Madawela Punnaji

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Madewela Punnaji
Born 1930
Sri Lanka
Nationality USA
Education M.D.
Occupation (formerly a physician), Buddhist monk
Known for Buddhist teacher, author, monk
Home town Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Religion Buddhism, Theravada

Bhante Madewela Punnaji is from Sri Lanka and is a scholar of the Pali Canon and also has extensive studies in science, medicine, and western psychology. He wrote the Foreword to author David N. Snyder's Buddha’s Lists and has written and presented several other articles around the globe as well.


Early Dr. Pushpanda

Born Pushpananda Madawela, Ven. Punnaji began meditating when he was five years old [1]. 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.


Godfrey, Hilda and Gamini, Ven. Punnaji's family

Ven. Punnaji's ancestry traces to Herat Mudiyanselage Madawela Basnayake Nilame (1830), whose son was Sri Lankan politician Godfrey Edward Madawela (1878 - 1932)[2]. Ven. Punnaji's brother is Godfrey Ernest Madawela, pictured here.

Leadership of the Buddhist Maha Vihara

Ven. Punnaji took the place of the famous and late Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda in Malaysia as spiritual head of the Brickfields Malaysian Buddhist Maha Vihara [1]. He traveled there to give the eulogy for K. Sri Dhammandana and was such a good a teacher of the Dhamma that he was asked to stay, which he did.

Relations to Vipassana Foundation

A member of the Board of Directors of Vipassana Foundation, Ven. Punnaji wrote the forward to Buddha's Lists.


  1. Chai Mei Ling. "A scientific approach to religion". Retrieved on September 28, 2008.
  2. Githal Madawela. "Madawela Family Tree". Retrieved on September 28, 2008.

External links