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Sumangala Unnanse

Eminent Sri Lankan Buddhist priest and scholar. Honorary Vice-President of the Theosophical Society (1881-88). Born January 20, 1827, in the village of Hikkaduwa in Sri Lanka, he was the fourth son of Don Johannes de Silva Abeyewara Gunawardana. He was admitted to the Buddhist Order as a samenera or novice. At the age of 21 years he was ordained as a monk. Sumangala had a talent for languages and mastered Elu (the classical language of Sri Lanka), English and French. He was elected High Priest of the Srīpada, the temple of the Holy footprint on the mountain of Adam’s Peak and later he became also High Priest of the District of Galle and Examiner-in-Chief of the candidates for ordination in the country. He was the founder of the Viyoaya College for monks.

Sumangala was a strong supporter of Henry S. OLCOTT’s work for Buddhism in Sri Lanka and the two were close friends. He strongly supported Olcott’s visit to Japan for the purpose of bringing about a degree of agreement between the various Buddhist sects. He died April 30, 1911, at Colombo.


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