Buddhist Council of Canada: Bios


Born Sri Lanka in 1936, and coming to the US on a Fulbright-Smith Mundt Scholarship in 1964, he has been in Canada since 1967, except for a brief stay of 2 years, on the faculty of Vidyodaya University, Sri Lanka. Earning his doctorate in Canada, he has taught at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at University of Toronto, the Faculty of Education of University of Toronto, Trinity College and in Continuing Education. Founder of Nalanda College of Buddhist Studies (Canada) (1999), and of the Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies (2005), he has been a spokesperson for Buddhism in Canada since 1980, appearing on TV, Radio and Newspapers, and Churches and Synagogues. His work of three decades has been captured in a Chapter length treatment in a recent publication, Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada (Harding, Hori & Soucey (Ed.), Queen’s-McGill, 2010). He has most recently revived Buddhist Council of Canada after a dormancy of 25 years. A Columnist in the Toronto Star on Buddhism, and a Poet with three collections, his first Novel, Untouchable Woman's Odyssey, a work “…with a soft Buddhist halo” has been hailed as being a work at the epic level.

Academic qualifications

BA (Pali, Sanskrit Sinhala), London, England.
MA (Linguistics), Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.
MA (Moral Philosophy in Education), Ontario Institute for Studies in Education,
University of Toronto, Canada.
MA (Buddhism; the Scientific Study of Buddhism), Centre for the Study of
Religion, University of Toronto.
PhD (National Development), Ontario Institute for Studies in Education,
University of Toronto, Canada.


US Fulbright scholar at the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania (1964-1967).
Featured in Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada, Eds. Harding, John S, Victor
Sogen Hori & Alexander Soucy, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press (2010).
Featured in Canada at the Millennium, Miss.: Heirloom Publishing (2000)Appointed by Featured in Canadian Who's Who (1996-);
Order-in-Council to the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and Citizenship (1983-88).
Featured on June Callwood’s ‘National Treasure’ Series on Vision TV (1994).

Initiatives in Canadian Buddhism

President, Buddhist Council of Canada (1985-88; 2010-).
Founder, Nalanda College of Buddhist Studies, Toronto, Canada (1999).
Founder, Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies (2005).
Founding Coordinator, Buddhist Federation of Toronto (1980).

Books on Buddhism

You are What You Sense: Buddha on mindbody, Buddhist Cultural Centre, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka (2001)
Embryo as Person: Buddhism, Society and Ethics, Nalanda Publishing Canada (2005)
Thus Spake the Sangha: Early Buddhist Leadership in Toronto, Nalanda Publishing Canada (2008)   

Articles (selected) on Buddhism (Academic):

“Whole Body, not Heart, as the Seat of Consciousness: the Buddha's View”, Philosophy East & West, 45: 3, 1995

“Inherited Buddhist & Acquired Buddhists”, Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies, 2007.

“Establishing Mindfulness Meditation (satipaññhàõa bhàvanà): the Creative Inter- play of Cognition,
 Praxis and Affection”, Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies, 2008

“Against Belief: Mindfulness Meditation (satipaññhàõa bhàvanà) as Empirical Method”, Canadian Journal of
 Buddhist Studies
, 2009

“Rebirth as Empirical Basis for the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths” (online), Sumeru_Books.com (2010)

“The Buddhist View of the Dead Body”, Proceedings of the Transplantation International, 19

Articles (selected) on Buddhism (Popular):


“Euthanasia? Just say no! - A Buddhist view, Sunday Island, Sri Lanka, Aug. 20, 2011


“Successful Businessmen/Women Needed For Nibbana!”, Musings, Nalanda Col- lege of Buddhist Studies (Canada) Website



Columnist, Toronto Star, on (a) multiculturalism, and (b) Buddhism, 1993-98.
Commentator, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Vision TV, TVOntario.
Contributer, Sunday Observer - Sri Lanka, on being a writer, 2013.
Contributer, Sunday Island Online - Sri Lanka, The Buddha Proclaims the Second Law of Thermodynamics as Parting Gift!, 2013.
Contributer, Sunday Observer - Sri Lanka, The Buddha through modern literary eyes, 2013.


Novelist: Untouchable Woman's Odyssey, 2010

Children's Books

  • Obama-Ji (2009)
  • Celestial Conversations (2007)
  • The Faces of Galle Face Green (1995; 2001)
  • Pioneering Researcher on the Literature of Canadians of South Asian Origins (for the Secretary of State, Ottawa). See Report: The Search for Meaning, on the web (1980)
  • Founding Member, Editorial Board, Toronto South Asian Review (1981)
  • Member, Ontario Provincial Interfaith Committee on Chaplaincy (1985-)
  • Member, Canada Day Ontario (1988-90).
  • Member, Ad Hoc Interfaith Sub-Committee on the Canadian Constitution (19

See T-Space (University of Toronto) for a more comprehensive listing of publications.

For a more comprehensive bio, please go to Sugunasiri Wikipedia, or click here.


PHD Candidate, Centre for Buddhist Studies, University of Toronto. My current research area is the earliest recoverable language of Buddhism, ambiguities in the Dharma and the process of its transmission. I am also interested in the relationship of the Buddha and his teachings to the indigenous, non-Aryan peoples of India (Munda, Dravidian and Tibetan speaking ethnic groups).

I can be reached at secy@buddhistcouncil.ca

lābhā vata me, suladdhaṃ vata me yassa me satthā evaṃ mahiddhiko evaṃ mahānubhāvoti. Cūḷanikāsutta (Aṅguttara Nikāya I, 0228).

"It is a gain to me, it is a great gain to me indeed that my teacher is possessed of such great power, of such majesty!" (Ānanda speaking to the Buddha).

List of Principal Academic Published works

  • 1992. "The Genesis of Music and Language." Ethnomusicology, Vol 36, No. 2: 147-170.
  • 2000. "Western Theories of Music Origin, historical and modern." Musicae Scientiae, Vol IV, number 2: 185-211.
  • & Peter H. von Bitter. 2002. "The Frasnian-Famennian (mid-Late Devonian) boundary in the type section of the Long Rapids Formation, James Bay Lowlands, northern Ontario, Canada." Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Vol. 39, number 12: 1795-1818.
  • 2005, "The Buddhalakṣaṇa and the Gaṇḍavūyha Sūtra." Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies, number one: 31-58.
  • 2008. What the Buddha Said, Core Teachings of Buddhism. Translations from the Pli. Unpublished.
  • 2009. "Sakāya niruttiyā Revisited." Bulletin des Études Indiennes, No. 26-27 2008-2009: 33-59.
  • 2008-2009. "Vedhamissakena: Perils of the Transmission of the Buddhadhamma." Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies, Number five: 21-38.
  • 2010a. "Is Pāli Closest to the Western Aśokan Dialect of Girnār?" South Indian Journal of Buddhist Studies, Vol 1: 79-104.
  • 2010b. "Aśokan Phonology and the Language of the Earliest Buddhist Tradition." Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies, Number 6: 59-88.
  • 2011a. "What does amisā/misā mean in Minor Rock Edict I?" in Felicitation Volume in Honour of Venerable Dr. Pategama Gnanarama Thera (D.Litt), 342-352.
  • 2011b. "Lexical Ambiguities in the Buddhist Teachings, An Example & Methodology", International Journal for the Study of Humanistic Buddhism, Volume 2: 35-54
  • 2011c. "The muṇḍa/muṇḍaka crux. What does the word mean?" Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies, Number 7: in press.