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The Founder


The Venerable Witiyala Seewalie Nayaka Thera,abbot and president of Minnesota Buddhist Vihara, was born and raised in Sri Lanka. He was ordained as a samanera at age 12 and received higher ordination (upasampada) at age 20. Seewalie Thera has had a distinguished academic career spanning both monastic-pirivena and modern university in Sri Lanka. He has earned the following degrees: BA with honors, MA, DLit and Royal Pandit (Oriental Studies Society of Sri Lanka) in addition to diplomas in Buddhism, Pali and Bible Studies. In 1996, he was appointed the 27th, and thus far the youngest, principal of the historic Parama Dhamma Cetiya Pirivena, the premier center of Buddhist monastic education in modern Sri Lanka. He arrived in the United States in 2003. Since 2004, he has resided in Minnesota as the president-founder of the Minnesota Buddhist Vihara. He also serves as a volunteer chaplain for the Minneapolis Police Department.

On June 17, 2011, Malwatta Chapter of Siam Sect appointed him as the Deputy Chief monk (Sangha Nayaka) of North America with the title “Dharmakeerthi Sri Pragnarama” for his services to disseminate the teachings of the Buddha (Buddha Dhamma) in Minnesota and surrounding states. Mahinda Rajapakse, president of Sri Lanka, invited Venerable Seewalie to president’s official residence “Temple Trees” to honor and recognize monk's new position.

Message From Founder

Dear Friends,

I am honored to serve the mission of the Nebraska Buddhist Vihara: to share the Buddha's message of Peace and Happiness and help create peace and harmony within and ourselves and in the surrounding world. Vihara is open to people of all faiths traditions and cultures. We welcome you come and see, to participate in spiritual practices such as meditation, observance of precepts, discussions of Dhamma (Buddha’s teachings) and Buddhist rituals.

Presently, I reside in Minnesota and serve as the Abbott of the Buddhist Vihara there. We have the vision of sharing the Buddha’s teachings with all those who are interested, in the five state region of the Upper Mid-West. With this aim in mind we will be presenting Buddhist teachings to children and adults in Nebraska. We invite your active participation in the activities of the Vihara. The Nebraska Buddhist Vihara is affiliated with the Minnesota Buddhist Vihara.

Opening a Buddhist temple has been compared to the closing down of many prisons. The teachings of the Buddha have the power to close many prisons within and without, when people live according to the Dhamma. Please join us in this noble endeavor. As the Buddha instructs us, “Dhammo have rakkhati dhamma cari”, the Dhamma protects those who protect the Dhamma. Wishing you and all beings Peace and Happiness.

With Metta -- Loving Kindness to All

Venerable Witiyala Seewalie


    • "Hatreds never cease through hatred in this world; through love alone they cease. This is an eternal law." -- Dhammapada 1:4
    • Heedfulness leads to immortality. Heedlessness leads to death. The heedful are immortal. The heedless, though living, are like the dead. -- Dhammapada 2:1