The mystery of Hilda Jayewardenaramaya solved

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A number of years ago when I was helping George Klima update his Buddhism in Canada directory (before the Sumeru directory existed), there was a Sri Lankan temple in Ottawa called the Hilda Jayewardenaramaya. It seemed like an odd name for a Buddhist temple, but I assumed a “hilda” was some kind of place name in Sinhalese.

Later, after George retired and I started the canadianbuddhism.info directory, I tried to contact them a number of times, unsuccessfully. I assumed after a few years that they had closed and removed their entry from the database.

Now, someone in Ottawa recently told me they do exist, and sent me current contact information, so they are back in the directory as the Hilda Jayewardenaramaya Buddhist Monastery & Meditation Centre. Their website is: www.buddhisttempleottawa.org

There, I was able to discover their history:

It was a long felt need of the Theravada Buddhists, living in the National Capital Region of Canada, to have a Buddhist Centre for them to have their spiritual needs ministered. Although there were some temporary arrangements made by Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks to fulfill this requirement on several occasions, the main drawback was the lack of a permanent building. In the circumstances, 16 Sri Lankan Buddhist families organized themselves to meet this challenge, and in the process this drawback was obliterated by opening of a new Buddhist Vihara in Ottawa – Hilda Jayewardenaramaya, in 4th July 1997, under the patronage of Buddhist Congress of Canada (BCC) which was established in 4th July 1997.Late Dr. C.H.S. Jayewardena (former Professor of Criminology of Ottawa University) donated the building located at 1481 Heron Road, Ottawa, on 21 October 1998, as a memorial of his beloved wife, Hilda Jayewardena after whom this Vihara has been named.

In late 2007, the Hilda Jayewardenaramaya suffered some acute administrative problems and hence the custodianship of the institution was handed over to the West End Buddhist Center of Mississauga, Ontario, under the able guidance of Venerable Kulugammana Dhammawasa Thero and Venerable Brahmanagama.Muditha Thero.

Under the new administration, Venerable Akurugoda Punna Thero and Venerable Deliwe Indaratana Thero were stationed in the temple, and since 2008 the abbot Venerable Brahmanagama Muditha Thero and venerable Nugegalyaye Jinananda Thero have taken the reins of the temple administration. Venerable Pinikahane Maithree thero also resided at the monastery in 2010 until Venerable Kirinde Vijitha thero started his survive from November 2010 up to now.

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