Monday, 28 February 2022


Gurulugomi was a Buddhist commentator and philosopher who lived in the 12th century in Sri Lanka. He is known for his works Amavatura and Dharmapradipika (Suriyahetti, 1975). He is sometimes styled Mahakavi, the great poet.

There is no much information about Gurulugomi except the mention of his name in the Rajaratnakara, the Sidath Sangarawa, the Nikaya Sangrahaya, and the Mayura Sandeshaya (Suriyahetti, 1975). Of them, the latter two mention his name as Guruludami (Suriyahetti, 1975). The term Dami can be taken as the equivalent of Gomi which means the Buddhist lay follower.
Although the time of Gurulugomi is unclear, there is a clue in Rajaratnakara where it has mentioned his name with other scholars who lived between the 5th century A.D. to the 13th century A.D. (Wikramasinghe, 1900). Therefore, Gurulugumi must have lived before or about the year 1267 A.D. (Wikramasinghe, 1900).
From the time of Buddhaghosa (410 A.D.) up to the present year (1809 A.B. expired, i.e. 1267 A.D.), the great Theras Vahisvara (prob. Vagisvara), Dharmapala, Dharmakirti, Sahitya, Vilgammula and Mayurapada, and the laic pandits Kavirajasekara, Gurulugomi, Agamacakravarti and Parakramapandita, as well as many other pandits, have illumined the doctrine of Buddha by bringing out commentaries, glossaries, translations, &c
Also, as his name is mentioned in Sidath Sangarawa, a text written at the request of Patirajadeva, the chief minister of King Parakramabahu II (1236-1270 A.D.), it is concluded that Gurulugomi lived between the reign of Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) of Polonnaruwa and King Parakramabahu II of Dambadeniya (Suriyahetti, 1975). The linguistic features in Gurulugomi's works are close to or more archaic than those in works written in the Polonnaruwa Period (Suriyahetti, 1975). According to the opinion of Suriyahetti, Gurulugomi may have lived in the Polonnaruwa Period probably during the reign of a Kalinga prince such as Nissankamalla [(1187-1196 A.D.) Suriyahetti, 1975].

Gurulugumi's ancestors are said to have come over to Sri Lanka from Kalinga, a region in South India (Reynolds et al., 1994; Wikramasinghe, 1900). However, there is no tangible evidence to prove that view (Suriyahetti, 1975). Gurulugomi wrote two Sinhalese books named Amavatura, a devotional biography of the Buddha and Dharmapradipika, a doctrinal work arranged as a commentary on the Pali Mahabodhivamsa (Reynolds et al., 1994).

1) Reynolds, F., Tracy, D. and Greeley, A.T. eds., 1994. Religion and practical reason: New essays in the comparative philosophy of religions. SUNY Press. p.124.
2) Suriyahetti, P., 1975. A syntactical study of the Amavatura. University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (United Kingdom). pp.1-2.
3) Wikramasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1900. Catalogue of the Sinhalese Manuscripts in the British Museum: London. pp.30-31.

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