Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera

From Encyclopedia of Buddhism
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is a modified clone.
This article was imported from Wikipedia. We have made some changes, but we are still in the process of vetting this content.
Vetting Image fair use 60x35px.png

40% vetted by RW

   

Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera
Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera.jpg
Born 8 November 1899
Malamulla, Panadura
Died 23 April 1973(1973-04-23) (aged 73)
Colombo
Nationality Sri Lankan
Alma mater St. John's College Panadura, University of London
Occupation Academic, diplomat

Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera, OBE, JP (8 November 1899 – 23 April 1973) was a Sri Lankan academic, scholar and diplomat best known for his Malalasekara English-Sinhala Dictionary.[1] He was the Ceylon's first Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Ceylon's High Commissioner to Canada, the United Kingdom and Ceylon's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. He was the Professor Emeritus in Pali and Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies.[2][3]

Early life and education

Born on 9 November 1899 at Malamulla, Panadura as George Pieris Malalasekera, his father was a well-known Ayurvedic (native medicine) physician, Ayur. Dr. M. S. Pieris Malalasekera.

Malalasekera was educated at St. John's College Panadura, (now the St. John's College National School). It was a leading school in the English medium in Panadura under the head master Cyril Jansz, a reputed educationist of the colonial era. After receiving his education in that school from 1907–17, he joined the Ceylon Medical College, Colombo to qualify as a doctor with a Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery (LMS).

The death of his father cut short his medical studies. Circumstances compelled him to give up his hopes of becoming a medical doctor. By following a correspondence course from England, he gained a BA from the University of London External System, 1919 with a first division. His subjects were English, Latin, Greek and French. He was the youngest candidate to obtain the Bachelor of Arts degree in the British Empire in that year with a first class.

In 1923, he proceeded to join the University of London and obtained the two post-graduate degrees of a MA, PhD and a concurrently in 1925, in oriental languages majoring in Pali from the London School of Oriental Studies. Malalasekera would later gain a DLitt in 1938, his thesis was 'Pali Literature in Sri Lanka'.

Teaching career

Coming under the influence of Buddhist renaissance of Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala, he changed his foreign names of George and Pieris to those of Gunapala Piyasena and henceforth came to be known as G. P. (Gunapala Piyasena) Malalasekera. After gaining his BA he took to teaching at Ananda College, Colombo as an assistant teacher, then under the principal P. de S. Kularatne. Both of them were the architects of the Sinhala national costume.[citation needed] In quick succession Malalasekera rose up the ranks to be the Vice Principal and acting Principal of Ananda College. Thereafter he left for London for his graduate studies. On his return to the motherland in 1926, he was appointed Principal of newly formed Nalanda College Colombo. The student assembly hall of Nalanda College Colombo is named Malalasekara Theatre in memory of him.

Academic career

Shortly afterwards in 1927, he succeeded Ven. Suriyagoda as lecturer in the then University College, Colombo to lecture in English on Sinhala, Pali and Sanskrit for the University of London degree examinations. When the University of Ceylon was founded in 1942, he became the Professor of Pali and Head of the Department of Pali. Later he would serve as Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Ceylon. His research was on Buddhism and Buddhist Civilization was extensive and he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopaedia of Buddhism. His contribution by way of research papers and publications to the Pali Text Society of London under the patronage of scholars like Rhys David and Miss I. B. Horner. From 1927 twice he was elected the Joint Secretary of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress. Thrice he was the Vice-President and functioned as its President from 1939–1957.

During his tenure of office, he saw to it that the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress constructed a new building for its headquarters at Bullers Road (now Bauddhaloka Mawatha). He took a delight in the activities of the Viharamahadevi Girls' Home, Biyagama and was responsible for the establishment of boys' homes at Panadura and Ja-Ela. During his presidency of the Buddhist Congress for 25 years, he addressed 20 of its annual sessions. His 'magnum opus' or great work is the famous 'Gunapala Sinhala-English Dictionary'. Of equal importance is the Pali dictionary – Sinhala-English. An ardent member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Ceylon. He represented Ceylon at several parleys abroad notably, Conference on Living Religions (1924 – London), Conference on World Religious (1936 – London), Association of Occidental (Western) and Oriental Philosophers (Hawaii – 1949), Association of Indian Philosophers – India, meeting of the Pakistani Philosophers (1953 – Karachi), and the Seminar on Religions for Peace, (San Francisco, USA, 1965). So numerous were the essays, write-ups, literary contributions he made and radio talks delivered over Buddhist, religious and cultural matters and Social service assignments. He was the founder president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists inaugurated within the hallowed precincts of the Temple of the Tooth, Kandy in 1950 at the suggestion of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress.

He was president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists from 1950 to 1958 as well as the Ceylon Arts Society;

Diplomatic career

Malalasekera was appointed the first Ambassador for Ceylon to the USSR in 1957 by Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike when he established diplomatic relations with socialist countries such as Russia, China, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia. In 1959, he was appointed concurrently first Ambassador for Ceylon to Czechoslovakia, Poland and Romania.[4]

Subsequently, he functioned as the Ceylon High Commissioner in Canada and was Ceylon UN Permanent Representative in New York. There he served as chairman, Security Council Member, Fact Finding Mission to Saigon and also in the Committee on Information from North Non-self Governing Territories. Finally, he was the Ceylon's High Commissioner in the UK from 1963 to 1967.

In 1967, he returned to the island to accept the post of chairman of the National Higher Education Commission which responsible post he held till 1971. He died on 23 April 1973.

Family life

He married Margaret Russel in 1927, she was a concert pianist he met while he was a student at the London School of Oriental Studies. The marriage lasted only three years and produced a daughter Chitra who excelled in classical music (piano). He thereafter married Lyle, they had three sons and two daughters. His sons were Indrajith, Arjun and Vijaya. Vijaya studied law at the University of Cambridge and was called to the English Bar as Barrister-at-Law. His second daughter became a science graduate.

Honors

See also

References


External links

Historical people list

Historical people

Main subcategories of People are: Historical people - Living people - All people - People categories ... (Is a bio not here, or minimal?)

Masao Abe Robert Baker Aitken Ron Allen (playwright) B. R. Ambedkar Ananda
Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero Angulimala Aniruddha Mahathera Anuruddha Nauyane Ariyadhamma Mahathera
Aryadeva Asai Ryōi Assaji Atiśa Nisthananda Bajracharya
Benimadhab Barua Joko Beck Sanjaya Belatthiputta Charles Henry Allan Bennett Hubert Benoit (psychotherapist)
John Blofeld Bodhidharma Edward Espe Brown Polwatte Buddhadatta Thera Buddhaghosa
Acharya Buddharakkhita Marie Byles Ajahn Chah Rerukane Chandawimala Thero Channa
Chokgyur Lingpa Edward Conze L. S. Cousins Brian Cutillo 1st Dalai Lama
2nd Dalai Lama 3rd Dalai Lama 4th Dalai Lama 5th Dalai Lama 6th Dalai Lama
7th Dalai Lama 8th Dalai Lama 9th Dalai Lama 10th Dalai Lama 11th Dalai Lama
12th Dalai Lama 13th Dalai Lama Bidia Dandaron Alexandra David-Néel Marian Derby
Devadatta U Dhammaloka K. Sri Dhammananda Dharmaditya Dharmacharya Dharmakirti
Dharmapala of Nalanda Anagarika Dharmapala Dharmottara Dignāga Dōgen
Dongchu Dongshan Liangjie Khakyab Dorje, 15th Karmapa Lama Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, 3rd Karmapa Lama
Heinrich Dumoulin Düsum Khyenpa, 1st Karmapa Lama Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Walter Evans-Wentz Family of Gautama Buddha
Frederick Franck Gampopa Gelek Rimpoche Gö Lotsawa Zhönnu-pel Gorampa
Maha Pajapati Mahapajapati Mahapajapati Gotami Rita Gross Gurulugomi
Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo Tsangpa Gyare Gendun Gyatso Palzangpo Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso Dolpopa
Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen Gyeongbong Han Yong-un Thich Nhat Hanh Walisinghe Harischandra
Eugen Herrigel Ernő Hetényi Marie Musaeus Higgins Raicho Hiratsuka Shin'ichi Hisamatsu
Hsuan Hua Huiyuan (Buddhist) Christmas Humphreys K. N. Jayatilleke 2nd Jebtsundamba Khutughtu
9th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu Jeongang Kadawedduwe Jinavamsa Mahathera Ken Jones (Buddhist) David Kalupahana
Dainin Katagiri Katyayana (Buddhist) Bob Kaufman Kaundinya Jack Kerouac
Bogd Khan Khema Ayya Khema Dilgo Khentse Dilgo Khyentse
King Suppabuddha Jamgon Kongtrul Kukkuripa Kumar Kashyap Mahasthavir Kunkhyen Pema Karpo
Drukpa Kunley Trevor Leggett Arthur Lillie Karma Lingpa Robert Linssen
Longchenpa John Daido Loori Albert Low Luipa Taizan Maezumi
Mahakasyapa Mahākāśyapa Mahamoggallana Mahasi Sayadaw Jyotipala Mahathera
Nagasena Mahathera S. Mahinda Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera Marpa Lotsawa Peter Matthiessen
Maudgalyayana Maya (mother of Buddha) Maya (mother of the Buddha) Gustav Meyrink Edward Salim Michael
Milarepa Mingun Sayadaw Sōkō Morinaga Hiroshi Motoyama Mun Bhuridatta
Myokyo-ni Nagarjuna Nagasena Soen Nakagawa Bhikkhu Nanamoli
Matara Sri Nanarama Mahathera Nanavira Thera Nanda Naropa Nichiren
Kitaro Nishida Gudō Wafu Nishijima Nyanaponika Nyanaponika Thera Nyanatiloka
Thothori Nyantsen Ōbaku Toni Packer Padmasambhava Sakya Pandita
Paramanuchitchinorot Pema Lingpa Prajñāvarman Punna Rāhula
Thotagamuwe Sri Rahula Thera Walpola Rahula Paul Reps Caroline Rhys Davids Sonam Rinchen (Buddhist geshe)
Hammalawa Saddhatissa Kazi Dawa Samdup Chatral Sangye Dorje Ajahn Sao Kantasīlo Sariputta
Sayadaw U Tejaniya Seongcheol Seungsahn Shantideva Shavaripa
Sheng-yen Zenkei Shibayama Takamaro Shigaraki Silabhadra Sīlācāra
Shin Maha Silavamsa Śrāvaka Subhashitaratnanidhi Subhuti Suddhodana
Śuddhodana D. T. Suzuki Shunryū Suzuki Taklung Thangpa Tashi Pal The ten principal disciples
Tiantong Rujing Tilopa Chögyam Trungpa Tsangnyön Heruka Yeshe Tsogyal
Upali Uppalavanna Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Xuanzang Yasa
Yashodhara Yasodharā Linji Yixuan Zanabazar Śāriputra

This article uses material from Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera on Wikipedia (view authors). License under CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikipedia logo