The Vidyodaya University emerged in 1958 from the Vidyodaya Pirivena, a distinguished Buddhist center of learning. The Vidyodya Pirivena had been founded due to the efforts of Sangharaja Sri Saranankara whose demise took place as far back as 1778 during the Dutch period. The Venerable Mohottiwatte Gunananda in 1873 immediately after his resounding victory at the Panadura controversy was also a great force in the emergence of the Pirivena. His aim was to train educated orator monks to save Buddhism and for that purpose he made logic compulsory in pirivena education. The Pirivena was situated at Maligakanda, a suburb of Colombo. The Pirivena taught Buddhist studies as well as pseudo-sciences like Astrology, widely accepted and held in high esteem in taditional society. However, the transition from Pirivena to University gradually converted it to a secular center of learning. The University was moved to Gangodawila, some 10 miles south east in 1961. In 1978 the name of the University was changed to University of Sri Jayewardenepura.