Balangoda Ananda Maitreya

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Balangoda Ananda Maitreya (August 24, 1896 – July 18, 1998), a Sri Lankan scholar-monk, was a personality of Theravada Buddhism in the twentieth century. Through his meditations, he was believed to have achieved the highest level of spiritual development within the Sri Lankan sangha (Buddhist monastic order). He lived a modest life in a secluded monastery, however, so is little known outside his native country.

Ananda Maitreya Thero wrote nearly fifty books on suttas (scripture), vinaya (monastic discipline), on abhidhamma (metaphysics), and on Pali and Sanskrit grammar. His book, Sakyasimhavadanaya hevat Buddha Charita (The Life of the Buddha), is considered a textbook. He translated another version of the Dhammapada, which can also be found in English. Unusually for a Theravada teacher, he publicly studied practices of other traditions, especially esoteric yoga. This is understandable when one realizes that he was a theosophist as well as a Buddhist, Ananda Maitreya Thero was known to have practiced meditation to reach Jhanas and he was awarded the title 'Abidhadja Maharattaguru' by Thailand to praise his great achievements in Buddhist meditation and Buddhist literature. Ananda Maitreya thero has done great service for Buddhism throughout his life.

Ananda Maitreya Thero was the first Dharmarcharya at Nalanda College Colombo when it was first established in 1924. Also the Venerable Thero named it 'Nalanda' and chose 'Apadana Sobhini Panna' meaning 'wisdom beautifies character' as Nalanda College's motto.