Sobitha Thera Passes Away

Published : 9:19 am  November 9, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (887) reads | 


By Sandun A Jayasekera
Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera, the chief incumbent of the Kotte Naga Vihara who played a key role in the campaign to bring common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena to power defeating former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has passed away early last morning at a hospital in Singapore.

Ven. Sobhitha Thera who was 73 at the time of his demise has been born to a family of three children at Maduluwawa in Padukka on May 29, 1942. His lay name given by his father Pathirage Don Appuhami and mother  Kuruwita Arachchige Karlinahami was P.D. Ratnasekara. He has a sister and a brother.

Young Ratnasekara had his early education at Padukka Maha Vidyalaya and became a Buddhist monk at the Kotte Naga Vihara under the tutelage of Ven. Devahandiye Pannasekara Thera, Ven Angampitiye Gunarathana Thera and Ven. Mulleriyawe Rewatha Thera in 1953 at the age of 11 as Maduluwawe Sobitha.

The Samanera Sobitha studied at Kotte Naga Vihara and enrolled to the Vidyalankara University but later came to Vidyodaya University at Gangodawila to take care of his ‘Guru Dev’ Mulleriyawe Rewatha Thera who was ill. He obtained his BA from Vidyodaya University in 1967 and served as a Pirivena teacher at the Old Temple and Wijerama Pirivena, Gangodawila. He retired as the Principal of Wijerama Pirivena in 2003.  

sobitha3The Thera was admitted to the Neville Fernando Private Hospital at Malabe on October 21 after he underwent a bypass surgery at the Colombo National Hospital and subsequently, was flown to a Private Hospital in Singapore on Tuesday (03) night for further medical treatment on the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena. President Sirisena, who personally looked into the illness of Venerable Thera even during his state visit to Thailand.

President Sirisena after having discussions with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had also decided for the government to bear the entire cost of medical treatment of the Thera.

The firebrand monk has been in the forefront of many of the country’s political upheavals during the past four decades. In 2014, he offered to become the common Opposition candidate to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, when no one dare to come forward.
Ven. Sobitha Thera, was also the  chairman of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ). He led the movement against corruption, embezzling and misrule in the run up to the January 8 Presidential poll vigorously and for a regime change consolidating the victory of President Sirisena.

He campaigned strongly for the release of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka when the latter was incarcerated by the Rajapaksa regime and led street protests against the government of President Rajapaksa.
The Sri Lanka Mission in Singapore said yesterday steps had been taken to send back remains of Ven. Sobitha Thera as soon as possible to Sri Lanka.

Acting High Commissioner Reka Mallikarachchi visited him at hospital on Saturday. He was under close supervision of 7 specialists and a Sri Lankan doctor sent by the government.