A Thoughtful Life: Professor Karunadasa Looks Back on His Career, Teaching, and Buddhist Studies

By Raymond Lam | Buddhistdoor Global | 2015-06-19 |

At 81 and having endured cataract surgery in Colombo last September, one could be forgiven for thinking that Yakupitiyage Karunadasa, known affectionately to his students as Professor K, wouldn’t have been keen to teach at the Buddha Dharma Centre in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district. However, while he admits to feeling a bit tired, he has nothing but praise for his time at this academic institute, where he has been teaching early Buddhism and Abhidhamma since May (he will finish his course and return to Sri Lanka in July).

“Even now, I enjoy teaching. Teaching gives me a sense of self-fulfillment,” he told me when we met at the center on a sweltering June afternoon. His diminutive, fragile frame houses an extremely formidable mind and an enthusiastic devotion to Buddhism. During our conversation, I invited him to reflect on his pedagogy and intellectual life, which in turn have helped his students grow into more mature, thoughtful people…

Prof. Karunadasa at the Buddha Dharma Centre, Hong Kong on 16 June 2015. From Buddhistdoor InternationalProf. Karunadasa at the Buddha Dharma Centre, Hong Kong on 16 June 2015. From Buddhistdoor International
Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera. From archives.dailynews.lkGunapala Piyasena Malalasekera. From archives.dailynews.lk
Wijesinghe Sugathadasa Karunaratne speaking to American secretary of state Warren Christopher (1925-2011) during his time as Sri Lankan ambassador. From wikipedia.orgWijesinghe Sugathadasa Karunaratne speaking to American secretary of state Warren Christopher (1925-2011) during his time as Sri Lankan ambassador. From wikipedia.org

About Author