Venerable Galkande Dhammananda Thero
Venerable Galkande Dhammananda Thero is a Sri Lankan national and a monk of Theravada Buddhist tradition. After completing his monastic training, Dhammanand Thero attended the University of Kelaniya where he received a Bachelor’s degree in History. After winning the commonwealth Scholarship in 2003 he completed his Masters and M.Phil degrees at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, in India and is now reading for his PhD. Dhammananda Thero heads the Walpola Rahula Institute for Buddhist Studies, an organization that offers religious leaders and lay persons educational training programs to support social healing. He is also a full-time lecturer with the Department of History, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. Dhammananda Thero is actively engaged in issues related to social justice and harmony that promote an inclusive plural society. He has been actively using social media to propagate the message of nonviolence during recent interreligious and interethnic conflicts in Sri Lanka. Over the years he has been engaged in dialogue with religious leaders on issues related to social justice and healing and hopes to support others to engage in similar dialogues. To this end he has released a series of videos entitled Bahujana Hitaya (for the betterment of all), after the teachings of Buddha that are his ultimate inspiration. These teachings call for one to work beyond religious, ethnic or social labels to actively uplift the society – especially supporting those who are vulnerable, marginalized and discriminated.
Interreligious Activities and Initiatives
Walpola Rahula Fellowship on Dialogue
Sri Lanka experienced armed-conflict for 30 years till 2009. In post armed-conflict Sri Lanka one witness the growing tendency of religious tension. In this circumstance expanding of the knowledge and understanding of different religious beliefs and practices has become vital. To address this issue we plan to have this dialogue program to further the understanding of different faiths and practices. Sixteen young people, both clergy and lay, belong to four major religions of Sri Lanka will participate in this dialogue program. This program has 6 sessions during a three months’ time period from July to September.