Ven. Thalangama Devananda Thero – Runner-up

Ven. Thalangama Devananda Thero was born in Sri Lanka and has spent 24 years as a fully ordained Theravada monk. Bhante is the heir to the Abbotship of Raja Maha Vihara Kotte. He founded the Indiana Buddhist Institute (Temple) in 2003 to promote Loving Kindness and Compassion to all. Bhante welcomes people from all walks of life and all faiths including no faiths to practice meditation and to grow loving kindness and compassion. Indiana Buddhist Temple is a spiritual home to all who practice and grow loving kindness, compassion, peace and happiness.

Indiana Buddhist Temple conducts weekly meditation classes and Sutta Study, regular meditation retreats and annual Buddhist events. Furthermore, Bhante conducts Dhamma Talks and meditation retreats to various places including correctional facilities with medium and maximum securities, US Army base, hospitals, hospice centers, senior facilities, yoga centers, universities, schools, Theravada, Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhist Temples and other meditation centers. Bhante services in the Dhamma have extended beyond the USA and Sri Lanka. He has lead chanting, Dhamma Sermons and meditation retreats globally including Canada and Indonesia as well as by radio in Malaysia.

Bhante actively promotes interfaith peaceful activities in Indiana. Bhante has participated in the local Three River Festival parade (part of an annual festival spanning nine days in mid-July that celebrates the heritage of Fort Wayne), where the monks chanted the Maha Mangala and Karaniya Metta suttas and shared Jataka tales. Bhante’s YouTube videos and website links on Buddhism are available for public. His compassion for others has impacted Sri Lankans around the world and extends beyond race, religion, country and all beings.

Bhante Devananda’s activities also extend to his homeland Sri Lanka. Bhante founded the Sadaham Foundation – Indiana that helps underprivileged seniors and children in Sri Lanka who strive for a living, by way of providing them with their basic needs. While the foundation’s original mission was compassionate outreach to economically and socially disadvantaged families, this has now expanded to the release of animals from slaughterhouses. Their work includes collecting reading glasses for underprivileged seniors and school supplies and uniforms for underprivileged students, building houses for needy families, donating supplies for families impacted by landslides, paying for medical treatment and funeral services on behalf of poor villagers, donating sewing machines, and providing medical treatment for elephants. Supplying flashlights and clothing, making donations to school funds, and building a pagoda for a rural temple in Badulla are also among the activities of this remarkable non-profit. Bhante also leads Sadaham Foundation to share food with local homeless shelters in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Bhante Devananda is an exceptional Sri Lankan American Buddhist Monk whom any Sri Lankan would be happy to know and learn from his good deeds.