Bhante Madawela Punnaji (November 26, 1929 - July 27, 2018) from Sri Lanka was a scholar of the Pali Canon and also had extensive studies in science, medicine, and western psychology. He wrote the Foreword to author Dr. David N. Snyder's Buddha's Lists and has written and presented several other articles around the globe as well.
Born Pushpananda Madawela, Ven. Punnaji began meditating when he was five years old . As he grew up in Sri Lanka, he began getting interested in Buddhism while other children were starting school.
Academically, he went on to medical school to become a general practicioner, where his name was Dr. Pushpanda Madawela. Ten years later, the doctor changed his name to Ven. Madawela Punnaji and then changed aspirations to become a monk. In 1968, Rev. Madihe Pannaseela at Sri Vajiragnana Dharmaya Ayathanaya, Sri Lanka, ordained the now Ven. Punnaji as a monk.
Ven. Punnaji's ancestry traces to Herat Mudiyanselage Madawela Basnayake Nilame (1830), whose son was Sri Lankan politician Godfrey Edward Madawela (1878 - 1932). Ven. Punnaji's brother is Godfrey Ernest Madawela, pictured here.
Teacher at the Buddhist Maha Vihara
After the passing of the late Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda dhammawiki at the Brickfields Malaysian Buddhist Maha Vihara , Venerable Punnaji traveled there to give the eulogy for K. Sri Dhammandana and was such a good a teacher of the Dhamma dhammawiki that he was asked to stay, which he did.
Relations to Vipassana Foundation and Dhamma Wiki
Dr. Madawela Punnaji passed away on July 27, 2018 which was the Full Moon Day of July 2018. He gave Dhamma talks almost all of his life, virtually up to the day of his passing. He was 88 years old. He gave a Dhamma talk of over one hour on July 26, 2018 and then died peacefully in his sleep only a few hours later: