KANDY (Sri Lanka): Rev K. Dhammaratana Thera, the chief monk of Maha Buddhist Vihara in Brickfields, was appointed Chief Sangha Nayaka (Chief High Priest) of Malaysia during a traditional ceremony here yesterday.
He walked in the footsteps of his predecessor, the late Ven Dr K. Sri Dhammananda, who was conferred the title by the Malwatta Chapter 42 years ago.
Chief High Priest of Malwatta Chapter Ven T. Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera presided at the religious ceremony, which was witnessed by senior Sri Lankan monks and devotees at the Malwatta Maha Viharaya here.
Sri Lanka's Central Province governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa witnessed the ceremony as the presidential representative.
Rev Dhammaratanas 81-year-old mother, Withanarachchilage Dayawathie, said: Im proud of my sons appointment as Chief High Priest of Malaysia and hope he can continue his religious work in many parts of the world.
Rev Dhammaratana, 58, later met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a special endorsement audience in Colombo.
On Sunday, the Speaker of Parliament W.J.M. Lokubandara hosted a special lunch for Rev Dhammaratana.
Rev Dhammaratana was installed the chief monk of the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields on Oct 8 last year, replacing Rev Dhammananda, who died on Aug 31 last year.
Ordained a monk at 17, Rev Dhammaratana has been engaged in Buddhist missionary work and social service for over 27 years.
He has initiated more than 40 voluntary organisations under his patronage, including the Ti-Ratana Welfare Society.
Ti-Ratana Welfare Society president Datuk Liu Thim Soon, who attended the ceremony, described the appointment as a mark of recognition of Rev Dhammaratanas compassion and endless efforts.