Polwatte Buddhadhatta Thero (1887-1962)

Polwatte Thero

Those who wants to learn the language Pali start and end with three books  for Sinhala learners written by Ven Polwatte Buddhadatta Maha Thero.

Born on 23rd July 1887 to the devout Buddhist parents Oobadage Lewis Silva and Thussa Gamhewa Sanchihamy he was ordained on 2nd November 1899 by Ven  Poramba Dhammadhara Nayaka Thero of Polwatte Aggarama. Three year after his ordination Ven buddadatta travelled to Burma and continued his Dhamma education including Abhidhamma, Pali and Burmese. He received  higher ordination in Burma on 1907. Well versed in Pali, English, Burmese, Sanskrit Ven Buddadatta composed several books for the benefit of Pali learners. Pali Bhashawa tharanaya, Pali Paatawali, Patama Paatawali etc etc are being used even today by Pali learners. He travelled to England and Switzerland on Dhamma duta missions and was frequently contacted by Hon Rhys Davids, I.B.Horner, E.J.Thomas and other pioneers of Pali Text Society.

Ven Buddadatta was a leading figure in the 6th Dhamma Sangayanawa held in Burma in 1954, and his service to Sasana and his knowladge of Dhamma was appreciated by Burmese government by offering the title Agga Maha Panditha on 22nd May 1954.


Venerable Thero taught Pali in Ananda College in 1923 and served the University of Sri Lanka in 1935 as a lecturer. Venerable Thero was always sought by Buddhist associations and was happy to offer his knowledge freely to Lanka Baudda Mandalaya, Tipitaka Translation Board, Baudda Vishwa Koshaya, Sahithya Upadesaka Mandalaya etc.

Venerable Thero received a Ph.D from Vidyodaya University and was appointed as the first professor on Buddhist Phylosopy at Vidyalankara University and was offered D.Lit degree. In 1953 Ven thero was appointed an “Anu Nayaka” of the Amarapura Sri Kalyana Wansa and and in 1957 was appointed as a “Maha Nayaka”. Venerable Buddhadatta compiled over 90 books and the “Corrections of Geiger’s Mahawamsa”  and the several Pali- English dictionaries are much sought by Buddhists in the west.

This great Sangha father passed away on 9th November 1962 at the age of 75, after leaving behind so much useful work on Dhamma for future generations.

Sadu!  Sadu!!   Sadu !!!