Madawela Punnaji

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Madewela Punnaji
Born 1929
Sri Lanka
Died 2018
Nationality USA
Education M.D.
Occupation (formerly a physician), Buddhist monk
Known for Buddhist teacher, author, monk
Home town Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Religion Buddhism, Theravada

Bhante Madawela Punnaji (November 26, 1929 - July 27, 2018) from Sri Lanka was a scholar of the Pali Canon and also had extensive studies in science, medicine, and western psychology. He wrote the Foreword to author Dr. David N. Snyder's Buddha's Lists and has written and presented several other articles around the globe as well.


Early Dr. Pushpanda

Born Pushpananda Madawela, Ven. Punnaji began meditating when he was five years old [1]. As he grew up in Sri Lanka, he began getting interested in Buddhism while other children were starting school.

Academically, he went on to medical school to become a general practicioner, where his name was Dr. Pushpanda Madawela. Ten years later, the doctor changed his name to Ven. Madawela Punnaji and then changed aspirations to become a monk. In 1968, Rev. Madihe Pannaseela at Sri Vajiragnana Dharmaya Ayathanaya, Sri Lanka, ordained the now Ven. Punnaji as a monk.


Godfrey, Hilda and Gamini, Ven. Punnaji's family

Ven. Punnaji's ancestry traces to Herat Mudiyanselage Madawela Basnayake Nilame (1830), whose son was Sri Lankan politician Godfrey Edward Madawela (1878 - 1932)[2]. Ven. Punnaji's brother is Godfrey Ernest Madawela, pictured here.

Teacher at the Buddhist Maha Vihara

After the passing of the late Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda at the Brickfields Malaysian Buddhist Maha Vihara [1], Venerable Punnaji traveled there to give the eulogy for K. Sri Dhammandana and was such a good a teacher of the Dhamma that he was asked to stay, which he did.

Relations to Vipassana Foundation and Dhamma Wiki

Ven. Punnaji has frequently visited Las Vegas, the Vipassana Foundation and wrote the forward to Dr. David N. Snyder's book, Buddha's Lists.

Buddhist publications

  • Awakening Meditation (2001)
  • Ariyamagga Bhavana, the Sublime Eightfold Way, Level I (2010)
  • Beyond the Horizon of Time - Is Reincarnation Buddhist? (2011)
  • The Philosophy of Vesak (2011)
  • Return to Tranquility (2013)
  • Ariyamagga Bhavana, the Sublime Eightfold Way, Level II (2015)
  • Ariyamagga Bhavana, the Sublime Eightfold Way, Level III (2016)
  • Ascending the Supernormal Eightfold Way (2016)
  • Becoming a Buddhist (2018)
  • The Psychology of Metta (2018)
  • Why Religion? (2018)
  • The Four Evolutionary Stages of Religion (2018)
  • Did We Cross the Threshold of Hope (2018)
  • Buddha; The Radical Shrink (2018)
  • Why Religion (2018)
  • Beyond the Horizon of Time (2018)
  • Letting Go of 'Self': Lessons in Buddhist Psychology (2021) a posthumous book prepared by his students
  • Inner Calm: A User’s Guide to Tranquility Meditation (2022) a posthumous book prepared by his students
  • Life Examined: Lessons in Buddhist Philosophy (2023) a posthumous book prepared by his students


Dr. Madawela Punnaji passed away on July 27, 2018 which was the Full Moon Day of July 2018. He gave Dhamma talks almost all of his life, virtually up to the day of his passing. He was 88 years old. He gave a Dhamma talk of over one hour on July 26, 2018 and then died peacefully in his sleep only a few hours later:

See also


  1. Chai Mei Ling. "A scientific approach to religion". Retrieved on September 28, 2008.
  2. Githal Madawela. "Madawela Family Tree". Retrieved on September 28, 2008.

External links