The Trust

The Chairman's Message

Anagarika Dharmapala had a multifaceted personality. He worked on numerous projects simultaneously. Therefore, it is easy to give him one-dimensional labels and take his words out of context. However, to do so is to ignore that he was responding to a conflicting body of issues as they arose around him in the complex world of colonial power and resistance he had to navigate.

As the Trustees of his legacy, myself and other Managing Trustees, are honoured to be able to continue the work he envisioned of the Trust. The Anagarika Dharmapala Trust does not condone or support the use of his words that are not cited by credible sources, that are misquoted, misreported, taken in parts and out of context and/or incorrectly paraphrased and, in particular, used to incite racial and religious hatred.

Anagarika Dharmapala's inner aspiration was his spiritual growth. For that, he worked tirelessly; waking up very early in the morning to meditate and finally renouncing even his life as an Anagarika ('The Homeless One') to enter the Buddhist clergy. He determined as follows:

My life will be given birth after birth to Humanity. I will practice paramitas. I will save the world. I will take vivarana from the coming Buddha.

May Anagarika Dharmapala's aspirations come true.

Sudhammika Hewavitarne


The Vision

Anagarika Hewavitarne Dharmapala, after a lifetime of activism on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka in general, of uniting the Buddhists of the world and promoting the Buddhist philosophy worldwide, having reached an advanced age and wishing to give up the life of a layman and become a Buddhist monk, transferred all his private properties and those gifts he had received from various parties, to a Trust known as the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust, to perpetuate the work he had begun. The Trust Deed was signed in Colombo by the Anagarika Dharmapala on the 29th of November, 1930 and attested by Julius & Creasy, Notaries Public. He handpicked his nominees to be the first Trustees of the Trust that bore his name. The objects of the Trust were announced to the public through the local newspapers.

Several strands clearly emerge in the objectives of the Trust. Anagarika Dharmapala envisions the Trust reviving his mission for Buddhism through the work of the Maha Bodhi Society; the preserving Buddhists viharas; helping orphanages and engaging in social service activities to uplift the lives of the poor; and publishing journals and disseminating pali texts and their translation into local languages. He also placed great emphasis on the revival of Buddhist arts and crafts and centres of learning, including a university along the lines of the ancient university at Nalanda in India. He envisioned a dynamic exchange of ideas between the East and the West through scholar monks and researchers.

He also wished to promote social studies and vocational skills among youth through the establishment of schools, and trade and industrial schools. Significantly he specifies that these should be for “either sex”, thereby establishing himself as one of the earliest proponents of education and professionalism for women in any vocation. The Trustees were expected to appoint succeeding Trustees, and in 1947, the Public Trustee of the Government of Sri Lanka was added as the ex-officio Custodian Trustee of the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust.


The Mission

The Anagarika Dharmapala Trust has been responsible for continuing the work of the Anagarika Dharmapala by carrying the message of the Buddha to India, Britain and other countries by sending Bhikkhu missionaries on Dhammadutha (Buddhist missionary) service. It also supports the Maha Bodhi Societies of Sri Lanka, India and Britain, and the viharas (temples), centres and pilgrims’ rests that are under its management. In Sri Lanka, the Trust manages a Free Ayurvedic Hospital in Colombo; finances and supports temples, conducts an Education programme for novice Bhikkhus (samanera monks); manages orphanages and schools; prints and publishes Buddhist Literature, and implements such matters as are provided for in the Trust Deed.


The Anagarika Dharmapala Trust:

Assists novice monks in their religious and general education.

Trains monks for Dhammadutha (Buddhist missionary) service and sends them to Centres overseas.

Has representation overseas at Buddhist temples and in Maha Bodhi Society activities.

Offers ayurvedic medical treatment to needy patients free of charge.

Helps the restoration of rural temples.

Prints books and reproduces out of print publications.

Donates the Trust's publications to Dhamma schools and those interested in the study of Buddhism

Administers the Anagarika Dharmapala International Research Centre at the Trust head office in Colombo.

Offers alms to monks. .

Supports residential care centres for orphaned boys established by the Trust’s associates

Supports secondary schools in educational and social service activities


The Managing Trustees

The Trust is overseen by a board of six members

Former Trustees

Trustee Name From To
N. Don Stephen Silva 01.12.1930 19.05.1942
Neil Hewavitarne 01.12.1930 19.05.1942
Rajasinghe Hewavitarne 01.12.1930 19.05.1942
S. K. Moonasinghe 01.12.1930 19.05.1942
U. B. Dolapihilla 01.12.1930 19.05.1942
J. R. Jayewardene (sole Managing Trustee) 25.05.1942 30.09.1954
H. W. Amarasuriya 30.09.1954 06.03.1981
Nalin Moonasinghe 30.09.1954 31.07.1974
R. A. Rathnapala 30.09.1954 27.11.1957
Mudaliyar P.D. Ratnatunga 30.09.1954 27.11.1957
Gamani N. Jayasuriya 27.11.1957 30.11.1995
P. Upajiva Ratnatunga 27.11.1957 31.07.1974
Wimaladharma Hewavitarne 27.11.1957 06.03.1981
Lalith K. Hewavitarne 07.05.1968 03.05.1984
Singha Weerasekera 01.08.1974 25.02.2002
Nanda Amarasinghe 01.08.1974 18.05.1995
Noel Wijenaike 14.08.1981 04.11.2014
Prasanna Jayasuriya 01.12.1995 06.01.2015
Anil Moonasinghe 16.02.1999 14.09.2000