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History

Since its beginnings in May 1983, the Alberta Buddhist Vihara Association (ABVA) has grown to its present status as a community oriented religious organization serving its members and the public at large. The past records show a group of founding members who felt the need for a Buddhist Association to serve the needs of Sri Lankan Buddhists living in Edmonton and surrounding communities. 

The inaugural committee and subsequent office bearers who were instrumental in initiating and sustaining the ABVA were: Andy Wickramasuriya, Sudu Vatagodakumbura, Saman Silva, Sanath and Eeshani De Silva, Nick De Silva, Lakshman Makavita, Ratnasiri Fernando, Edwin Wijedasa, Dr. Tissa Kappagoda, Asoke Weerasinghe, Mahendra and Chandrani Wijesinghe, Lakshaman Samarasinghe, Raja and Pushpa Liyanage, Dr. Mano Senaratne and Nimal Rajapakse.  In 1994, the ABVA received the Registered Charitable Association status from Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. This has enabled the ABVA to issue tax receipts to acknowledge donations.

The late, Venerable Dr. Havanpola Ratanasara of the Dharmavijaya Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles, California was the first patron who guided the initial phases of the fledgling ABVA in 1983 and for a few years thereafter. Since the passing away of Venerable Ratanasara, several patrons have been invited by the ABVA to provide guidance. They are:
Securing a Building for the ABVA was a long awaited requirement for its members and the community. In 2002, Mahendra Wijayasinghe and the President at the time, Raja Liyanage, laid the foundation to achieve this goal by setting up a mode of funding through the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Control Board’s (Casino) Volunteer Program. During the same time period , Mahendra initiated a search for a suitable monk for our community. With the recommendation of the patron monks, Venerable Henepola Gunaratane, Venerable Madawela Punnaji and Venerable Madawela Seelawimala, he selected Venerable Talgaswewe Seelananda and initiated the sponsorship to obtain his permanent residency status.

In the spring of 2006, under the leadership of Bandula Samaratunga, the President at the time, the ABVA purchased a building in the North Millbourne community at 2329, Millbourne Road West NW, Edmonton. After fully renovating the building in late June, the inauguration of the new Buddhist Centre was held with the blessing of two of the patron monks Venerable Gunaratne and Venerable Punnaji, realizing a long awaited dream of the members and the community. On August 1, 2006, after receiving permanent residency, Venerable Talgaswewe Seelananda arrived in Edmonton as the Abbot and established the new Samatha Vipassana Meditation Centre (SVMC).  In 2007, Venerable Seelananda established a well structured Dhamma School for the children of the community. He published weekly and monthly newsletters, and wrote and published Dhamma books and several Dhamma booklets during his stay in Edmonton. In the fall of 2010, he left Edmonton to pursue his goal of devoting more time for meditation for his spiritual development.

Venerable Galkulame Medankara became a resident monk at the SVMC in the summer of 2008. He served the community providing Dhamma services until 2012. In the spring of 2012 he left Edmonton to pursue further education in California.

Venerable Mathumagala Chandananda became a resident monk at the SVMC in July 2011 as a result of selection and invitation by President, Chitra Rajapakse, on the recommendation of Venerable Kukulpane Sudassi.  Venerable Makola Nanda arrived in July 2012 also by invitation of Chitra Rajapaske on the recommendation of Venerable Chandananda.

In the summer of 2013, again under the leadership of Bandula Samaratunga, the President at the time, the ABVA purchased a spacious and beautiful two story building in the Ridgewood community at 3454 - 37 Street NW, Edmonton. Since this building was well maintained and built with an open concept by the previous owner, it provides a serene environment to conduct Dhamma services and the Dhamma School. A significant donation of $100,000 provided by late Ms. Lynn Cote, a long-time Dhamma friend of the ABVA, was instrumental in the purchase of the new building. The official opening of the building was held on September 26, 2014, with the presence of five venerable monks chanting Pirith overnight followed by a Heel Dane. The library of the new Centre was named the “Lynn Cote Memorial Library” to honour the memory of late Ms. Lynn Cote.

The ABVA also recognizes the services of its past Presidents for their services: Mahendra Wijayasinghe,  Nimal Rajapkse, Liyana Jayathilake, Chitra Rajapakse, Bandula Samarasinghe and Thareesh Kariyawasam.

Among the other distinguished venerable monks who have been hosted by the ABVA over the years are:
We owe our gratitude to these and other venerable monks not listed above for their compassion and guidance in the Dhamma.