24th July 2020 19:56:57 Hours
The Rajarata University of Sri Lanka this morning (24) extended a warm reception to one of the most respected monks, Ven Eethalawetunuwewe Gnanathilake Thero, Incumbent at Mirisawetiya who was making his first visit to the premises after he was appointed the Chancellor of the Rajarata University by HE the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
A distinguished gathering of invitees, inclusive of Prime Minister’s Secretary, Mr Gamini Senarath, Secretary Defence, Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne, former Commanders of the Army, General (Retd) Jagath Jayasuriya, General (Retd) Daya Ratnayake, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sumangala Dias, Chairman, University Grants Commission, Dr Sampath Amarathunge, Senior Police Officers and several others were associated with the day’s formal arrangement, graced by a representative gathering of leading Buddhist monks in the country.
The new Chancellor, Ven Eethalawetunuwewe Gnanathilake Thero who has been guiding and patronizing many a Buddhist project in the North, initiated by the Army in the past two decades was instrumental in blessing the troops at war before May 2009 and re-establishing Buddhist places of worship in Kilinochchi and elsewhere after they were destroyed or vandalized by terrorists. The renovation and re-establishment of the Kilinochchi Lumbini Temple in the heart of Kilinochchi town was one such instance when the 58 Division HQ at that time was operational in the Wanni.
Likewise, the new Chancellor as the war for peace was entering decisive phases took the lead in organizing invocation of blessings on the troops at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanweli Maha Seya and Mirisawetiya while liaising closely with the incumbent Commander of the Army who was at that time serving as the General Officer Commanding of the 58 Division before May 2009.
The venerable monk’s goodwill and spiritual guidance for troops has to-date earned respect and remained a notable feature which in turn served a moral catalyst to the troops as he is representing the custodianship of the first Dagoba (Mirisawetiya) in Anuradhapura, built by the King Dutugemunu during 161-137 B.C.
Today’s formal reception at Rajarata University auditorium saw Mr Gamini Senarath, Secretary to the Prime Minister offering the symbolic ‘Vijinipatha’ (traditional fan) as a tool of veneration to the new Chancellor. Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva showed his regard to the venerable monk by offering an Atapirikara Pooja at the same occasion.
Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit, Deans of faculties, members of the academic staff and invitees attended the formal ceremony in keeping with health regulations.