Myanmar confers ‘Aggamahā paṇḍita’ title on four Sri Lankan Buddhist monks
COLOMBO – Seven Sri Lankan Buddhist monks and a layperson were conferred with honorary religious titles, including the title Aggamahā Paṇḍita’, by the President of Myanmar, U Win Myint, to mark the country’s 7th Anniversary of Independence, observed on January 4.
Four monks, Ven. Mihiripenne Sobhita Thera of the Sri Maha Bodhi Maha Viharaya, Dehiwala, Ven. Dr. Kollupitiye Mahinda Sanha Rakkhita Maha Thera, of the Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya and Kithsirimevan Raja Maha Viharaya, Ven. Tirikunamale Ananda Mahanayka Maha Thera of the Sri Amarapura Dharmarakshitavamsa Maha Nikaya, and Ven. Dodampahala Chandrasiri Maha Nayaka Thera of the Sri Kelayanivasa, Amarapura Maha Nikaya were conferred with the title of Aggamahā Paṇḍita.
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ven. Gallelle Sumanasiri Thera of Buddhist and Pali University and Prof. Dr. Ven. Medagampitiye Wijithadhamma Thera of the Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies of University of Sri Jayewardenepura were conferred the title Aggamahasadhdhamma Jothika Dhaja, while Ven. Thumbowila Dhammaratana Thera of the Thumbowilapurana Maha Viharaya, Piliyandala, and Prof. Asanga Tilakaratne (retired), of the Damrivi Foundation were conferred the title Maha Sadhdhamma Jothika Dhaja .
Aggamahā Paṇḍita is an honorific Buddhist Title conferred by the Government of Myanmar to distinguished Theravada Buddhist Bhikkhus and means, “foremost great and wise one,” derived from Pali. The title is awarded to Buddhist monks who are highly proficient in teaching the Dhamma.
As an annual event, the President of Myanmar, confers the title after a thorough examination of a Bhikkhu’s wisdom and achievement by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, a government-appointed body of high-ranking Buddhist Bhikkhus that oversees and regulates the Sangha (Buddhist clergy) in Myanmar.
A number of Sri Lankan monks have been conferred the title Aggamahā Paṇḍita by the Government of Myanmar in the past, with Ven. Prof. Kotapitiye Rahula Anunayake Thera being conferred the title in 2020.
Aggamaha Saddhamma Jothika Dhaja and Maha Saddhamma Jothika Dhaja are also titles conferred by the Government of Myanmar to appreciate mostly the monks who have rendered a remarkable service to educate and who excel in Dhamma. In some instances, several lay persons have also been conferred the title of Maha Saddhamma Jothika Dhaja to appreciate their services to the Dhamma.
-ENCL/ Foreign Ministry