ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 49
Kandy Times  

Twins: In step with each other on the path of Dhamma

By Udumbara Udugama

A quarter mile from the city of Kandy on the Katugastota Road, just above the Mahaiyawa municipal playground stands the Bauddha Dharmayatanaya. The first Viharadhipathi of this temple was Prof. Kamburupitiye Ariyasena Thera. When he passed away the viharaya was taken over by Ven. Narandeniya Ariyayodaya Thera who also passed away in 2003.

At present the Viharadhipathi is Ven.Ampare Ransegoda Mittasiri Thera. When The Sunday Times visited the viharaya, the Thera was seated surrounded by boxes of electric bulbs and wires. "There are six samanera (novice monks) in the pansala and they are making a large Vesak 'kooduwa' (lantern) to be lit on Vesak Full Moon Poya day on May 1," he said .

Bhikku Revatha and Bhikku Sobhitha

The young bhikkus were busy making the lanterns, one even standing on a scaffolding! Introducing a samanera, the Viharadhipathi stated that he was a twin. The other twin too came out but was getting ready to go to Ampara.

The young samanera spoke of his life and how he came to be in Kandy. "My village is Buddama in the Moneragala District in the Siyambaladuwa area. My parents are farmers and we were born in 1986. I am seven minutes younger than my twin and we have four brothers and two sisters. I am the fourth in the family," he said. His eldest brother has just completed his law degree at the University of Colombo and hopes to join the Law College while the others are still studying.

The samaneras admire their work

"Life in the village was difficult but we were happy. We attended the village school, Buddama Maha Vidyalaya. My name then was J.G. Chaminda Jayasinghe and my brother was J.G. Susantha Jayasinghe," he reminisced.

"One day my father came home and informed us that the Ampare Ransegoda Mittasiri Thera who was in charge of the pirivena in Ampara had asked him whether he would like to give one son to be ordained. My father asked my twin brother about this and he was very willing to join the Buddhist order. They got ready the same day and when they were on their way to Ampara, I too went with them. At the pirivena, when my father spoke to the Thera and was discussing about my brother, I told him that I would also like to join the order. My father gave his consent and leaving the two of us at the pirivena returned home."

"At that time we were studying in the seventh grade in school," he continued. "Later the religious ceremonies were performed and we became samanera bhikkus. Now I am known as Buddama Siri Revatha and my twin as Buddama Siri Sobhitha."

The twins were ordained when they were twelve. They completed their pirivena education in 2003 and passed the GCE Advanced Level examination in 2006 from the Bauddha Dharmayatana Vidyaloka Pirivena in Ketawala, Thalathuoya. Bhikku Revatha received two As and one B studying Sinhala, Buddhist Civilization and Pali and Bhikkhu Sobhitha one A and two Bs.

I have been accepted by the Kelaniya University and will join there on May 15," Bhikku Revatha said. Talking about his family, he sprung another surprise. "I have a younger brother who is also a samanera! Seeing us as monks, Malli too wished to be one and follow in our footsteps. He is known as Buddama Rahula and at present is studying in a pirivena in Talawa, Matara."

Bhikkhu Revatha was now more interested in continuing with his work on the 'Vesak kooduwa' and said they were making the lantern with "Pataw Seeyak" meaning one hundred smaller lanterns surrounding the main lantern.

"I would not have been able to study and come up to this level if I had been in the village. The students who fared better in class than I, have not been able to enter the University. This is because the facilities in the village school are not very good. I am very happy that I took this decision to become a bhikku," said Bhikku Revatha.

These two samaneras, Siri Revatha and Siri Sobhitha will be eligible to receive their 'Upasampada' (high ordination) next year when they reach the qualifying age of 20 years.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.