Waharaka movement and puredhamma.net: warning

Although knowledgeble members will laugh off this group, I think a warning of them is warranted.
I simply add some useful citations.

Dhammanando: So now I’ll return to the subject, though not in the way that you request. Instead I propose to take a close look at just one randomly selected page from the Pure Dhamma website. (Actually I started out by randomly selecting three pages, intending to comment on all of them, but there were so many mistakes on just the first one that I’ve decided to call it a day).

The page in question purports to be about the meaning of the saṃ part of the word saṃsāra and is found in a section of the website ominously entitled “Key Dhamma Concepts that have Been Hidden”.

The article opens with the exciting revelation of a Pali term whose meaning has allegedly been “hidden for thousands of years” but has now been rediscovered.

Pure Dhamma wrote:1. A key word, the meaning of which has been hidden for thousands of years, is “san” (pronounced like son).
Sad to say, saṃ is actually one of the most common prefixes in Pali and Sanskrit, as well as in many modern Indian languages. There is no mystery to the word at all. Functionally it’s simply the Indic equivalent of the Latin “com-”. Its range of meanings in both Pali and Sanskrit is well-known and well-documented and at no time has its meaning been “hidden”.

However, by asserting that the meaning of some key Pali term has been hidden or lost or misunderstood by lesser mortals, messianic revisionist Theravadins grant themselves the luxury of assigning whatever new meaning they like to it…

Pure Dhamma wrote:“San’ is basically the term for “good and bad things we acquire” while we exist anywhere in the 31 realms; see, “The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma“.
Not according to the texts, which consistently explain saṃ in the noun saṃsāra and in the verb saṃsarati as being a term used in the sense of abbocchinnaṃ , an adverb meaning ‘continuously’ or ‘without interruption’. For example:

  • Khandhānañ’ ca paṭipāṭi, dhātu-āyatanāna ca,
    Abbocchinnaṃ vattamānā, saṃsāro’ ti pavuccatī ti.

The process of the aggregates, elements and bases,
Proceeding without interruption is called ‘saṃsāra’.
(DA. ii. 496)

Pure Dhamma wrote:2. There is also a reason for calling what we “pile up” as “san“. In Pali and Sinhala, the word for numbers is “sankhyä“, and sankhyä = “san” + “khyä“, meaning (add &multiply) + (subtract & divide), i.e., sankhya is what is used for addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division. From this, “san” gives the idea of “piling up” (addition and multiplication); “khyä” gives the idea of “removal” (subtraction and division).

Therefore “san” is used to indicate things we do in the sansaric journey; see below for examples.
It’s correct that the saṃ- in saṃsāra and the saṅ- in saṅkhyā are one and the same verbal prefix. But from their sharing of the same prefix it doesn’t follow that the meaning of saṃsāra can be derived from the meaning of saṅkhyā .

We wouldn’t say, for example, that the meaning of ‘transport’ can be inferred from the meaning of ‘transgender’, or that the meaning of ‘confetti’ can shed light on the meaning of ‘community’ just because the two items in each pair happen to share the same Latin prefixes.

Pure Dhamma wrote:“Khyä” or “Khaya” is used to indicate removal. Nibbana is attained via removal of defilements (raga, dosa, moha), and thus Nibbana is “ragakkhaya“, “dosakkhaya“, and “mohakkhaya“.
Etymologically there is no connection between the -khyā in saṅkhyā and the khaya in rāgakkhaya . One is derived from the verb saṅkhāyati (to count or calculate) and the other from the verb khayati (to wither). The disparateness of the two can be seen even more starkly in Sanskrit, where their respective cognates are saṅkhāyati and kṣinoti .

Like ‘dick’ and ‘dyke’ or ‘blob’ and ‘bulb’, khaya and khyā are unrelated words that just happen to share two consonants.

Pure Dhamma wrote:Just by knowing this, it is possible to understand the roots of many common words, such as sankhara, sansara, sanna, samma, etc. Let us analyze some of these words.
The writer seems to be confusing roots (dhātu ) and prefixes (upasagga ). Saṅkhāra, saṃsāra , and saññā all share the prefix saṃ . But their roots — and it is these, not the prefixes that are the primary source of a Pali word’s meaning — are √khar (= Skt. kṛ), √sar (= sṛ), and √ñā (= jñā) respectively.

As for sammā , this is an indeclinable particle (nipāta ) and as such has no verbal root and no relationship whatever with the three nouns.

Pure Dhamma wrote:4. Another important term “samma” which comes from “san” + “mä“, which means “to become free of san“. For example:

“Mä hoti jati, jati“, means “may I be free of repeated birth”.
The word is a prohibitive particle (“Don’t!” Let it not!”). It’s also an indeclinable, which means it’s neither reducible nor modifiable nor combinable with other words. Indeclinables are to Pali philology what inert gases are to chemistry. As such it has no more to do with the sound in sammā than it does with the sound in Māra or marble or marzipan or Margate or Marlene Dietrich. It just happens to sound the same.

Pure Dhamma wrote:5. Knowing the correct meaning of such terms, leads to clear understanding of many terms:
Indeed. And like so many things in this world, the correct meaning is not arrived at merely by wishing it were so.

Pure Dhamma wrote:Sansära (or samsara) = san + sära (meaning fruitful) = perception that “san” are good, fruitful. Thus one continues in the long rebirth process with the wrong perception that it is fruitful.
The sāra in saṃsāra doesn’t mean fruitful. In the Suttas the Buddha connects the noun saṃsāra with the verb saṃsarati . This verb’s primary meaning is to repeatedly come (or go) somewhere or to wander or move about continuously. From this we get the secondary meaning, to transmigrate.

Pure Dhamma wrote:Sammä = san + mä (meaning eliminate) = eliminate or route out “san”. Thus Samma Ditthi is routing out the wrong views that keeps one bound to sansara.
No, this is both etymologically wrong and factually wrong as to what sammādiṭṭhi is. What the writer is describing is diṭṭhujukamma , the action of straightening of one’s views. If one is successful at this then sammādiṭṭhi is the result.

Pure Dhamma wrote:Sandittiko = san + ditthi (meaning vision) = ability to see “san”; one becomes sanditthiko at the Sotapanna stage. Most texts define sandittiko with inconsistent words like, self-evident, immediately apparent, visible here and now, etc.
There are two traditional etymologies for sandiṭṭhiko , one of which gives rise to the translation “to be seen by oneself” and the other to translations like “self-evident”. But regardless of which of these one prefers, the term is one of the special qualities of the Dhamma, not of any person. And so to speak of somebody “becoming” sandiṭṭhiko at the sotāpanna stage is nonsensical.

Pure Dhamma wrote:6. A nice example to illustrate the significance of “san”, is to examine the verse that Ven. Assaji delivered to Upatissa (the lay name of Ven. Sariputta, who was a chief disciple of the Buddha):

“Ye dhamma hetu pabbava, te san hetun Thathagatho aha, Te san ca yo nirodho, evan vadi maha Samano”

Te = three, hetu = cause, nirodha = nir+uda = stop from arising

The translation is now crystal clear:

“All dhamma (in this world) arise due to causes arising from the three “san”s: raga, dosa, moha. The Buddha has shown how to eliminate those “san”s and thus stop dhamma from arising”
This part is the clearest evidence so far that the author is attempting to explain points of Pali without having learned anything of the language at all. The word tesaṃ is simply the demonstrative pronoun te (‘this’, ‘that’) in the genitive plural case. It means “of these”, “of those”. The saṃ part is an inflectional ending (vibhatti ). It has absolutely nothing to do with the prefix saṃ in saṃsāra .

Pure Dhamma wrote:7. […]

Each Pali word is packed with lot of information, and thus commentaries were written to expound the meaning of important Pali words.

A good example is the key Pali word “anicca“. In Sanskrit it is “anitya“, and this is what normally translated to English as “impermanence”. But the actual meaning of anicca is very clear in Sinhala: The Pali word “icca” (pronounced “ichcha”) is the same in Sinhala, with the idea of “this is what I like”. Thus anicca has the meaning “cannot keep it the way I like”.
The nicca in anicca has nothing to do with the adjective iccha (wishing) or the noun icchā (a wish) or the verb icchati (to wish).

The colloquial Sinhala pronunciation of it is actually a mispronunciation when judged by the phonetic descriptions in the ancient Pali grammars. When Sri Lankans pronounce Pali words their commonest mistake is to make aspirated consonants into non-aspirates and non-aspirated consonants into aspirates. This can be seen in the unorthodox romanization system used at the Pure Dhamma site:

gathi instead of gati
hethu-pala instead of hetu-phala.
micca-ditthi instead of micchā-diṭṭhi
satipattana instead of satipaṭṭhāna
Etc., etc.

By contrast, this is the international standard used by indologists for over a century:

  • ක ඛ ග ඝ ඞ
    ka, kha, ga, gha, ṅa

ච ඡ ජ ඣ ඤ
ca, cha, ja, jha, ña

ට ඨ ඩ ඪ ණ
ṭa, ṭha, ḍa, ḍha, ṇa

ත ථ ද ධ න
ta, tha, da, dha, na

ප ඵ බ භ ම
pa, pha, ba, bha, ma

ය ර ල ව ස හ ළ ං
ya, ra, la, va, sa, ha, ḷa, ṃ


The Pure Dhamma website offers a variety of revisionist readings of the Pali Suttas based upon the site-owner’s (or his guru’s) claimed re-discovery of supposed hidden meanings of key Pali terms.
These proposed hidden meanings, when not presented merely as bald assertions, are defended by resort to Pali philological analysis.
But since the site-owner is demonstrably incompetent in both Indic philology in general and Pali in particular his arguments are undeserving of credence. Rather than leading to the true understanding of the Dhamma via the revelation of higher (but long-concealed) meanings, they lead only to baloney.



also here is an academic paper on this odd movement.

sirisena-waharaka-srilanka-2021 (2).pdf (156.0 KB)

Many adherents of the Waharaka
movement claim to have (or have bestowed upon them by their teachers) various
stages of awakening, after following the way of practice advocated by Waharaka

Waharaka Thera’s first determination was made during the time of the
Dīpaṁkara Buddha, when ‘our’ Gotama Buddha was the ascetic Sumedha.4
Waharaka Thera, then a farmer, observed the Bodhisatta Sumedha
receiving the prophecy of future Buddhahood from the Dīpaṁkara Buddha.

Gladdened by the sight, the farmer made a meritorious determination
himself. The Dīpaṁkara Buddha read the mind of the farmer, and made
the prophecy that he will be a ‘special person’ in a future Buddhasāsana
Waharaka followers have taken this to heart. In Dhamma discussions, it is
virtually impossible to challenge their interpretation by referring to Early
Buddhist texts of various traditions, not all of which is in Pali, or resorting to
linguistics or text-critical studies. According to them, the corruption righted by
their arahant teacher predates the time of committing the Buddha’s teaching into
writing—at least in instances where the texts seem to contradict the Waharaka


The Waharaka movement spares no opportunity to mention the paṭisambhidhā-ñāṇa of their originator, so it is indeed quite explicit and a critical part of their lore. In the Sri Lankan context it gives much gravitas to pada nirukti ‘etymologies’ they propose while offering an additional layer of insulation against criticism. There is no technical way to question pada nirukti because it’s an entirely new language, as leading Waharaka teachers such as Ven. Walasmulle Abhaya specifically mention: according to them, this is Ariya jargon inaccessible through conventional linguistics.

Unfortunately, this also means that when Waharaka and ‘regular’ Buddhists engage in conversation, they are using two different languages even if they appear to be the same. They can’t help but talk past each other.


This is not 100% accurate. When pronouncing, Sinhala speakers usually make no consonants aspirated because in Sinhala language aspiration has been lost for centuries. That’s not really remarkable. Some Sinhala speakers will recognize aspirations in the Pali.

It’s when Pali is written that things veer from international standard. It is indeed difficult for those of us only familiar with a different standard. Sinhala speakers have been writing Sinhala using English for a long time and diacritics just haven’t been easily available for common use. And since people weren’t writing Sinhala into Latin letters for academic purposes, it didn’t really matter. I guess until these folks came along.

But, yeah, this group is wacky. Good to warn people about them. Thanks.

This is a really excellent article. Very readable. Highly recommend.


here is a page from puredhamma website to give an idea of just how outlandish they are.

  1. It is with great sadness that I report the Parinibbāna of my Noble teacher, Waharaka Abhyaratanalankara Thēro, a month ago, on February 9, 2017.
  • Even though he had not confirmed attaining Arahanthood several years before passing away, he declared that he would not be reborn again. That means he would at least reach the Antara Parinibbāna state; see the video below.
  • The Antara Parinibbāna state is reached when someone dies with three samyōjanā of kāma rāga, rūpa rāga, and arūpa rāga removed. (But without the removal of māna, uddacca, and avijjā samyōjanā). Then one cannot grasp a new bhava in any of the 31 realms).
  • The gandhabba would still survive the death of the body and come out and stay alive until the kammic energy for the human bhava is exhausted. Since a new bhava cannot be grasped, anupadisēsa Nibbāna will occur. That is explained at the discussion forum “Antara Parinibbana” and in the post “Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipiṭaka.”
  • From the accounts below, it appears that he did attain Parinibbāna (i.e., bypassed the Antara Parinibbāna state) at the dying moment.
  1. When the news came out first, it was unclear whether the Thēro had passed away or whether he was in Nirōdha Samāpatti. Breathing stops while one is in Nirōdha Samāpatti, but the body does not get cold. The body was warm for six days but started to get cold. Therefore, his death was not declared for six days.
  • Even though I made trips to Sri Lanka in 2014 and 2015, I did not get an opportunity to meet him because he was not well.
  1. He was the first person to extract the true meanings of many critical Pāli words in the Tipiṭaka in recent times— after hundreds of years.
  • His Patisambhidhā Ñāna (the knowledge to extract the meanings of words) was at the same level as many renowned Arahants at the time of the Buddha.
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Thanks so much for pointing this out.

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Eko care: Waharaka, Meevanapalane, Walasmulle Abhaya, PureDhamma.net are all in the same group. It is their map.

Majority Sri Lankans never accept them.
They are a group of monks expelled from all the Nikayas and the Ministry of Buddhasasana.
Current attempts to pass a Tipitaka Protection Act was also due to this group’s propagation.
For More Information, see this thread Puredhamma.net Warning !!!

Eko Care wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:54 am

  • Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara and Meevanapalane Saddhammalankara were said to be lay friends who worked in archeological department and aslo involved in coconut business or something like that.

  • Ven. Waharaka had continued a “fortune telling/ mind reading/ black magic” sort of practice even as a layman.

  • They seemed like influenced by a book/books written by one/some of old colonial British person/people which argues the Blessed One was born in Sri Lanka and the British robbed old genuine commentaries and kept them in England museums.

  • That book or these two monks then argued “the root language is not Pali but Sinhalese”, since the Blessed One was born in Sri Lanka.
    Then they started to give new definitions for Pali words using Sinhala roots. (ridiculously even for some of English words).

  • Further, they started to discover (so called) original Buddhist pilgrim sites in Sri lanka, by the village name analysis using sinhala language roots.
    Then they developed a map of Jambudipa which is Srilanka, according to them.

  • Afterwards some of the modern-educated people attracted by them and started to propagate their views

  • Few of the poor temples which were considered as discovered pilgrim sites, had not been opposed to them, because of the donations they received by this new crowd of pilgrims.

  • Then Ven Walasmulle Abhaya had joined this group, and started to preach the same in a bit different way.

  • Two of them got expelled from the villages where they resided. Then they had to build new temples in new places.

  • Later they were expelled by the Nikaya Head Monks and the Ministry of Buddhasasana.

  • Then they tried to Print the Tipitaka with new definitions, by being friendly with the head monks of Buddhist Cultural Center Printing Press.

  • After that, some other monk groups started holding Aditthana Pujas at various sacred places, concerning the protection of the Buddhism, and held conferences regarding the issue.

  • Then the President had to make the Tipitaka a National Heritage in order to protect it from them.

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I found this statement suspicious and rather odd and too much of a blanket statement. I live in Sri Lanka and they definitely have aspirated letters. I asked ven Maggavihāri about this. He said that “pure sinhala” does not have aspirated consonants. However, that “unaspirated pure sinhala” is “old sinhala” and not used today in normal situations. Normally it is mixed with both pāḷi and sanskrit. This is what a child will speak from imitating his parents and the world around him.

Just because the native language does not have sounds does not mean that it is not pronounced. People are able to speak pāḷi very well. The way to pronounce the letters is extremely detailed and preserved in the pāḷi grammar books (written in pāḷi).

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Sorry. I meant in general. People with a good Pali education will pronounce aspirated consonants when they should. It’s not surprising that monks would run into these good folks, but they are not the majority.

I was responding to the comment that they don’t aspirate consonants when they should and do when they shouldn’t.

Modern spoken Sinhala does not have aspirated consonants, although they are preserved in the written language. My understanding is that ancient Sinhala (Ela) doesn’t even have the aspriated consonants in the alphabet.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:55 am

rajitha7 wrote:If we plug-in your idea into this Sutta with “No self” and “self”, the Sutta will read thus.

Monks, I will teach you about what is of self and what is no self. Please listen attentively …
What, monks, is of no self? Wrong View … Wrong Liberation — this, monks, I call of no self. And what, monks, is of self? Right View … Right Liberation. — This, monks, I call of self.

Now tell me which version makes sense to you please?

Pesala: No. That’s what you will get if you use Lal’s version. Mine is correct.

Lal wrote:5. Then in the very next sutta, Attha Sutta (AN 181; in the Sadhuvagga) anattä is defined in terms of dasa akusala:

“…katamo ca bhikkhave, anattö? panatipatö, adinnädänaṃ, kämesu­miccha­cärö, musävädö, pisuṇä väcä, parusä vacä, samphappaläpö, abhijjhä, vyäpädö, micchädiṭṭhi – ayam vuccati, bhikkhave, anattö…”
Thus one becomes anatta (helpless) by engaging in dasa akusala.
In the next and last paragraph of the sutta, atta defined as the opposite of that: panatipatä veramani, adinnädänä veramani, kämesu­miccha­cärä veramani, musävädä veramani, pisuṇä väcä veramani, parusä vacä veramani, samphappaläpä veramani, abhijjhä veramani, vyäpäda veramani, sammaädiṭṭhi – ayam vuccati, bhikkhave, attö. ‘ti.
Thus one becomes atta (leading to refuge in Nibbana) by engaging in dasa kusala.
6. Those two short suttas make it crystal clear the following important facts:
Anatta has nothing to do with a “self”.
Anatta is all about being helpless in the rebirth process due to one’s engagements with dasa akusala.
Therefore, getting to Nibbana is all about avoiding dasa akusala, i.e., cleansing one’s mind.

Do take more care. The pair of you are helpless and the site is full of errors of both spelling and interpretation.

Avoiding dasa akusala is indeed vital. However, atta means self, and anatta means not-self. Attha means welfare or benefit, while anattha means without welfare or benefit. The ten unwholesome deeds are entirely without welfare or benefit.