“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
Ven. Pannila Ananda Nayaka Thera is the founding President and the Abbot of the Houston Buddhist Vihara. He is the Sangha Chief, or Nayaka Thera, of the Attanagalla Rajamaha Vihara in Sri Lanka. Besides, Ven. Ananda Thero also holds the position of Chief Headmonk of the Four Koralas, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the history of Sri Lanka.
Ven. Ananda Nayaka Thero received a B.A. (Honors) in the Pali Language and Buddhist Studies from the Vidyalankara University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, in 1969. After receiving a scholarship to study in Japan, he studied at Kyoto University and Osaka University and received Diplomas in Japanese Buddhist Studies and in the Japanese Language respectively
After completing his education in Japan, Ven. Ananda Thero immigrated to the USA where, along with Ven. Walpola Piyananda Nayaka Thero, he served Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara in Los Angeles, California. In 1988, Ven. Ananda Thero opened Houston Buddhist Vihara with the support of Dr. Bandula and Shani Wijay family. . His service to the Buddha Sasana and his knowledge in the Dhamma were honored in 2001 with an honorary doctorate by the College of Buddhist Studies in LA, California.
Service-wise, Ven. Ananda Nayaka Thero stands supreme in Sri Lanka. During his tenure as abbot of Attanagalla Royal Temple, he has so far constructed and donated 14 school buildings. Besides, he spearheads a charity program that provides monthly scholarships to over 800 medical and other students in Sri Lanka.
Ven. Ananda Nayaka Thero is a perfect example of leadership as a Buddhist monk. He has admirers and supporters in China, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States. Having realized his trustworthiness and capabilities, they provide generous support for his charity work.
Venerable Nanda Thero, also from Attanagalla Rajamaha Vihara in Sri Lanka, is the current secretary of Houston Buddhist Vihara. He served the congregation as secretary and treasurer of the Vihara since its initiation to the year of 2005.
Having received his Samanera ordination at the age or 10, Ven. Nanda Thero has been a monk for over 50 years! He earned his bachelor’s degree in Buddhist studies from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, in 1980. After teaching a few years at Gangarama Pirivena , Colombo, he moved to the United States at the request of Ven. Ananda Nayaka Thero. He devoted his life with great effort for the Vihara’s upbringing during difficult years and directed the construction of the main shrine hall and the educational building. His service has been a notable contribution for the growth of Houston Buddhist Vihara over the past three decades.
Ven. Nanda has also served as a Dhamma and meditation teacher in Malaysia and Taiwan for several years. Besides being the secretary of the Vihara, he is also the president of Texas Buddhist Council, an organization with the membership of over 25 Buddhist organization in Texas.
Venerable Basnagoda Rahula Thero is the president and treasurer of Houston Buddhist Vihara. He became a novice monk during his childhood at Attanagalla Royal Temple in Sri Lanka. After receiving Higher Ordination and a bachelor’s degree in Buddhist philosophy, he immigrated to the United States in 1990 at the request of Ven. Ananda Nayaka Thero.
From 1990 to 1997, he served the Vihara congregation as the Dhamma and meditation teacher. Notably, he stated the children’s Sunday school in 1990 with the participation of eight students. The same year he started Friday meditation programs.
While serving the congregation, Ven. Rahula began his higher studies at the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 1991. Three year later, he earned his M.A. in literature from the same university. In 1997, he moved to Lubbock, TX, to begin his professional studies and three years later earned his Ph.D. in English from Texas Tech with the specialization in rhetoric. He is currently a professor of English at Lone Star College-Montgomery.
Besides, he is also a public speaker and writer. So far, he has published two books: Beautiful Living: Buddha’s Way to Prosperity, Wisdom, and Inner Peace and The Buddha’s Teachings on Prosperity: at Home, at Work, in the World.
The latest addition to the group of Maha Sangha at the Vihara is Ven. Karamidule Sirirathana Thero, who became a resident monk of the Vihara in May 2017.
Ven. Sirirathana Thero entered the Buddhist Order as a novice monk at the age of 12 at Wijayaramaya Vihara, Medirigiriya, Sri Lanka. After completing his primary education at Vidyanikethana Pirivena, Medirigiriya, he entered Vidyavansa Pirivena, Gampaha, for secondary education. In 2012, he was selected to Buddhashravaka Bhikkhu University, Anuradhapura, for higher studies. He earned his B.A. degree in Buddhist studies from the same university in 2013 and then taught at Sri Parakumba Pirivena, Polonnaruwa, for 2 years before immigrating to the United States. Ven. Sirirathana is also the abbot of Sri Sudharshanaramaya, Alkaduwa, Matale.
Ven. Sirirathana is capable of providing all kinds of Buddhist services in Sinhala. He gives Dhamma talks, holds Pujas, and helps in event organization.
HBV is affiliated with the Attanagalla Raja Maha Viharaya a temple in Sri Lanka with an ancient history.
Dhamma Talks held