March 9, 2017; Pictures of dhātu added June 10, 2017; Revised September 7, 2017; February 6, 2018; desana on jhāna/magga phala added April 28, 2018; revised #4, #5 on July 18, 2020; February 16, 2021; latest update on September 6, 2021
1. It is with great sadness that I report the Parinibbāna of my Noble teacher, Waharaka Abhyaratanalankara Thēro a month ago, on February 9, 2017.
- Even though he had not confirmed attaining the Arahanthood, several years ago he had declared that he would not be reborn again. That means he would at least reach the Antara Parinibbāna state; see the video below.
- The Antara Parinibbāna state is reached when someone dies with three samyōjanā of kāma rāga, rūpa rāga, and arūpa rāga removed. (But without the removal māna, uddacca, and avijjā samyōjanā). Then one cannot grasp a new bhava in any of the 31 realms).
- The gandhabba would still survive the death of the body and come out and stay alive until the kammic energy for the human bhava is exhausted. At that time, since a new bhava cannot be grasped, the actual anupadisēsa Nibbāna will take place. That is explained at the discussion forum topic “Antara Parinibbana” and also in the post, “Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipiṭaka.”
- From the accounts below, it appears that he did attain Parinibbāna (i.e., bypassed the Antara Parinibbāna state) at the dying moment.
2. When the news came out first, it was not clear whether the Thēro had passed away or whether he was in Nirōdha Samāpatti. Breathing stops while one is in Nirōdha Samāpatti, but the body does not get cold. The body was warm for six days, but then it started to get cold. Therefore, his death was not declared for six days.
- Even though I made trips to Sri Lanka in 2014 and 2015, both times, I did not get an opportunity to meet him because he was not well.
3. He was the first person to extract the true meanings of many critical Pāli words in the Tipiṭaka in recent times— after hundreds of years.
- It appears that his Patisambhidhā Ñāna (the knowledge to extract the meanings of words) was at the same level as many of renowned Arahants at the time of the Buddha.
4. As I discussed in the post, “Four Conditions for Attaining Sōtapanna Magga/Phala,” one has to learn the correct Dhamma from a Buddha or a true disciple of the Buddha. He was able to bridge a gap that will hopefully last until the end of the Buddha Sāsana (Ministry) of Buddha Gotama, i.e., for 2400 years from now for a total of 5000 years.
- I am grateful to his followers in Sri Lanka (Ven. Attidiye Sudheethadheera and others) who made recordings of thousands of hours of his dēsanā over the years. They have organized those recordings here: “Waharaka Sadaham dēsana” (updated September 11, 2017).
- Unfortunately, those are available only in the Sinhala language. I will do my best to convey these actual teachings in English on this website.
- I was able to meet Ven. Walasmulle Abhaya and Ven. Attidiye Sudheethadheera (both of whom were laypeople at that time) on a trip to Sri Lanka in early 2014 and also in 2015. They provided me with many dēsana recordings before they became available on the internet. I am also grateful to Dr. Neranga Abeysinghe, with whom I had many discussions. He also updated me on recent events of Waharaka Thēro‘s last days.
- Ven. Walasmulle Abhaya conducts regular dēsanā and meditation sessions. Recordings of those at “Nirapekshathwayemaga.”
- September 7, 2017: Just yesterday, I came to know about Ven. Rathupasketiye Vimukthirathana in Sri Lanka. His desanas (in Sinhala) at: “Ariya Asankathaya.”
- August 15, 2019: I have forgotten to add a link to a good set of English dēsanā: “Dharmayai Obai Sermons – English (From 2017-07-30)“. I have not met this Venerable, but these dēsanā are based on Waharaka interpretations.
- July 18, 2020: Cultivating jhāna is a good way to make progress on the Path. However, initially, those jhānā are anariya in nature. As one makes progress, they will be converted to Ariya jhāna. Some people may be under the false impression that getting into jhāna necessarily means magga phala. Furthermore, even the first Ariya jhāna requires the REMOVAL of kāma rāga. See, “Samādhi, Jhāna (Dhyāna), Magga Phala.”
5. April 28, 2018: Here is a desana by Waharaka Thero where he presents clear evidence that jhāna is not necessary to attain magga phala. (it is in the Sinhala language):
- However, cultivating jhāna is a good way to make progress on the Path, even after (or especially after) getting to the Sotapanna stage.
- The main point Thero makes is that we know that there are jāti Sōtapannas born in the human realm. But if a jhāna were REQUIRED to attain the Sōtapanna stage, then that person WOULD NOT be born in the human realm, but in a Brahma realm corresponding to that jhāna.
- Furthermore, just listening to the correct Buddha Dhamma and/or attaining jhāna does not make one become a Sōtapanna. The Thero points out that Devadatta ended up in an apāya, even though he had not only cultivated jhāna but had supernormal powers (iddhi) too. Devadatta obviously listened to many discourses from the Buddha but was not able to attain the Sōtapanna stage of Nibbāna.
- The critical point is that without comprehending Tilakkhana, just getting being able to get to jhāna is of no use. But one can use jhāna effectively to comprehend Tilakkhana. The best way to verify that one has attained Ariya jhāna is to check whether one has lost any desire for all sense pleasures (including sex.)
6. Last but not least, I must also express my gratitude to Ven. Meevanapalane Dhammalankara, who had been in close association with the Waharaka Thēro. I first came across these correct interpretations when I came across one of his dēsanā on the internet on July 30, 2013.
- Ven. Meevanapalane Dhammalankara’s dēsanā at “Sirisaddharmaya“.
7. December 12, 2020: Over the past couple of weeks, I have been following a series of desanas from Susila Thero. He is in Sri Lanka and these discourses are in Sinhala. These are excellent and provide deep insights.
- Those who understand the Sinhala language can follow these discourses at “Lowthuru Arana ලොව්තුරු අරණ“
- I will, of course, incorporate those new insights in my posts.
- December 15, 2020: The contents in the above long discourses have been separated into topics at the following website (also in Sinhala.) I am not sure how well that is done. “දහම් ආලෝකය-Dham Alokaya“
8. September 6, 2021: I have been following a series of desanas by a 16-year old Sri Lankan over the past few months. He recently became a bhikkhu by the name Ven. Botale Siri Ariya Vimutti.
- It is apparent to me that to teach Buddha Dhamma with such insight at such a young age, he is likely to be a Jāti Sotapanna.
- Those who understand the Sinhala language can follow these discourses at:
9. June 6, 2017: I received some pictures of “dhātu” collected after the cremation of Waharaka Thēro‘s body. Some of an Arahant‘s bones become crystallized. These are called “dhātu,” and they cannot be destroyed by fire or anything else. I selected the following two pictures out of many sent by Ven. Attidiye Sudheethadheera and Dr. Neranga Abeysinghe.
10. By the way, here is a historical picture of the “Tooth relic” of the Buddha kept at the “Daladā Maligāwa” in Kandy, Sri Lanka:
- Such Dhāthu of the Buddha or an Arahant are considered to be indestructible up to the end of the current “Buddha Sāsana,” which will last roughly another 2500 years.
11. Here are two youtube videos of the funeral of the most venerable Thēro (the speech by Mr. Chandana Siriwardhana — where he stated the possibility of Antarā Parinibbāna of the Thēro — is in Sinhala language):