Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tribute to Meththa Muniratne

email from Gallege De Silva

Attachments24 Jul (9 days ago)

Sharing with you a tribute to Metta that appeared in our local community paper.

Extra Good Bye! Meththa 

We write this with great sadness over the inestimable loss of our close friend, Dr. Meththa Muniratna. She was always “Meththa” to us in the true sense of that word, full of compassion, understanding and generosity. This wonderful woman, with many achievements to her credit, was a true friend to us for over 40 years with her gentle and caring nature. We always admired her great quality of not being heavily judgmental, or forcing her opinions on others, but off ered valuable and realistic advice that we will surely miss. She was a very thoughtful and loving person who could judge and act on another person’s needs before they could ask. She was a little dynamo with full of energy, ever ready to throw herself into social and spiritual activities. In any critical situation, medical, social, or personal situation she would be the fi rst to volunteer. She was born with leadership qualities. This was seen from early days at school. For instance, she was the first nonChristian Head Girl of Methodist College – a rare achievement for a Buddhist girl. She formed the Women’s Association of Victoria and was elected to be its fi rst president. She had the capacity to take over any task and get people to rally round her to get things done. Meththa loved music dancing and likes to dress elegantly to suit the occasion. One day she will open the fl oor at a dinner dance and the next day she will be an Upasakamma observing Sil and doing meditation. Her commitment to community work was unlimited. She was the livewire at any party. She loved to entertain friends. Once at a dinner held at her place she played the part of a teenage girl – ‘Dammi’ where Lalith played the part of ‘Sugath’ and she was dressed in a school uniform and tie. This is a famous Sinhala fi lm based on a novel titled ‘Golu Hadawatha’. Later we found that she had got down the school uniform all the way from Sri Lanka just for that. When she sings she injects life into the words by acting out the meaning of the song. We remember the song of CT Fernando and Rukmani Devi, ‘Punsanda Hinehenne’ she sang with Ana and ‘Ha Ha Hore Danuna’ with Nelun, with all the acting to go with it. Even now we can see Meththa acting when we close our eyes. Our dear friend Wickrama who passed away recently too is another person who joined in the sing song parties comes to our mind when talking of Meththa. We will never forget those trips we had with Meththa & Muni. She was the ideal travelling companion. Once in China we saw some Chinese people dancing to music in a park. There were about 200 people. Meththa was forward enough to join them. She joined an elderly gentleman dancing in the park and they all gave a big applause after the music stopped. That is Meththa Her dinners were special. She had diff erent themes for each dinner she served at her place, Food, table arrangements, crockery, cutlery, decorations and background music will be selected suitably to go along with the main theme. Her dinners were immaculate. She would go into minute details, arranging and preparing everything methodically, as a mark of respect for her invited guests. Nothing was out of place. In all this, we must add, that Muni was there, doing his bit quietly for the overall success. As they say, there is a man behind every woman’s success. She was a committed spiritual follower of Ajahn Brahm. Ajahn Brahm & Buddhist Society of Victoria were integral part of her life. Ajahn Brahm was a living Buddha for Meththa. Ajahn Brahm went to see her in hospital when she was admitted to hospital for investigations. When she said that she might not live long, Ajahn has said jokingly ‘I can’t give you permission to go’. I am sure Ajahn Brahm would have visited her later in hospital just to uplift her spiritually give her some spiritual solace, if not for his overseas commitments. We are sure that Buddhist Society of Victoria will feel the loss of Meththa for a long time to come. She was one of the few doctors who gave her time and resources generously for her motherland when Sri Lanka was in dire need of overseas assistance. Her patriotism was admirable at a time when only a few doctors were willing to devote their energies to serve mother Lanka. Once she organized a bus to go to Canberra to protest in front of the Indian High Commission when India was threatening to invade Sri Lanka. She hosted at her place the Melbourne journalists to convey to them the other side of the Sri Lankan narrative, which was dominated by the Tamil version. She was an active member of the Overseas Sri Lankan Organisation for National Unity (OSLONU) headed by late Judge C. G. Weeramantry, Vice-President of the International Court of Justice. She marched up and down the streets of Melbourne and Canberra, with other committed patriots, to serve the best interests of her motherland. She was also in the forefront of several fund-raising activities for the displaced and injured victims of the needless war in Sri Lanka. We remember with fondness the several overseas trips we did with Meththa & Muni – UK, USA, Canada, Europe, China, South America, Alaska, Sea Cruises and river cruises to name a few. The last trip we did with Meththa was to Thailand – Phuket last year. Even on these trips she added a seriousness to her fun. We remember she always wanted to sit in the front of the tour bus with a notebook to take down notes and, when all the pieces of information were not there for her to get the full picture, she would question the tour guide to fi ll in the gaps. Later she will come to the hotel room and go through the notes, question us and give us lessons in geography and history, reminding us of our school days. Meththa was an over-cautious person which has its good and bad sides. But overall, as we all know, it is always best to be over-cautiousness rather than rush into thing hastily. We had good fun with Meththa & Muni in our overseas trips, Muni losing his credit card and Meththa losing her passport and later fi nding it in the inner pocket of her hand bag. In retrospect, all these mishaps became a part of the fun. It was fun to be with Meththa because she was a peoplefriendly person. She had the capacity to make friends easily with anybody. In our overseas trip she was always the fi rst person to make friends with strangers. She also made her mark in her profession as a doctor. She went out of her duty of care to serve her patients. She did not treat them as clients. Her patients were always treated with exceeding personal attention to heal them in their mind, before medicine is applied to heal them physically. Though she was a doctor, most of the time she was a social worker attending to their day-to-day personal problems. I remember her telling that one of her young patients got his mother overseas on the phone to talk to her. The lady on the other end has told Meththa that her son always tells her that he got a second mother in Australia. When we go on trips she carries a small bag of medicine with various pills and dressings which has come handy to us and many other tourists in our cruises and bus tours. She will be the fi rst to raise her hand to help out if someone falls sick in an airplane, passenger ship or a tour bus. We have seen this happening few times in our trips we did with Meththa & Muni She was a hard-working member of the Buddhist Society of Victoria (BSV) and was the president for 8 years. As usual she gave her best energies to make BSV a haven for all Buddhist communities. The main task of the president of BSV was to raise funds. She worked tirelessly to raise funds by way of organising dinners, fi lm shows, plays etc. A memorable event was the showing of the fi lm ‘Siddhartha’. It was brought down from Srilanka and the showing was a great success with Buddhists from all nations residing in Melbourne flocking to view it. I remember it well because I too was involved in this event. She loved Muni, her children and grandchildren and, we are sure, that she will watch over them, wherever she is, and make sure that they have a great life, filled of her values and all her good wishes. Her magnetic smile will be missed by all who knew her. Good Bye! Meththa - Our travelling companion, we miss you We will certainly see you again, during our journey in samsara. Your good friends Wimal & Ira Melbourne.

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