Gangodawila Soma Thero was a bhikkhu from Sri Lanka. Following tradition, he used the name of his birthplace, Gangodawila, in front of his name; thero is a term for an elder monk. Soma thero followed the example set by his teachers, Madihe Pannaseeha Thero and Ampitiye Rahula Maha Thero and was both a learned monk and a social reformer. The cause of his death remains in dispute.
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 .