Theravada Buddhism is widespread in Southeast Asia. It is agnostic and philosophical in nature with concentration on ascetic life and meditation as means to enlightenment. It means “School of the elder monks” in Pali. It developed in Sri Lanka and then spread rest of the South East Asia.
The Pali scriptures are the only complete extant canon in Pali, is also the language of religion and linguistic “high culture” of Theravāda Buddhism.
Theravada’s doctrinal center is the Buddha’s instructions and teachings in the Pāli Scriptures. Theravāda also has a tendency to be quite conservative about issues of monastic discipline and the scriptures.
Theravada additionally incorporates a rich decent variety of customs and practices created over its long history of cooperations with fluctuating societies and religious groups.
Buddhism emphasises on meditation for liberation. It does not rely on the ‘Otherworldly’ powers to fix spiritual problems of human beings.
Siddhartha Gautama was a mortal man who became Buddha, the Enlightened One. There is no supreme personified deity resembling anything found in the Abrahmic religions.
Every being needs to find their own path to liberation without the assistance of God or divine beings. Buddha’s lessons demonstrate the way, however understanding and following them is dependent on us.
Regions of influence
Theravada Buddhism is widespread in South East Asia.
It is a major religion in Cambodia, , Myanmar, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and a minority religion in India, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, and Vietnam. Furthermore, converts around the globe as well as the diaspora from these countries hone Theravāda Buddhism.
Theravada Buddhism stresses achieving enlightenment through one’s own particular endeavors.
Meditation is one of the primary practices for a Theravadan Buddhist to changes themselves, thus monks spend a lot of time meditating.
It also has a significant place for laypeople despite the focus on monks.
Most monks live as ascetic group. The ascetic group as a whole is known as the sangha.
Monks follow the training of the Vinaya, which consists of 227 principles (more for nuns). Theravadan monks are also not allowed to deal with currency or eat past the afternoon. Within these principles, there are five precepts undertaken by everybody endeavoring to stick to a Buddhist monk lifestyle.
The Five Precepts are:
- Refrain from killing or harming living beings
- Refrain from stealing
- Refrain from falsehood and lies
- Refrain from consuming addictive substances like drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.
- Refrain from sexual misconduct