Soma Thera

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Kotahene Soma Maha Thera (December 23, 1898 - February 23, 1960), born as Victor Emmanuel Perera Pulle in Kotahena, Colombo[1] , was a Theravada Buddhist monk, translator and missionary.


Soma Thera was raised as a Sinhalese Catholic and received his education at the Catholic St. Benedict's College in Kotahena, but became a Buddhist in his teenage years after reading the Dhammapada.[1]

Ordination and Travels

In 1934, he went to Japan with his friend G.S. Prelis (later ordained as Kheminda Thera) and translated the Chinese version of the Vimuttimagga into English, which was published as The Path of Freedom. In 1936, both Victor Perera and Prelis went to Burma and received the higher ordination as Theravada Buddhist monks on November 6, 1936[2] in Moulmein under the meditation teacher Jetavana Sayadaw.

During World War II, Soma Thera stayed at the Island Hermitage with Kheminda Thera and Nyanaponika Thera.

Mission Activities and Publications

Despite suffering from asthma, being a member of the Buddhist Mission of Goodwill he participated in a mission to India in 1940. Soma Thera took part in another mission to Germany in 1957, sponsored by the German Dharmaduta Society, during which the society aqcuired Das Buddhistische Haus (The Buddhist House) in Berlin, founded by Dr. Paul Dahlke.[3][4] Soma Thera published many books with regard to Buddhism and was an author of the Buddhist Publication Society, writing several booklets of the Bodhi Leaves and The Wheel series.[5]

Soma Thera died of pulmonary thrombosis in 1960.[1]


  • The Path of Freedom (Vimuttimagga). Translated from the Chinese by N.R.M. Ehara, Soma Thera and Kheminda Thera. (Colombo, Weerasuria, 1961, 433pp.).
  • Kalama Sutta: The Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry, translated from the Pali by Soma Thera (Buddhist Publication Society Wheel Publication No. 8; 1981; 6pp.)
  • The Removal of Distracting Thoughts, by Soma Thera (Buddhist Publication Society Wheel Publication No. 21; 1981; 15pp.)
  • The Way of Mindfulness: The Satipatthana Sutta and Its Commentary, by Soma Thera (1999; 147pp.)
  • Words Leading to Disenchantment & Samsara: Two Essays, by Soma Thera (Buddhist Publication Society Bodhi Leaves No. 79; 1978; 8pp.)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Path Of Freedom (Vimuttimagga) of Arahant Upatissa Translated from the Chinese by Rev. N. R. M. Ehara, Soma Thera, Kheminda Thera. Buddhist Publication Society. Kandy, Ceylon, page IX
  2. Buddha Sasana Nuggaha Organization (Burma). Satipaṭṭhāna Vipassanā Meditation : Criticisms and Replies. Rangoon: Buddha Sasana Nuggaha Organization, 1979, p. 5
  3. The Wheel Publication No. 44, page 12 Short biography in one of Soma Thera's publications
  4. Description of the mission travel to Germany (in German),accessed 2014-08-14
  5. Soma Thera's Publications for Buddhist Publication Society, accessed 2014-08-04
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