The Venerable Kassapa Thera

It is with a deep sense of gratitude and honour that I send this message of felicitation and best wishes to the Most Venerable Witarandeniye Kassapa Thera, the Chief Incumbent of the Birmingham Buddhist Viharaya and the Director of the International Buddhist Relief Fund (IBRO), United Kingdom. At this momentous occasion, my memories revert to the 1990s, at which I was destined to read for my Ph. D at the University of Lancaster, England. One of the most cherished opportunities fondling in my memories was, that during this period, I was fortunate to enjoy the adorable association of the Venerable Thera.

Since then, we became intimate friends and as a result, I was privileged to learn many lessons from him in terms of my personal and academic life. To be honest, it is with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation, I note that despite his assistance and encouragement I would never be able to complete my Ph. D programme. In my personal understanding, the Venerable Kassapa Thera is a ‘living symbol’ of utmost dedication, courage, altruism, and intimate friendship. The greatest mystery of his success and achievement is his utmost patience and courage amidst a numerous vicissitudes and challenges.

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The very fact becomes obvious when we consider his decades long missionary and social welfare activities launched throughout the world. In respect with his missionary activities, nobody could have ever imagined how he involved in his successfully launched missionary functions in a totally different country, prevalent of a totally different culture, like Tanzania, where the majority of population is Muslims. Thanks to his dedicated service, even today, Buddhist religio-social activities are in active practice in the country.

Later on, he was invited to extend his dhammaduta activities to United Kingdom by the Indian Buddhists living in that country. The direct and memorable result of his mission to the United Kingdom was the establishment of the Lester Buddhist Vihara in Leicester, and the Birmingham Buddhist Vihara in Birmingham. In addition to that he has travelled throughout the world with the pious objective of propagating the Buddha Dhamma. In fact, the Venerable Thera can be considered an exemplary Buddhist issionary monk who has dedicated himself to observe perfectly the injunction made by the Buddha: ‘Charatha Bhikkhave carikam bahujanahitaya bahujanasukhaya (Walk O Bhikkhus, and wander for the well being and happiness of the world). In addition to his missionary activities, the Venerable Thera has also proved practically the fact that the role of a Buddhist monk should not be confined merely to religio-spiritual arena itself, but has to extend himself towards the community and social welfare context as well, gullibly following the path of the Buddhist doctrine of multi-faceted functions of a Buddhist disciple.

This intuitive visionary notion has directed him to initiate an impressive social welfare programme across the world. As a result, it was under his guidance and direction the ‘International Buddhist Relief Organization’ (IBRO) was established in 1992. The contributions made by this organization during many a calamity and conflict across the world is enormous and praiseworthy.

Finally, it should be emphasized that whenever I ponder over his great achievements and accomplishments, it reminds me of the following stanza of the Dhammapada: “By effort, earnest striving, discipline and self-control, let the wise person to make for himself an island which cannot be overwhelmed by flood”.

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The Venerable Kassapa Thera. (2016, Dec 24). Retrieved from