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Agampodi Paulus de Zoysa (5 April 1890 – 26 May 1968) was a Sri Lankan social reformer and a Buddhist scholar. A. P. De Zoysa was born in Randombe, Ambalangoda in the Southern province of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). His parents died in an epidemic when he was eleven, and thereafter he was brought up by his grandmother. He started his education in the nearby historic temple, the Maha Samudraramaya, and then attended the Wesleyan school in Randombe. He continued his secondary education at Mahinda College, Galle, where he came under the influence of its principal, the famous Theosophist and Pali scholar Frank Lee Woodward.Later he moved to Wesley College in Colombo. De Zoysa was not only a good student but also a keen cricketer, artist and actor.

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  • A. P. de Zoysa
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  • Agampodi Paulus de Zoysa (5 April 1890 – 26 May 1968) was a Sri Lankan social reformer and a Buddhist scholar. A. P. De Zoysa was born in Randombe, Ambalangoda in the Southern province of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). His parents died in an epidemic when he was eleven, and thereafter he was brought up by his grandmother. He started his education in the nearby historic temple, the Maha Samudraramaya, and then attended the Wesleyan school in Randombe. He continued his secondary education at Mahinda College, Galle, where he came under the influence of its principal, the famous Theosophist and Pali scholar Frank Lee Woodward.Later he moved to Wesley College in Colombo. De Zoysa was not only a good student but also a keen cricketer, artist and actor.
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  • Agampodi Paulus de Zoysa (5 April 1890 – 26 May 1968) was a Sri Lankan social reformer and a Buddhist scholar. A. P. De Zoysa was born in Randombe, Ambalangoda in the Southern province of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). His parents died in an epidemic when he was eleven, and thereafter he was brought up by his grandmother. He started his education in the nearby historic temple, the Maha Samudraramaya, and then attended the Wesleyan school in Randombe. He continued his secondary education at Mahinda College, Galle, where he came under the influence of its principal, the famous Theosophist and Pali scholar Frank Lee Woodward.Later he moved to Wesley College in Colombo. De Zoysa was not only a good student but also a keen cricketer, artist and actor. Then he taught for a few years at Ananda College, Colombo and at Royal College Colombo. In 1921 he went to England and continued his higher education. In London he supported himself by coaching overseas students, and his wide social circle included the artist William Roberts, who painted his portrait. After taking an external London degree, in 1927 he was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn, and in 1929 he obtained a PhD in anthropology at London University for a dissertation on 'Observances and Customs in Sinhalese Villages'. With his wife, née Eleanor Hutton, whom he had met at the Buddhist mission in London and married in 1929, in 1934 de Zoysa returned to Sri Lanka, and began work as a lawyer. He was elected to represent Colombo South in 1936, and he continued to serve in the State Council (as an independent) until 1947. Causes which he supported included opposition to the death penalty, anti-dowry legislation, and improved state education. For many years he was also a municipal councillor in Colombo, taking up local issues and campaigning to improve the city's amenities. In 1939 de Zoysa bought a printing press, and began to produce a series of educational books in Sinhala; he also edited a weekly paper, the Dharmasamaya. But his greatest project, which took over twenty years, with help from Buddhist scholars, was to publish a translation of the whole Tripitaka canon of Buddhist scripture into simple Sinhala; this eventually ran to forty-eight volumes. A concise edition, in about ten volumes, was incomplete at his death. He also compiled and printed English–Sinhala and Sinhala-English dictionaries. He died, aged seventy-eight, on 26 May 1968. He and his wife had one child, the feminist scholar Kumari Jayawardena. In March 2009 Sri Lanka Post issued a postage stamp commemorating A. P. De Zoysa's life as a social reformer and as a Buddhist scholar. A biography by Kumari Jayawardena, A. P. de Zoysa: Comabative Social Democrat and Buddhist Reformer in 20th Century Sri Lanka (Sanjiva Books, Colombo, Sri Lanka), was published in 2012.
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