An Incredible Dana

I read a remarkable article in the magazine of Singapore Airlines on a recent flight about a Theravada Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka who donated part of his liver for a liver transplant operation and gave a kidney to another person in desperate need.

It was a heartwarming story to read of such a generous dana (gift) and selfless compassion for another.

A 58-year old lawyer, Denzil J Gunaratne needed a liver transplant. It wasn’t looking good until an unbelievable act of human kindness and surgical competence in Singapore brought him back from the brink.

His life was rocked when an ultrasound on his liver revealed a tumour, which was later confirmed to be malignant after a biopsy was done. The only option was a liver transplant.

After an extensive search, Denzil arrived in Singapore to consult with reputable liver surgeon Dr Tan Kai Chah, head of the Asian Centre for Liver Disease and Transplantation at Gleneagles Hospital, who pioneered the world’s first living donor liver transplant in the UK in 1993.

With no children of his own, the lawyer refused to consider any of his very young nieces who were willing donors, Meanwhile, his wife who had begun a search of her own, spoke to a Buddhist monk at the temple she visits regularly. He offered to donate his liver to Denzil.

The selfless monk was a handsome, bright eyed 27-year old Venerable Ariyawansha Thero He wanted absolutely nothing in return for his deed. What is even more amazing is that this Buddhist monk had previously donated a kidney to someone else.

In July 2007, Denzil and his wife brought Venerable Ariywansha to Singapore where Dr Tan and his team verified the suitability of the monk’s liver. Denzil’s eight-hour liver transplantation surgery went ahead without a hitch.

This lovely monk helps make the world a beautiful place to inhabit.

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