Galboda Gnanissara Thera

Galboda Gnanissara Thera (Sinhala: ගලබොඩ ඥානිස්සර හිමියන්), one of the most respected Buddhist prelates, is the head priest and the chief incumbent of the Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka.[1][2] He is also popularly known as Podi Hamuduruwo, which translates to "Little Monk".[3] In 2003, Thera was appointed by Malwatta chapter as the Sanghanayaka of the Western Province in Sri Lanka.[4] He was also the Sanghanayaka of the Sri Lankan Buddhist temples in the United States but renounced that position later.[when?] Thera is widely recognized for various community service endeavors undertaken by him.[2]

Galboda Gnanissara Thera
ගලබොඩ ඥානිස්සර හිමියන්
Venerable Galboda Gnanissara Thera.jpg
Galboda Gnanissara Thera at the Gangaramaya Temple.
TitleChief Incumbent &
Other namesPodi Hamuduruwo
Born (1943-12-14) 14 December 1943 (age 77)
Galboda, Matara
Nationality Sri Lanka
Home townGalboda, Matara
Other namesPodi Hamuduruwo
TempleGangaramaya Temple
Senior posting
TeacherDewundara Ratanajothi
Based inColombo
Period in office1959 - present &
2003 - present
PredecessorVacissara Nayake Thera
November 8, 1954
Present postChief Incumbent of Gangaramaya Temple &
Sanghanayaka of the WP

Early lifeEdit

Galboda Gnanissara Thera was born in 1943 in the village Galboda in the Matara Municipal Council, Sri Lanka.[5] At the age of eight, he was brought to the Gangaramaya temple to be ordained. It was then that he was given the name "Podi Hamuduruwo" (Little Monk).[3]

Ordination & ConsecrationEdit

At the age of eight, Galboda Gnanissara Thera was brought to the Gangaramaya temple to be ordained. Dewundara Ratanajothi (Devundara Vaccissara Thera) who was then the Chief Incumbent of the temple was one of his teachers.[3] By 1959, Devundara Vaccissara Thera was ailing, had gone visually impaired and disabled. Due to his disability, the temple leadership including Vaccissara Thera himself asked Galboda Gnanissara Thera to take over the administration of the temple. He was 16 years old at that time.[2][3] After taking over administration of the temple, Galboda Gnanissara Thera collected LKR 500 to meet the medical expanses of ailing Devundara Vaccissara Thera.[2]

In 2003, Galboda Gnanissara Thera was appointed by Malwatta Chapter as the Sanghanayaka of the Western Province in Sri Lanka.[4] He was also the Sanghanayaka of the Sri Lankan Buddhist temples in the United States but renounced the position later.[2] The Asgiriya Chapter has awarded “Darshana Visharada” to him which is equivalent to a doctorate degree.[4]

Community serviceEdit

Galboda Gnanissara Thera has initiated several community service projects in Sri Lanka, Staten Island, Birmingham and in Singapore. The community services are primarily in fields of vocational education, homeless shelters for children & elderly people, sanitation and cleanliness.[2][4] In the field of vocational education, the Gangaramaya temple provides gratis vocational training. Over 7,000 people attend the classes daily and training for over 50 technical courses is imparted. Training is held in the "Sri Jinaratana Training Institute" and some of the subjects are secretarial courses, English language, electronics, motor mechanism, bricolage (tinkering), painting, blacksmith, welding, electric wiring etc.[6]

Galboda Gnanissara Thera started old age home, which is operated by the Gangaramaya temple in Kataragama. The old age home is run primarily as a homeless shelter for old people who have been abandoned by their families or have no family.[3] In Kataragama and in Kotte, he has started orphanages. Open to children from all religions, the orphanages provide shelter, schooling and upbringing to children abandoned by their parents. Children with intellectual disability and physical disability are also accommodated there.[3]

Galboda Gnanissara Thera also set up the Sumangala Dhamma School and a preschool on the island Singithi Uyana.[4] Towards sanitation and cleanliness, he has raised money and donated toiletries and urinals to various monastic schools in Sri Lanka.[3] In order to set an example and to promote sanitation and cleanliness, he has been spotted washing and cleaning toilets.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Podi Hamuduruwo". Gangaramaya Temple website. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "The peerless Podi Hamuduruwo of Gangaramaya legacy". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "The Little Monk With Big Ideas". The Sunday Leader. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Venerable Galboda Siri Gnanissara". Archived from the original on 11 June 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Galaboda Gnanissara Thero celebrates 70th birthday". News First. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Vocational training". Gangaramaya Temple website. Retrieved 21 May 2016.