Agga Maha Pandita, Agga Maha Saddhamma Jotikadhaja
Founder of Ratanadipa Buddhist Temple
U Paññāvamsa (1928-2017)(Burmese: ဦးပညာဝံသ; Pyinnyawuntha), commonly known as the Penang Sayadaw was born of Father U Ba Tu and Mother Daw Kyi of Kyone Twin Hsin Ku village, Wakhema Township, Ayeyawaddy Division, on Thursday 10 January 1928. He was ordained as a novice at the age of fourteen and received higher ordination as Bhikkhu on 16 April 1948. He studied Pali and Buddhism in Wakema, Yandoon and Mandalay. In 1953, he passed Dhammacariya, the highest examination in Pali, with distinction. The government of Burma awarded him the degree of Sasanadaja Siripavara Dhammacariya.
He was ordained on 16, April 1948 with Singu Kyaung Sayadaw as his Preceptor.
He learnt Pariyatti from Kyin Taing Hsin Ku Kyey Ywa Kyaung Sayadaw, Wakhema Township, Lecturing Sayadaws of Sadhamma Pariyatti Pali Tekatho, Nyaungdon Township, and Nayaka Lecturing Sayadaws of Masoyeing Taik, Mandalay. He passed Sudhamma lecturership examination, Nyaungdon and Government Dhamma cariya Examination. He received the religious title “Sasanadaja Siripavara Dhammacariya”.
He taught Buddhist philosophy and literature to the monks and novices at Popa Monastery in Nyaungdon Masoyein Taik in Mandalay and Aung Mingala Theidi Sarthin Taik in Yangon. He was lecturer in Abhidhamma at the University of Oriental Studies, U.S.A.
In 1954, he was selected by the Government of Burma for missionary work in Coco Island. He extended his missionary work to Sri Lanka and Andaman Islands. He successfully organised and founded the Andaman Buddhist Mission. Then he went to Madras to supervise thirteen branches of Buddhist missionaries in Southern India. From 1965 to 1969 he was back in Rangoon to serve as a lecturer at the Aungmingalasiddhi monastery. In 1970, he was selected by the Government of Burma to succeed the resident Chief Monk of the Burmese Buddhist Temple, Penang, Malaysia.
In Malaysia, during 1970 to 1979, he served as a religious advisor to the Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia and as chief examiner of the Malaysia Buddhist examination syndicate. He founded the Sunday Buddhist Institute, an organization for the study of Buddhism and meditation.
He became a lecturer in Buddha Abhidhamma at the University of Oriental Studies, Los Angeles, in 1979. Then he was selected as vice-president of the Buddhist Sanga Council of Southern California. He founded the International Burmese Buddhist Sangha Organisation in 1985.
He built Burmese Buddhist Monasteries in Los Angeles, Sydney, Chicago, Toronto, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Rangoon and Auckland during 1979 to 2002.
He wrote books in English including Maha Paritta Pali Sacred Verses, The Dawn of Buddhism, The Ten Perfections.
In recognition for his works, the Myanmar government conferred on him the religious titles of Agga Maha Pandita (Foremost Great Wise One) and Agga Maha Saddhamma Jotika (Foremost Great Light of the Sublime Dharma) in 1994 and 1998 respectively.
At the age of 90, on 24 November 2017, he has passed away peacefully from chronic kidney disease in Penang, Malaysia.
Temples Built by Sayadaw U Pannavamsa
1979 The Burmese Buddhist Monastery in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
1986 The Buddhist Monastery in Sydney, Australia.
1987 The Buddhist Temple in Chicago, U.S.A.
1987 The Mahadhammika Buddhist Temple, Toronto, Canada. မဟာဓမ္မိကကျောင်းတော်ကြီး
1991 The Burmese Buddhist Temple, Singapore. မဟာသာသနရံသီမြန်မာကျောင်း
1999 The Myanmar Malaysia Buddhist Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ဓမ္မိကာရာမမြန်မာကျောင်း
1999 The Maha Santisukha Buddha Sasana Center, Rangoon, Myanmar (Burma). မဟာသန္တိသုခ ဗုဒ္ဓသာသနာပြုကျောင်းတော်ကြီး
2002 The Ratanadipa Buddhist Temple, Auckland, New Zealand. ရတနာဒီပကျောင်းတော်ကြီး
Books Written by Sayadaw U Pannavamsa
1973 Hand book of Buddhist Recitation.
1976 The Essential of Buddhism
1990 Dhammikarama Abhidhamma Pali Chanting
1995 The Ten Perfections
1998 The Book on Pairs (Yamaka) Vol.1
1999 The Literal Teaching of the Buddha, Part 1
2000 The Compendium of Buddhism
2002 Dawn of Buddhism
2003 Maha Paritta Sacred Verses
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