funeral ceremony commenced with the traditional Paanshakula (invocation of merits), conducted by members of the Maha Sangha, followed by several Anushasana (orations) of prominent Buddhist monks, representing different Chapters after the deputy registrar of the Amarapura Sangha Sabha welcomed the gathering.
Most Ven Niyangoda Vijithasiri Anu Nayaka Thero of the Malwatte Chapter, Most Ven Napana Premasiri Maha Nayaka Thero, Most Ven (Dr) Brahmanawatte Seevali Thero, a priest representing Catholics, Muslims and Hindus delivered separate orations, extolling great virtues and piety of the late Davuldena Maha Nayaka Thero.
President Maithripala Sirisena afterwards in his eulogy to the occasion saluted late Mahanayake Thero’s exemplary life and unblemished dedication to the Sasana, spanning a little over 90 years and his erudition that offered a number of honorary titles to him, including a few from foreign nations. President said that the prelate’s departure would remain a huge gap in the annals of monkhood. The Punyanumodana and vote of thanks were raised respectively by the senior most pupil of the late prelate and the Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane in his capacity as the Chairman in the Amarapura Sangha Sabha Development Committee.
A 17-gun salute presented by the Army afterwards honoured the late prelate after the coffin was placed in the beautifully structured pyre. Two of the prelate’s relatives set fire to the pyre after his pupil monks did honours to their Guru in a solemn manner.
Troops of the Army, Navy and Air Force soon after his remains were brought to his Pagoda temple on Monday (3) commenced the 24-hour ceremonial vigil duties up until the remains were taken to the pyre in conformity with State regulations.