Agga Maha Pandita Davuldena Sri Gnanissara Thero was a Sri Lankan scholar Buddhist monk and a centenarian. He served as the supreme Mahanayaka of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Nikaya from 2002 until his death on 3 April 2017. Thero has also authored several books and was proficient in Pali, Sanskrit and English Languages. Born on 31 December 1915 at Dawuldena in Badulla District, he entered the order of Buddhist monks under the guidance of Venerable Umele Pagnananda and Ven. Umele Piyarathana Nayake Theros in 1928. He was appointed to the Mahanayaka post of Amarapura Nikaya in 2002 and was 101 years old at the time of his death.
Theravāda is the most commonly accepted name of Buddhism's oldest existing school.
The school's adherents, termed Theravādins, have preserved their version of Gautama Buddha's teaching or Buddha Dhamma in the Pāli Canon for over a millennium.
Aided by the patronage of Mauryan kings like Ashoka, this school spread throughout India and reached Sri Lanka through the efforts of missionary monks like Mahinda.
Starting at around the 11th century, Sinhalese Theravāda monks and Southeast Asian elites led .