I was saddened to hear about the passing of a great teacher, a dear friend who I had known since 1984 in London, and who always welcomed me at the Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre at Kingsbury, Brent, London NW7 1NB, without reservation.
The Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Nakaya MahaThero passed away on 19 December 2022 at Northwick Park Hospital after a prolonged illness. The cremation takes place at Hendon Crematorium at 09.45 a.m. on 31 December 2022.
The Ven. PiyadassiThero was a well-known, highly respected monk. He hailed from a dignified family, comfortably well-off in Sri Lanka. Entering monastic life must have indeed been, a difficult choice.
He came to London as a missionary from Sri Lanka, as a young monk, an understudy of the educationist, Late Most Ven. Saddatissa Thero, in early 1984, took over the ongoing missionary work, in a quarter of London which was much the favourite residential area of Sri Lankans, but without a Buddhist Temple.
It had been prepared ready for the teachings of The Buddha, but with the demise of one of the notable missionaries, NayakaThero, Ven. Saddhatissa in the late 1980s, there was a vacuum which had to be filled by a visionary, to carry on the onerous duties. of the late missionary,
It was also a time of much turmoil in Sri Lanka due to civil strife and the unease had spilt over to London and the UK. Many Sri Lankans were eager to congregate, but fear was understandably profoundly rooted in our psyche.
Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Thero was a simple, trusting mind who brought home the message of The Buddha, in being able to perform a role of bringing solace and comfort to a broken community of Buddhists and also Sri Lankans.
As the years rolled by, Galayaye Piyadassi Thero was given the accolade by late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, elevating his service to citizens and country, by the award of the title, MBE, hardly ever before conferred on a Buddhist monk.
He continued his monastic work without fanfare and organised many functions for the Buddhist and Sri Lankan communities, including the Buddha Jayanti celebration and the annual remembrance of the World Peace Day of Prayer for Inter-religions as for the annual Tsunami Remembrance Day each December.
He will be sadly missed by not only the Buddhist community but by many Inter-Faith dignitaries in the Borough of Brent, for spreading the message of oneness. Hiscontinuedmission of being an unpublicised religious Visitor to nearby hospitals to comfort the sick, is legendary, before he became indisposed himself, over recent times.,
Sri Lankans in London had a mentor who will be sadly missed. At the same time, Buddhist temples in our homeland will lose the undivided contact due to his charitable and fundraising activities, which he silently carried on, even with his disability over recent years.