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Theravāda
Theravāda
(/ˌθɛrəˈvɑːdə/; Pali, literally "school of the elder monks") is a branch of Buddhism
Buddhism
that uses the Buddha's teaching preserved in the Pāli Canon
Pāli Canon
as its doctrinal core. The Pali
Pali
canon is the only complete Buddhist canon which survives in a classical Indic Language, Pali, which serves as the sacred language and lingua franca of Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism.[1] Another feature of Theravada
Theravada
is its tendency to be very conservative with regard to matters of doctrine and monastic discipline.[2] As a distinct sect, Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism developed in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
and spread to the rest of Southeast Asia. Theravāda
Theravāda
also includes a rich diversity of traditions and practices that have developed over its long history of interactions with varying cultures and religious communities. It is the dominant form of religion in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and is practiced by minority groups in India, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, and Vietnam. In addition, the diaspora of all of these groups as well as converts around the world practice Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism. Contemporary expressions include Buddhist modernism, the Vipassana movement
Vipassana movement
and the Thai Forest Tradition.

Contents

1 Adherents 2 History

2.1 Origins 2.2 Transmission to Sri Lanka 2.3 Pali
Pali
textual tradition 2.4 Theravāda
Theravāda
subdivisions 2.5 Mahāyāna influences 2.6 Reign of Parakramabahu I 2.7 Lineage of nuns 2.8 Spread to Southeast Asia 2.9 Late innovations and esotericism 2.10 Modernisation and spread to the West

2.10.1 Reaction against Western colonialism 2.10.2 Sri Lanka 2.10.3 Thailand 2.10.4 Myanmar 2.10.5 Modern developments

3 Doctrinal differences with other schools

3.1 The arhat is perfect 3.2 Insight is sudden and perfect 3.3 Dharmas

4 Teachings

4.1 Learning

4.1.1 The Three Characteristics

4.1.1.1 Dukkha: The Four Noble Truths

4.1.2 Defilements 4.1.3 Ignorance 4.1.4 Cause and Effect

4.2 Practice

4.2.1 Noble Eightfold Path
Noble Eightfold Path
and Threefold Discipline 4.2.2 Seven purifications 4.2.3 Meditation

4.2.3.1 Samatha
Samatha
meditation

4.3 Attainment

4.3.1 Path and fruit 4.3.2 Levels of attainment 4.3.3 Nirvana

5 Scriptures

5.1 Pali
Pali
Canon 5.2 Commentaries

6 Lay and monastic life

6.1 Distinction between lay and monastic life 6.2 Scholar monks and rural monks 6.3 Ordination 6.4 Monastic practices 6.5 Lay devotee 6.6 Monastic orders within Theravāda

7 Festivals and customs 8 List of Theravāda
Theravāda
majority countries 9 Gallery 10 See also 11 Notes 12 References

12.1 Book references 12.2 Web references

13 Bibliography 14 External links

Adherents[edit] Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism
Buddhism
is followed by countries and people around the globe, and is:

In South Asia:

Nepal Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
(by 70% of the population) Bangladesh
Bangladesh
(by 0.7% of the population) mainly in Chittagong Hill Tracts and Kuwakata,Barishal India
India
(0.8%) mainly in Maharashtra
Maharashtra
and Seven Sister States

In Southeast Asia:

Cambodia
Cambodia
(by 95% of the population) Laos
Laos
(by 67% of the population) Myanmar
Myanmar
(by 89% of the population) Thailand
Thailand
(by 90% of the population, 94% of the population that practises religion) Vietnam
Vietnam
(by the Khmer Krom
Khmer Krom
in the south and central parts of Vietnam and Tai Dam in northern Vietnam) Malaysia (in peninsular Malaysia especially north-western parts of Malaysia, primarily by the Malaysian Siamese
Malaysian Siamese
and Malaysian Sinhalese) Indonesia Singapore

In East Asia:

China
China
(mainly by the Shan, Tai, Dai, Hani, Wa, Achang, Blang ethnic groups mainly in Yunnan
Yunnan
province )

Theravāda
Theravāda
has also recently gained popularity in the Western world.

Today, Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhists, otherwise known as Theravadins, number over 150 million worldwide, and during the past few decades Theravāda Buddhism
Buddhism
has begun to take root in the West[a] and in the Buddhist revival in India.[web 2] History[edit] Origins[edit]

Ashoka
Ashoka
and Moggaliputta-Tissa
Moggaliputta-Tissa
at the Third Council, at the Nava Jetavana, Shravasti

Early Buddhism

Scriptures

Early Buddhist Texts Tripiṭaka Pāli Canon Āgamas Gandhāran texts Jataka tales Avadana

Councils

1st Council 2nd Council 3rd Council 4th Council

Early Buddhist schools

Pre-sectarian Buddhism

Mahāsāṃghika

Ekavyāvahārika

Lokottaravāda

Gokulika

Bahuśrutīya Prajñaptivāda

Caitika (Haimavata)

Sthaviras

Pudgalavada

Vātsīputrīya Saṃmitīya

Sarvāstivāda

(Haimavata) (Kāśyapīya) (Mahīśāsaka)

(Dharmaguptaka)

Sautrāntika Mulasarvastivada Vaibhāṣika

Vibhajyavāda

Theravāda (Kāśyapīya) (Mahīśāsaka)

(Dharmaguptaka)

v t e

The name Theravāda
Theravāda
comes[b] from the ancestral Sthāvirīya, one of the early Buddhist schools, from which the Theravadins claim descent. After unsuccessfully trying to modify the Vinaya, a small group of "elderly members", i.e. sthaviras, broke away from the majority Mahāsāṃghika
Mahāsāṃghika
during the Second Buddhist council, giving rise to the Sthavira sect.[3] According to its own accounts, the Theravāda school is fundamentally derived from the Vibhajjavāda "doctrine of analysis" grouping,[4] which was a division of the Sthāvirīya. Buddhists from the Indian mainland appear originally to have regarded the Buddhists of Laṅkā as simply the 'Laṅkā school', thus Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
writing in the fourth century cites the notion of the bhavāṅga-vijñāna of the Tāmraparṇīya-nikāya as a forerunner of the ālaya-vijñāna. But beginning with Yijing’s account of his travels in India
India
(671–695 ce ) and Vinītadeva’s eighth-century summary of the divisions of the Buddhist schools (Samaya-bhedoparacana- cakra-nikāya-bhedopadarśana-cakra), we find north Indian sources describing the Buddhist Saṅgha as comprising four nikāyas: (1) the Mahāsāṃghikas, (2) the Sthāviras, (3) the Sarvāstivādins, and (4) the Saṃmatīyas. Significantly, the Sthāviras in turn comprise three sub-nikāyas: the Jetavanīyas, the Abhayagirivāsins, and the Mahāvihāravāsins. The Buddhists of Laṅkā are thus no longer regarded as the ‘Laṅkā school’, they are the Sthāviras, despite the fact that both the Sarvāstivādins and the Saṃmatīyas were also understood as tracing their lineage to the Sthāvira side of the original split with the Mahāsāṃghikas. The reason for referring to the three Buddhist nikāyas of Laṅkā as the Sthāviras is probably not so much a recognition of an exclusive claim to be the authentic theravāda, as a reflection of the simple fact that the Laṅkā schools alone of the various Sthāvira schools continued to refer to themselves as theriya or theravāda in certain contexts.[5] According to Damien Keown, there is no historical evidence that the Theravāda
Theravāda
school arose until around two centuries after the Great Schism
Schism
which occurred at the Third Council.[6] Theravadin accounts of its own origins mention that it received the teachings that were agreed upon during the putative Third Buddhist council
Third Buddhist council
under the patronage of the Indian Emperor Ashoka
Ashoka
around 250 BCE. These teachings were known as the Vibhajjavada.[7] Emperor Ashoka
Ashoka
is supposed to have assisted in purifying the sangha by expelling monks who failed to agree to the terms of Third Council.[8] The elder monk Moggaliputta-Tissa
Moggaliputta-Tissa
was at the head of the Third council and compiled the Kathavatthu (“Points of Controversy”), a refutation of various opposing views which is an important work in the Theravada
Theravada
Abhidhamma. Later, the Vibhajjavādins in turn is said to have split into four groups: the Mahīśāsaka, Kāśyapīya, Dharmaguptaka, and the Tāmraparṇīya. Transmission to Sri Lanka[edit]

Sanghamitta
Sanghamitta
and the Bodhi
Bodhi
Tree

Mihintale, the traditional location of Devanampiya Tissa's conversion

The Theravāda
Theravāda
is said to be descended from the Tāmraparṇīya sect, which means "the Sri Lankan lineage". Missionaries sent abroad from India
India
are said to have included Ashoka's son Mahinda (who studied under Moggaliputta-Tissa) and his daughter Sanghamitta, and they were the mythical founders of Buddhism
Buddhism
in Sri Lanka, a story which scholars suggest helps to legitimize Theravāda's claims of being the oldest and most authentic school.[8] According to the Mahavamsa
Mahavamsa
chronicle their arrival in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
is said to have been during the reign of Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura
Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura
(307 BCE to 267 BCE) who converted to Buddhism
Buddhism
and helped build the first Buddhist stupas. According to S.D. Bandaranayake: "The rapid spread of Buddhism
Buddhism
and the emergence of an extensive organization of the sangha are closely linked with the secular authority of the central state...There are no known artistic or architectural remains from this epoch except for the cave dwellings of the monks, reflecting the growth and spread of the new religion. The most distinctive features of this phase and virtually the only contemporary historical material, are the numerous Brahmi inscriptions associated with these caves. They record gifts to the sangha, significantly by householders and chiefs rather than by kings. The Buddhist religion itself does not seem to have established undisputed authority until the reigns of Dutthagamani and Vattagamani (ca mid-2nd century BCE to mid-1st century BCE)..."[9] The first records of Buddha images come from the reign of king Vasabha (65-109 BCE), and after the 3rd century AD the historical record shows a growth of the worship of Buddha images as well as Bodhisattvas.[9] In the 7th century, the Chinese pilgrim monks Xuanzang
Xuanzang
and Yijing refer to the Buddhist schools in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
as Shàngzuòbù (Chinese: 上座部), corresponding to the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sthavira nikāya and Pali Thera Nikāya.[10] Yijing writes, "In Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
the Sthavira school alone flourishes; the Mahasanghikas are expelled".[11] The school has been using the name Theravāda
Theravāda
for itself in a written form since at least the 4th century, about one thousand years after the Buddha's death, when the term appears in the Dīpavaṁsa.[12][need quotation to verify] According to Buddhist scholar A. K. Warder, the Theravāda

... spread rapidly south from Avanti into Maharashtra
Maharashtra
and Andhra and down to the Chola country (Kanchi), as well as Sri Lanka. For some time they maintained themselves in Avanti as well as in their new territories, but gradually they tended to regroup themselves in the south, the Great Vihara
Vihara
(Mahavihara) in Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka, becoming the main centre of their tradition, Kanchi a secondary center and the northern regions apparently relinquished to other schools.[13]

Between the reigns of Sena I (833-853) and Mahinda IV (956-972), the city of Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
saw a "colossal building effort" by various kings during a long period of peace and prosperity, the great part of the present architectural remains in this city date from this period.[14] Pali
Pali
textual tradition[edit] Main article: Pali
Pali
literature

Buddhaghosa
Buddhaghosa
(c. 5th century), the most important Abhidharma
Abhidharma
scholar of Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism, presenting three copies of the Visuddhimagga.

The Sri Lankan Buddhist Sangha
Sangha
initially preserved the Buddhist scriptures (the Tipitaka) orally as it had been traditionally done, however during the first century BCE, famine and wars led to the writing down of these scriptures. The Sri Lankan chronicle The Mahavamsa
Mahavamsa
records: "Formerly clever monks preserved the text of the Canon and its commentaries orally, but then, when they saw the disastrous state of living beings, they came together and had it written down in books, that the doctrine might long survive."[15] According to Richard Gombrich
Richard Gombrich
this is "the earliest record we have of Buddhist scriptures being committed to writing anywhere."[15] The Theravada
Theravada
Pali
Pali
texts which have survived (with only a few exceptions) are derived from the Mahavihara (monastic complex) of Anuradhapura, the ancient Sri Lankan capital.[16] Later developments included the formation and recording of the Theravada
Theravada
commentary literature (Atthakatha). The Theravada
Theravada
tradition records that even during the early days of Mahinda, there was already a tradition of Indian commentaries on the scriptures.[17] Prior to the writing of the classic Theravada
Theravada
Pali
Pali
commentaries, there were also various commentaries on the Tipitaka
Tipitaka
written in the Sinhalese language, such as the Maha-atthakatha ("Great commentary"), the main commentary tradition of the Mahavihara monks.[18] Of great importance to the commentary tradition is the work of the great Theravada
Theravada
scholastic Buddhaghosa
Buddhaghosa
(4-5th century CE), who is responsible for most of the Theravada
Theravada
commentary literature that has survived (any older commentaries have been lost). Buddhaghosa
Buddhaghosa
wrote in Pali, and after him, most Sri Lankan Buddhist scholastics did as well.[19] This allowed the Sri Lankan tradition to become more international through a lingua franca so as to converse with monks in India
India
and later Southeast Asia. Theravada
Theravada
monks also produced other Pali literature
Pali literature
such as historical chronicles (e.g. Mahavamsa), hagiographies, practice manuals, summaries, textbooks, poetry and Abhidhamma
Abhidhamma
works such as the Abhidhammattha-sangaha and the Abhidhammavatara. Buddhaghosa's work on Abhidhamma
Abhidhamma
and Buddhist practice outlined in works such as the Visuddhimagga
Visuddhimagga
and the Atthasalini are the most influential texts apart from the Pali Canon
Pali Canon
texts themselves in the Theravada
Theravada
tradition. Other Theravada
Theravada
Pali
Pali
commentators and writers include Dhammapala
Dhammapala
and Buddhadatta. Dhammapala
Dhammapala
wrote commentaries on the Pali Canon
Pali Canon
texts which Buddhaghosa
Buddhaghosa
had omitted and also wrote a commentary called the Paramathamanjusa on Buddhaghosa's great manual, the Visuddhimagga. Theravāda
Theravāda
subdivisions[edit] Over much of the early history of Buddhism
Buddhism
in Sri Lanka, three subdivisions of Theravāda
Theravāda
existed in Sri Lanka, consisting of the monks of the Mahāvihāra, Abhayagiri vihāra
Abhayagiri vihāra
and Jetavana.[20] The Mahāvihāra was the first tradition to be established, while Abhayagiri Vihāra and Jetavana
Jetavana
Vihāra were established by monks who had broken away from the Mahāvihāra tradition.[20] According to A.K. Warder, the Indian Mahīśāsaka
Mahīśāsaka
sect also established itself in Sri Lanka alongside the Theravāda, into which they were later absorbed.[20] Northern regions of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
also seem to have been ceded to sects from India
India
at certain times.[20]

Buddha painting in Dambulla cave temple
Dambulla cave temple
in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist cave-temple complex was established as a Buddhist Monastery in the 3rd century BCE. Caves were converted into a temple in the 1st century BCE.[21]

When the Chinese monk Faxian
Faxian
visited the island in the early 5th century, he noted 5000 monks at Abhayagiri, 3000 at the Mahāvihāra, and 2000 at the Cetiyapabbatavihāra.[22] The Mahavihara (“Great Monastery”) school became dominant in Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 2nd millennium CE and gradually spread through mainland Southeast Asia. It was established in Myanmar
Myanmar
in the late 11th century, in Thailand
Thailand
in the 13th and early 14th centuries, and in Cambodia
Cambodia
and Laos
Laos
by the end of the 14th century. Although Mahavihara never completely replaced other schools in Southeast Asia, it received special favor at most royal courts. This is due to the support it received from local elites, who exerted a very strong religious and social influence. [23] Theravada, a group of monks who disagreed with the Mahavihara way, decided to rebel and form their own alliance group. Mahavihara was essential to Theravada, because it was in fact the center of Theravada Buddhism. It was responsible for the development of Sri Lankan people, based off their religious beliefs and acceptable lifestyle. In the religious sense of Theravada, there are no further subdivisions, if Mahavihara does not cease to exist. [24] Mahāyāna influences[edit] Over the centuries, the Abhayagiri Theravādins maintained close relations with Indian Buddhists and adopted many new teachings from India.[25] including many elements from Mahāyāna teachings, while the Jetavana
Jetavana
Theravādins adopted Mahāyāna to a lesser extent.[22][26] Xuanzang
Xuanzang
wrote of two major divisions of Theravāda
Theravāda
in Sri Lanka, referring to the Abhayagiri tradition as the "Mahāyāna Sthaviras", and the Mahāvihāra tradition as the "Hīnayāna Sthaviras".[27] Xuanzang
Xuanzang
further writes:[22]

The Mahāvihāravāsins reject the Mahāyāna and practise the Hīnayāna, while the Abhayagirivihāravāsins study both Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna teachings and propagate the Tripiṭaka.

Akira Hirakawa notes that the surviving Pāli commentaries (Aṭṭhakathā) of the Mahāvihāra school, when examined closely, also include a number of positions that agree with Mahāyāna teachings.[28] Kalupahana notes the same for the Visuddhimagga, the most important Theravāda
Theravāda
commentary.[29] It is known that in the 8th century, both Mahāyāna and the esoteric Vajrayāna form of Buddhism
Buddhism
were being practised in Sri Lanka, and two Indian monks responsible for propagating Esoteric Buddhism
Buddhism
in China, Vajrabodhi
Vajrabodhi
and Amoghavajra, visited the island during this time.[30] Abhayagiri Vihāra appears to have been a center for Theravadin Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna teachings.[31] Reign of Parakramabahu I[edit]

Parakramabahu I
Parakramabahu I
commissioned various religious projects such as Gal Vihara
Vihara
('The Stone Shrine') in Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa
features three statues of the Buddha in three different poses carved from the same large rock.

Some scholars have held that the rulers of Sri Lanka ensured that Theravāda
Theravāda
remained traditional, and that this characteristic contrasts with Indian Buddhism.[32] However, before the 12th century, more rulers of Sri Lanka gave support and patronage to the Abhayagiri Theravādins, and travelers such as Faxian saw the Abhayagiri Theravādins as the main Buddhist tradition in Sri Lanka.[33][34] The trend of the Abhayagiri Vihara
Vihara
being the dominant sect changed in the 12th century, when the Mahāvihāra sect gained the political support of Parakramabahu I (1153–1186), who completely abolished the Abhayagiri and Jetavanin traditions.[35][36] The Theravāda
Theravāda
monks of these two traditions were then defrocked and given the choice of either returning to the laity permanently, or attempting reordination under the Mahāvihāra tradition as "novices" (sāmaṇera).[36][37] Richard Gombrich
Richard Gombrich
writes:[38]

Though the chronicle says that he reunited the Sangha, this expression glosses over the fact that what he did was to abolish the Abhayagiri and Jetavana
Jetavana
Nikāyas. He laicized many monks from the Mahā Vihāra Nikāya, all the monks in the other two – and then allowed the better ones among the latter to become novices in the now 'unified' Sangha, into which they would have in due course to be reordained.

Regarding the differences between these three Theravāda
Theravāda
traditions, the Cūḷavaṁsa laments, "Despite the vast efforts made in every way by former kings down to the present day, the Bhikkhus turned away in their demeanor from one another and took delight in all kinds of strife."[39] Parakkamabāhu I rebuilt the ancient cities of Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
and Polonnaruwa, restoring Buddhist stupas and Viharas
Viharas
(monasteries).[40] He appointed a Sangharaja, or "King of the Sangha", a monk who would preside over the Sangha
Sangha
and its ordinations in Sri Lanka, assisted by two deputies.[38] The reign of Parakkamabāhu also saw a flowering of Theravada
Theravada
scholasticism with the work of prominent Sri Lankan scholars such as Anuruddha, Sāriputta Thera, Mahākassapa Thera of Dimbulagala Vihara
Vihara
and Moggallana Thera.[40] They worked on compiling of subcommentaries on the Tipitaka, texts on grammar, summaries and textbooks on Abhidhamma
Abhidhamma
and Vinaya
Vinaya
such as the influential Abhidhammattha-sangaha of Anuruddha. Lineage of nuns[edit] See also: Women in Buddhism, Ordination
Ordination
of women in Buddhism, and Criticism of Buddhism
Buddhism
§ Women in Buddhism A few years after the arrival of Mahinda, the bhikkhu Saṅghamittā, who is also believed to have been the daughter of Ashoka, came to Sri Lanka. She ordained the first nuns in Sri Lanka. In 429, by request of China's emperor, nuns from Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
were sent to China
China
to establish the order there, which subsequently spread across East Asia. The prātimokṣa of the nun's order in East Asian Buddhism
Buddhism
is the Dharmaguptaka, which is different than the prātimokṣa of the current Theravada
Theravada
school; the specific ordination of the early Sangha in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
not known, although the Dharmaguptaka
Dharmaguptaka
sect originated with the Sthāvirīya as well. The nun's order subsequently died out in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
in the 11th century and in Burma in the 13th century. It had already died out around the 10th century in other Theravadin areas. Novice ordination has also disappeared in those countries. Therefore, women who wish to live as renunciates in those countries must do so by taking eight or ten precepts. Neither laywomen nor formally ordained, these women do not receive the recognition, education, financial support or status enjoyed by Buddhist men in their countries. These "precept-holders" live in Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, and Thailand. In particular, the governing council of Burmese Buddhism
Buddhism
has ruled that there can be no valid ordination of women in modern times, though some Burmese monks disagree. Japan is a special case as, although it has neither the bhikkhuni nor novice ordinations, the precept-holding nuns who live there do enjoy a higher status and better education than their precept-holder sisters elsewhere, and can even become Zen
Zen
priests.[41] In Tibet there is currently no bhikkhuni ordination, but the Dalai Lama
Lama
has authorized followers of the Tibetan tradition to be ordained as nuns in traditions that have such ordination. In 1996, 11 selected Sri Lankan women were ordained fully as Theravada bhikkhunis by a team of Theravāda
Theravāda
monks in concert with a team of Korean nuns in India. There is disagreement among Theravāda
Theravāda
vinaya authorities as to whether such ordinations are valid. The Dambulla chapter of the Siam Nikaya
Siam Nikaya
in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
also carried out a nun's ordination at this time, specifically stating their ordination process was a valid Theravadin process where the other ordination session was not.[42] This chapter has carried out ordination ceremonies for hundreds of nuns since then.[citation needed] This has been criticized by leading figures in the Siam Nikaya
Siam Nikaya
and Amarapura Nikaya, and the governing council of Buddhism in Myanmar
Buddhism in Myanmar
has declared that there can be no valid ordination of nuns in modern times, though some Burmese monks disagree with this.[43] In 1997 Dhamma Cetiya Vihara
Vihara
in Boston was founded by Ven. Gotami of Thailand, then a 10 precept nun; when she received full ordination in 2000, her dwelling became America's first Theravada
Theravada
Buddhist bhikkhuni vihara. A 55-year-old Thai Buddhist 8-precept white-robed maechee nun, Varanggana Vanavichayen, became the first woman to receive the going-forth ceremony of a Theravada
Theravada
novice (and the gold robe) in Thailand, in 2002.[44] On February 28, 2003, Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, formerly known as Chatsumarn Kabilsingh, became the first Thai woman to receive bhikkhuni ordination as a Theravada
Theravada
nun.[45] Dhammananda Bhikkhuni
Bhikkhuni
was ordained in Sri Lanka.[46] The Thai Senate has reviewed and revoked the secular law passed in 1928 banning women's full ordination in Buddhism
Buddhism
as unconstitutional for being counter to laws protecting freedom of religion. However Thailand's two main Theravada Buddhist orders, the Mahanikaya and Dhammayutika Nikaya, have yet to officially accept fully ordained women into their ranks. In 2009 in Australia four women received bhikkhuni ordination as Theravada
Theravada
nuns, the first time such ordination had occurred in Australia.[47] It was performed in Perth, Australia, on 22 October 2009 at Bodhinyana Monastery. Abbess Vayama together with Venerables Nirodha, Seri, and Hasapanna were ordained as Bhikkhunis by a dual Sangha
Sangha
act of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis in full accordance with the Pali Vinaya.[48] In 2010, in the USA, four novice nuns were given the full bhikkhuni ordination in the Thai Theravada
Theravada
tradition, which included the double ordination ceremony. Henepola Gunaratana
Henepola Gunaratana
and other monks and nuns were in attendance. It was the first such ordination ever in the Western hemisphere.[49] The first bhikkhuni ordination in Germany, the ordination of German woman Samaneri Dhira, occurred on June 21, 2015 at Anenja Vihara.[50] In Indonesia, the first Theravada
Theravada
ordination of bhikkhunis in Indonesia after more than a thousand years occurred in 2015 at Wisma Kusalayani in Lembang, Bandung
Bandung
in West Java.[51] Those ordained included Vajiradevi Sadhika Bhikkhuni
Bhikkhuni
from Indonesia, Medha Bhikkhuni from Sri Lanka, Anula Bhikkhuni
Bhikkhuni
from Japan, Santasukha Santamana Bhikkhuni
Bhikkhuni
from Vietnam, Sukhi Bhikkhuni
Bhikkhuni
and Sumangala Bhikkhuni
Bhikkhuni
from Malaysia, and Jenti Bhikkhuni
Bhikkhuni
from Australia.[51] Spread to Southeast Asia[edit]

Bawbawgyi Pagoda
Pagoda
at Sri Ksetra, prototype of Pagan-era pagodas

According to the Mahavamsa, a Sri Lankan chronicle, after the conclusion of the Third Buddhist council, a mission was sent to Suvarnabhumi, led by two monks, Sona and Uttara.[52] Scholarly opinions differ as to where exactly this land of Suvarnabhumi
Suvarnabhumi
was located, but it is generally believed to have been located somewhere in the area of Lower Burma, Thailand, the Malay Peninsula, or Sumatra. Before the 12th century, the areas of Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia
Cambodia
were dominated by Buddhist sects from India, and included the teachings of Mahāyāna Buddhism.[53][54] In the 7th century, Yijing noted in his travels that in these areas, all major sects of Indian Buddhism
Buddhism
flourished.[53] Though there are some early accounts that have been interpreted as Theravāda
Theravāda
in Myanmar, the surviving records show that most Burmese Buddhism
Buddhism
incorporated Mahāyāna, and used Sanskrit
Sanskrit
rather than Pali.[54][55][56] After the decline of Buddhism
Buddhism
in India, missions of monks from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
gradually converted Burmese Buddhism
Buddhism
to Theravāda, and in the next two centuries also brought Theravāda Buddhism
Buddhism
to the areas of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, where it supplanted previous forms of Buddhism.[57] The Mon and Pyu
Pyu
were among the earliest people to inhabit Myanmar. The oldest surviving Buddhist texts
Buddhist texts
in the Pali
Pali
language come from Pyu city-state of Sri Ksetra, the text which is dated from the mid 5th to mid 6th century is written on twenty-leaf manuscript of solid gold.[58] According to Peter Skilling: "From the point of view of both language and contents, I conclude that the Pali
Pali
inscriptions of Burma and Siam give firm evidence for a Theravadin presence in the Irrawaddy and Chao Phraya
Chao Phraya
basins, from about the 5th century CE onwards. From the extent and richness of the evidence it seems that the Theravada was the predominant school, and that it enjoyed the patronage of ruling and economic elites. But I do not mean to suggest that religious society was monolithic: other schools may well have been present, or have come and gone, and there is ample evidence for the practice of Mahayana
Mahayana
and Brahmanism in the region."[59]

Ruins of Bagan, an ancient capital of Myanmar. There are more than 2,000 kyaung there. During the height of Bagan's power, there were some 13,000 kyaung.[web 3]

The Burmese slowly became Theravādan as they came into contact and conquered the Pyu
Pyu
and Mon civilizations. This began in the 11th century during the reign of the Bamar king Anawrahta
Anawrahta
(1044-1077) of the Pagan Kingdom who acquired the Pali
Pali
scriptures in a war against the Mon as well as from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
and build stupas and monasteries at his capital of Bagan.[60] Various invasions of Burma by neighboring states and the Mongol invasions of Burma (13th century) damaged the Burmese sangha and Theravada
Theravada
had to be reintroduced several times into the country from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
and Thailand. The Khmer Empire
Khmer Empire
(802–1431) centered in Cambodia
Cambodia
was initially dominated by Hinduism, Hindu ceremonies and rituals were performed by Brahmins, usually only held among ruling elites of the king's family, nobles, and the ruling class. Tantric Mahayana
Mahayana
Buddhism
Buddhism
was also a prominent faith, promoted by Buddhist emperors such as Jayavarman VII (1181–1215) who rejected the Hindu gods and presented himself as a Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
King.

Stairway to Wat Phnom
Wat Phnom
guarded by Nagas, the oldest Buddhist structure at the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.

King Jayavarman VII
Jayavarman VII
(reigned c.1181–1218) had sent his son Tamalinda to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
to be ordained as a Buddhist monk and study Theravada Buddhism
Buddhism
according to the Pali
Pali
scriptural traditions in the Mahavihara monastery. Tamalinda then returned to Cambodia
Cambodia
and promoted Buddhist traditions according to the Theravada
Theravada
training he had received, galvanizing and energizing the long-standing Theravada
Theravada
presence that had existed throughout the Angkor empire for centuries. During the 13th and 14th centuries, Theravada
Theravada
monks from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
continued introducing orthodox Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism
Buddhism
which eventually became the dominant faith among all classes.[61] The monasteries replaced the local priestly classes, becoming centers of religion, education, culture and social service for Cambodian villages. This led to high levels of literacy among Cambodians.[62]

Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand.

In Thailand, Theravada
Theravada
existed alongside Mahayana
Mahayana
and other religious sects before the rise of Sukhothai Kingdom.[63] During the reign of King Ram Khamhaeng
Ram Khamhaeng
(c. 1237/1247 – 1298) Theravada
Theravada
was made the main state religion and promoted by the king. During the pre-modern era, Southeast Asian Buddhism
Buddhism
included numerous elements which could be called tantric and esoteric (such as the use of mantras and yantras in elaborate rituals). The French scholar François Bizot
François Bizot
has called this "Tantric Theravada", and his textual studies show that it was a major tradition in Cambodia
Cambodia
and Thailand.[64] Some of these practices are still prevalent in Cambodia and Laos
Laos
today. Despite its success in Southeast Asia, Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism
Buddhism
in China has generally been limited to areas bordering Theravāda
Theravāda
countries. Late innovations and esotericism[edit] Main article: Tantric Theravada Later Theravada
Theravada
textual materials show new and somewhat unorthodox developments in theory and practice. These developments include what has been called the "Yogāvacara tradition" associated with the Sinhalese Yogāvacara's manual
Yogāvacara's manual
(c. 16th to 17th centuries) and also Esoteric Theravada
Theravada
also known as Borān kammaṭṭhāna ('ancient practices'). These traditions include new practices and ideas which are not included in classical orthodox Theravada
Theravada
works like the Visuddhimagga, such as the use of mantras (such as Araham), the practice of magical formulas, complex rituals and complex visualization exercises.[65][66] These practices were particularly prominent in the Siam Nikaya
Siam Nikaya
before the modernist reforms of King Rama IV (1851–1868) as well as in Sri Lanka. Modernisation and spread to the West[edit] See also: Buddhist modernism
Buddhist modernism
and Vipassana
Vipassana
movement

Henry Olcott and Buddhists (Colombo, 1883).

In the 19th century began a process of mutual influence of both Asian Theravadins and a Western audience interested in ancient wisdom. Especially Helena Blavatsky
Helena Blavatsky
and Henry Steel Olcott, founders of the Theosophical Society
Theosophical Society
had a profound role in this process. In Theravāda
Theravāda
countries a lay vipassana practice developed. From the 1970s on, Western interest gave way to the growth of the Vipassana movement in the West.[67] Reaction against Western colonialism[edit] Buddhist revivalism has also reacted against changes in Buddhism caused by colonialist regimes. Western colonialists and Christian missionaries deliberately imposed a particular type of Christian monasticism on Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
and colonies in Southeast Asia, restricting monks' activities to individual purification and temple ministries.[68] Prior to British colonial control, monks in both Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
and Burma had been responsible for the education of the children of lay people, and had produced large bodies of literature. After the British takeover, Buddhist temples were strictly administered and were only permitted to use their funds on strictly religious activities. Christian ministers were given control of the education system and their pay became state funding for missions.[69] Foreign, especially British, rule had an enervating effect on the sangha.[70] According to Walpola Rahula, Christian missionaries displaced and appropriated the educational, social, and welfare activities of the monks, and inculcated a permanent shift in views regarding the proper position of monks in society through their institutional influence upon the elite.[70] Many monks in post-colonial times have dedicated themselves to undoing these changes.[71] Movements intending to restore Buddhism's place in society have developed in both Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
and Myanmar.[72] One consequence of the reaction against Western colonialism has been a modernization of Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism: Western elements have been incorporated, and meditation practice has opened to a lay audience. Modernized forms of Theravādan practice have spread to the West.[67] Sri Lanka[edit] See also: Buddhism
Buddhism
in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Avukana Buddha statue
Avukana Buddha statue
5th Century

In Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Theravadins were looking at Western culture to find means to revitalize their own tradition. Christian missionaries were threatening the indigenous culture.[73] As a reaction to this, Theravadins started to propagate Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism. They were aided by the Theosophical Society, who were dedicated to the search for wisdom within ancient sources, including Buddhism
Buddhism
and the Pāli Canon. Anagarika Dharmapala
Anagarika Dharmapala
was one of the Theravāda
Theravāda
leaders with whom the Theosophists sided. Dharmapala tried to reinstate vipassanā, using the Visuddhimagga
Visuddhimagga
and the Pali Canon
Pali Canon
as a foundation. Dharmapala reached out to the middle classes, offering them religious practice and a religious identity, which were used to withstand the British imperialists. As a result of Dharmapapla's efforts lay practitioners started to practise meditation, which had been reserved specifically for the monks.[74] The translation and publication of the Pāli Canon
Pāli Canon
by the Pali
Pali
Text Society made the Pali Canon
Pali Canon
better available to a lay audience, not only in the West, but also in the East. Western lay interest in Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism
Buddhism
was promoted by the Theosophical Society, and endured until the beginning of the 20th century. During the 1970s interest rose again, leading to a surge of Westerners searching for enlightenment, and the republishing of the Pāli Canon, first in print, and later on the internet. Thailand[edit]

The Great Buddha of Thailand
Thailand
in the Wat
Wat
Muang Monastery in Ang Thong Province is the tallest statue in Thailand, and the ninth tallest in the world.

See also: Buddhism in Thailand
Buddhism in Thailand
and Thai Forest Tradition With the coming to power in 1851 of King Mongkut, who had been a monk himself for twenty-seven years, the sangha, like the kingdom, became steadily more centralized and hierarchical, and its links to the state more institutionalized. Mongkut
Mongkut
was a distinguished scholar of Pali Buddhist scripture. Moreover, at that time the immigration of numbers of monks from Burma was introducing the more rigorous discipline characteristic of the Mon sangha. Influenced by the Mon and guided by his own understanding of the Tipitaka, Mongkut
Mongkut
began a reform movement that later became the basis for the Dhammayuttika Nikaya. In the early 1900s, Thailand's Ajahn Sao Kantasīlo
Ajahn Sao Kantasīlo
and his student, Mun Bhuridatta, led the Thai Forest Tradition
Thai Forest Tradition
revival movement. In the 20th century notable practitioners included Ajahn Thate, Ajahn Maha Bua and Ajahn Chah.[75] It was later spread globally by Ajahn Mun's students including Ajahn Thate, Ajahn Maha Bua
Ajahn Maha Bua
and Ajahn Chah
Ajahn Chah
and several Western disciples, among whom the most senior is Luang Por Ajahn Sumedho. Myanmar[edit]

Laykyun Sekkya
Laykyun Sekkya
in the village of Khatakan Taung near Monywa, Myanmar. It is the second tallest statue in the world.

See also: Buddhism
Buddhism
in Myanmar Burmese Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism
Buddhism
has had a profound influence on modern vipassanā practice, both for lay practitioners in Asia as in the West. The "New Burmese method" was developed by U Nārada
U Nārada
and popularized by his student Mahasi Sayadaw
Mahasi Sayadaw
and Nyanaponika Thera. Another prominent teacher is Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu
Bodhi, a student of Nyanaponika. The New Burmese Method strongly emphasizes vipassanā over samatha. It is regarded as a simplification of traditional Buddhist meditation
Buddhist meditation
techniques, suitable not only for monks but also for lay practitioners. The method has been popularized in the West by teachers as Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Gil Fronsdal
Gil Fronsdal
and Sharon Salzberg. The Ledi lineage begins with Ledi Sayadaw.[76] S. N. Goenka
S. N. Goenka
is a well-known teacher in the Ledi-lineage. According to S. N. Goenka, vipassana techniques are essentially nonsectarian in character, and have universal application. Meditation
Meditation
centers teaching the vipassanā popularized by S. N. Goenka
S. N. Goenka
exist now in India, Asia, North and South America, Europe, Australia, Middle East and Africa.[77][citation needed] Modern developments[edit] The following modern trends or movements have been identified.[78][web 4]

Modernism: attempts to adapt to the modern world and adopt some of its ideas; including, among other things

Green movement Syncretism
Syncretism
with other Buddhist as well as Hindu (in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bali
Bali
and Thailand) traditions Universal inclusivity

Reformism: attempts to restore a supposed earlier, ideal state of Buddhism; includes in particular the adoption of Western scholars' theories of original Buddhism
Buddhism
(in recent times the "Western scholarly interpretation of Buddhism" is the official Buddhism
Buddhism
prevailing in Sri Lanka and Thailand).[79] Ultimatism: tendency to concentrate on advanced teachings such as the Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths
at the expense of more elementary ones Neotraditionalism; includes among other things

Revival of ritualism Remythologization

A man meditates in Myanmar

vipassanā Social action Devotional religiosity Reaction to Buddhist nationalism Renewal of forest monks Revival of samatha meditation Revival of the Theravāda
Theravāda
bhikkhuni lineage (not recognized by official sangha authorities)

Doctrinal differences with other schools[edit] See also: Early Buddhism
Buddhism
and Pre-sectarian Buddhism The Sthāvirīya, from which Theravāda
Theravāda
is derived, differed from other early Buddhist schools on a variety of teachings[80] that are maintained by the Theravāda
Theravāda
school.[citation needed] The differences resulted from the systemization of the Buddhist teachings, which was preserved in the abhidharmas of the various schools.[81] The abhidhamma is "a restatement of the doctrine of the Buddha in strictly formalised language [...] assumed to constitute a consistent system of philosophy".[82] Its aim is not the empirical verification of the Buddhist teachings,[82] but "to set forth the correct interpretation of the Buddha's statements in the Sutra
Sutra
to restate his 'system' with perfect accuracy".[82] The arhat is perfect[edit] The Mahāsāṃghika
Mahāsāṃghika
believed arhats could regress, while Theravadins believe that the arhat has an "incorruptible nature".[83] Insight is sudden and perfect[edit] According to the Theravāda, "progress in understanding comes all at once, 'insight' (abhisamaya) does not come 'gradually' (successively - anapurva)", a belief known as subitism.[84] This is reflected in the Theravāda
Theravāda
account on the four stages of enlightenment, in which the attainment of the four paths appears suddenly and the defilements are rooted out at once. The same stance is taken in the contemporary vipassana movement, especially the "New Burmese Method".[citation needed] Dharmas[edit] The commentaries gave a new definition of "a 'principle' or 'element' (dharma)":[85]

[D]harmas are what have (or 'hold', 'maintain', dhr is the nearest equivalent in the language to the English 'have') their own own-being (svabhava). It is added that they naturally (yathasvabhavatas) have this through conditions (pratyaya). The idea is that they are distinct, definable, principles in the constitution of the universe."[86]

Teachings[edit]

Painting of Buddha's first sermon from Wat Chedi Liem
Wat Chedi Liem
in Thailand

Theravāda
Theravāda
promotes the concept of vibhajjavāda "teaching of analysis". This doctrine says that insight must come from the aspirant's experience, application of knowledge, and critical reasoning. However, the scriptures of the Theravadin tradition also emphasize heeding the advice of the wise, considering such advice and evaluation of one's own experiences to be the two tests by which practices should be judged. Theravāda
Theravāda
orthodoxy takes the seven stages of purification as its basic outline of the path to be followed. The Theravāda
Theravāda
Path starts with learning, to be followed by practise, culminating in the realization of Nirvana.[c] Learning[edit] The Three Characteristics[edit]

Wat Chaiwatthanaram
Wat Chaiwatthanaram
in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thailand

Main article: Three marks of existence Throughout the Pali
Pali
Canon, two characteristics of all saṅkhāra (conditioned phenomena) and one characteristic of all dhammas are mentioned. The Theravāda
Theravāda
tradition has grouped them together. Insight into these three characteristics is the entry to the Buddhist path:

Anicca (impermanence): All conditioned phenomena are subject to change, including physical characteristics, qualities, assumptions, theories, knowledge, etc. Nothing is permanent, because, for something to be permanent, there has to be an unchanging cause behind it. Since all causes are recursively bound together, there can be no ultimate unchanging cause. Dukkha
Dukkha
(suffering): Craving causes suffering, since what is craved is transitory, changing, and perishing. The craving for impermanent things causes disappointment and sorrow. There is a tendency to label practically everything in the world, as either "good", "comfortable" or "satisfying"; or "bad", "uncomfortable", and "unsatisfying". Labeling things in terms of like and dislike creates suffering. If one succeeds in giving up the tendency to label things, and freeing themself from the instincts that drive them towards attaining what they themselves label collectively as "liking", they attain the ultimate freedom. The problem, the cause, the solution and the implementation, all of these are within oneself, not outside. Anatta
Anatta
(not-self): all dhammas lack a fixed, unchanging 'essence'; there is no permanent, essential ātta (self). A living being is a composite of the five aggregates (khandhas), which are the physical forms (rupa), feelings or sensations (vedana), perception (sanna), mental formations (sankhara), and consciousness (vinnana), none of which can be identified as one's Self. From the moment of conception, all entities (including all living beings) are subject to a process of continuous change. A practitioner should, on the other hand, develop and refine their mind to a state so as to see through this phenomenon. Truly understanding this counter-intuitive concept of Buddhism requires direct and personal experience. This is given in vipassanā practice, closely watching the continuous changes in the Five Aggregates.[88]

Dukkha: The Four Noble Truths[edit] Main article: Four Noble Truths The Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths
are described as follows:

Dukkha
Dukkha
(suffering): This can be somewhat broadly classified into three categories. Inherent suffering, or the suffering one undergoes in all the worldly activities, what one suffers in day-to-day life: birth, aging, diseases, death, sadness and so on. In short, all that one feels, from separating from "loving" attachments, and/or associating with "hating" attachments, is encompassed into the term. The second class of suffering, called Suffering
Suffering
due to Change, implies that things suffer because of attaching themselves to a momentary state which is held to be "good"; when that state is changed, things are subjected to suffering. The third, termed Sankhara Dukkha, is the subtlest. Beings suffer simply by not realizing that they are mere aggregates with no definite, unchanging identity. Dukkha
Dukkha
Samudaya (cause of suffering): Craving, which leads to Attachment and Bondage, is the cause of suffering. Formally, this is termed Tanha. It can be classified into three instinctive drives. Kama Tanha is the Craving for any pleasurable sense object (which involves sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and mental perceptives). Bhava Tanha is the Craving for attachment to an ongoing process, which appears in various forms, including the longing for existence. Vibhava Tanha is the Craving for detachment from a process, which includes non-existence and causes the longing for self-annihilation. Dukkha
Dukkha
Nirodha (cessation of suffering): One cannot possibly adjust the whole world to one's taste in order to eliminate suffering and hope that it will remain so forever. This would violate the chief principle of Change. Instead, one adjusts one's own mind through detachment so that the Change, of whatever nature, has no effect on one's peace of mind. Briefly stated, the third Noble Truth implies that elimination of the cause (craving) eliminates the result (suffering). This is implied by the scriptural quote by The Buddha, 'Whatever may result from a cause, shall be eliminated by the elimination of the cause'. Dukkha
Dukkha
Nirodha Gamini Patipada (pathway to freedom from suffering): This is the Noble Eightfold Pathway towards freedom or Nirvana. The path can roughly be rendered into English as right view, right intention, right speech, right actions, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.

Defilements[edit] Main article: Kleshas (Buddhism) In Theravāda, the cause of human existence and suffering (dukkha) is identified as taṇhā (craving), which carries with it the kilesas (defilements). Those defilements that bind humans to the cycle of rebirth are classified into a set of ten fetters, while those defilements - sometimes referred to in English as "toxic mental states" - that impede samadhi (concentration) are presented in a fivefold set called the five hindrances.[web 5] The level of defilement can be coarse, medium, and subtle. It is a phenomenon that frequently arises, remains temporarily and then vanishes. Theravadins believe defilements are not only harmful to oneself, but also harmful to others. They are the driving force behind all inhumanities a human being can commit. There are three stages of defilements. During the stage of passivity the defilements lie dormant at the base of the mental continuum as latent tendencies (anusaya), but through the impact of sensory stimulus, they will manifest (pariyutthana) themselves at the surface of consciousness in the form of unwholesome thoughts, emotions, and volitions. If they gather additional strength, the defilements will reach the dangerous stage of transgression (vitikkama), which will then involve physical or vocal actions. Ignorance[edit] Main article: Avidyā (Buddhism) Theravadins believe these defilements are habits born out of avijjā (ignorance) that afflict the minds of all unenlightened beings, who cling to them and their influence in their ignorance of the truth. But in reality, those mental defilements are nothing more than taints that have afflicted the mind, creating suffering and stress. Unenlightened beings cling to the body, under the assumption that it represents a Self, whereas in reality the body is an impermanent phenomenon formed from the mahābhūta. Often characterized by earth, water, fire and air, in the early Buddhist texts
Buddhist texts
these are defined to be abstractions representing the sensorial qualities solidity, fluidity, temperature, and mobility, respectively.[d] The mental defilements' frequent instigation and manipulation of the mind is believed to have prevented the mind from seeing the true nature of reality. Unskillful behavior in turn can strengthen the defilements, but following the Noble Eightfold Path
Noble Eightfold Path
can weaken or eradicate them. Avijjā is destroyed by insight. Cause and Effect[edit] Main article: Pratītyasamutpāda The concept of cause and effect, or causality, is a key concept in Theravāda, and indeed, in Buddhism
Buddhism
as a whole. This concept is expressed in several ways, including the Four Noble Truths, and most importantly, paticcasamuppāda (dependent co-arising). Abhidharma
Abhidharma
in the Pali Canon
Pali Canon
differentiates between a root cause (hetu) and facilitating cause (pacca). By the combined interaction of both these, an effect is brought about. On top of this view, a logic is built and elaborated whose most supple form can be seen in paticcasamuppāda. This concept is then used to question the nature of suffering and to elucidate the way out of it, as expressed in the Four Noble Truths. It is also employed in several suttas to refute several philosophies, or any belief system that takes a fixed mindset, or absolute beliefs about the nature of reality. By taking away a cause, the result will also disappear. From this follows the Buddhist path to end suffering and existence in samsara. Practice[edit] Theravāda
Theravāda
orthodoxy takes the seven stages of purification as the basic outline of the path to be followed. This basic outline is based on the threefold discipline of sīla (ethics or discipline), samādhi (meditative concentration) and paññā (understanding or wisdom). The emphasis is on understanding the three marks of existence, which removes ignorance. Understanding destroys the ten fetters and leads to nibbana. Theravadins believe that every individual is personally responsible for their own self-awakening and liberation, as they are the ones that were responsible for their own kamma (actions and consequences). Great emphasis is placed upon applying the knowledge through direct experience and personal realization, than believing about the known information about the nature of reality as said by the Buddha. Noble Eightfold Path
Noble Eightfold Path
and Threefold Discipline[edit] Main article: Noble Eightfold Path In the Sutta Pitaka, the path to liberation is described by the Noble Eightfold Path:

The Blessed One said, "Now what, monks, is the Noble Eightfold Path? Right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.[web 7]

The Noble Eightfold Path
Noble Eightfold Path
can also be summarized as the Three Noble Disciplines.[web 8][89] These are sīla, paññā, and samādhi.[web 9] Seven purifications[edit] The Visuddhimagga, written in the fifth century by Buddhaghosa, has become the orthodox account of the Theravāda
Theravāda
path to liberation. It gives a sequence of seven purifications, based on the sequence of sīla, samādhi and paññā. It is composed of three sections, which discuss sīla, samādhi and pañña.

The first section (part 1) explains the rules of discipline, and the method for finding a correct temple to practise, or how to meet a good teacher. The second section (part 2) describes samatha practice, object by object (see kammaṭṭhāna for the list of the forty traditional objects). It mentions different stages of concentration. The third section (part 3-7) is a description of the five khandhas, ayatanas, the Four Noble Truths, paticcasamuppāda, and the practise of vipassanā through the development of wisdom. It emphasizes different forms of knowledge emerging because of the practice. This part shows a great analytical effort specific to Buddhist philosophy.

The seven purifications are:[90]

Purification of Conduct (sīla-visuddhi) Purification of Mind (citta-visuddhi) Purification of View (ditthi-visuddhi) Purification by Overcoming Doubt (kankha-vitarana-visuddhi) Purification by Knowledge and Vision of What Is Path and Not Path (maggamagga-ñanadassana-visuddhi) Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Course of Practice (patipada-ñanadassana-visuddhi)

Knowledge of contemplation of rise and fall (udayabbayanupassana-nana) Knowledge of contemplation of dissolution (bhanganupassana-nana) Knowledge of appearance as terror (bhayatupatthana-nana) Knowledge of contemplation of danger (adinavanupassana-nana) Knowledge of contemplation of dispassion (nibbidanupassana-nana) Knowledge of desire for deliverance (muncitukamyata-nana) Knowledge of contemplation of reflection (patisankhanupassana-nana) Knowledge of equanimity about formations (sankharupekka-nana) Conformity knowledge (anuloma-nana)

Purification by Knowledge and Vision (ñanadassana-visuddhi)

Change of lineage Sotāpanna Sakadagami Anāgāmi Arhat

The "Purification by Knowledge and Vision" is the culmination of the practice, in four stages leading to liberation and Nirvana. The emphasis in this system is on understanding the three marks of existence, dukkha, anatta and anicca. This emphasis is recognizable in the value that is given to vipassanā over samatha, especially in the contemporary Vipassana
Vipassana
movement. Meditation[edit]

Thai novice in meditation

Main article: Buddhist meditation Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhist meditation
Buddhist meditation
practices fall into two broad categories: samatha and vipassanā.[web 10] This distinction is not made in the sutras, but in the Visuddhimagga.[web 11] Meditation
Meditation
(Pali: Bhavana) means the positive reinforcement of one's mind. Meditation
Meditation
is the key tool implemented in attaining jhāna. Samatha
Samatha
means "to make skillful", and has other renderings, among which are "tranquilizing, calming", "visualizing", and "achieving". Vipassanā
Vipassanā
means "insight" or "abstract understanding". In this context, Samatha
Samatha
Meditation
Meditation
makes a person skillful in concentration of mind. Once the mind is sufficiently concentrated, vipassanā allows one to see through the veil of ignorance. In order to be free from suffering and stress, Theravadins believe that the defilements need to be permanently uprooted. Initially the defilements are restrained through mindfulness to prevent them from taking over mental and bodily action. They are then uprooted through internal investigation, analysis, experience and understanding of their true nature by using jhāna. This process needs to be repeated for each and every defilement. The practice will then lead the meditator to realize Nirvana. Samatha
Samatha
meditation[edit]

Thai Forest Tradition
Thai Forest Tradition
meditation master Ajahn Chah
Ajahn Chah
with his resident sangha at Wat Nong Pah Pong in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

Main article: Samatha Samatha
Samatha
meditation in Theravāda
Theravāda
is usually involved with the concepts of kammaṭṭhāna, which literally stands for "place of work"; in this context, it is the "place" or object of concentration (Pāli: Ārammana) where the mind is at work. In samatha meditation, the mind is set at work concentrated on one particular entity. There are forty (40) such classic objects (entities) used in samatha meditation, which are termed kammaṭṭhāna. By acquiring a kammaṭṭhāna and practising samatha meditation, one would be able to attain certain elevated states of awareness and skill of the mind called Jhana. Practising samatha has samadhi as its ultimate goal. It should be noted that samatha is not a method that is unique to Buddhism. In the suttas it is said to be implemented in other contemporary religions in India
India
at the time of Buddha. In fact, the first teachers of Siddhartha, before they attained the state of awakening (Pāli: Bodhi), are said to have been quite skillful in samatha (although the term had not been coined yet). In the Pali Canon, the Buddha frequently instructs his disciples to practise samadhi in order to establish and develop jhāna. Jhāna is the instrument used by the Buddha himself to penetrate the true nature of phenomena (through investigation and direct experience) and to reach Enlightenment.[web 12] Right Concentration (samma-samadhi) is one of the elements in the Noble Eightfold Path. Samadhi
Samadhi
can be developed from mindfulness developed with kammaṭṭhāna such as concentration on breathing (anapanasati), from visual objects (kasina), and repetition of phrases. The traditional list contains 40 objects of meditation (kammaṭṭhāna) to be used for Samatha
Samatha
Meditation. Every object has a specific goal; for example, meditation on the parts of the body (kayanupassana or kayagathasathi) will result in a lessening of attachment to our own bodies and those of others, resulting in a reduction of sensual desires. Mettā
Mettā
generates the feelings of goodwill and sukha (happiness) toward ourselves and other beings; mettā practice serves as an antidote to ill-will, wrath and fear. Attainment[edit] Path and fruit[edit] Practice leads to mundane and supramundane wisdom, leading to Nirvana:

The term "supramundane" [lokuttara] applies exclusively to that which transcends the world, that is the nine supramundane states: Nibbana, the four noble paths (magga) leading to Nibbana, and their corresponding fruits (phala) which experience the bliss of Nibbana.[web 11]

Mundane wisdom is the insight in the three marks of existence.[web 11] The development of this insight leads to four supramundane paths and fruits:

Each path is a momentary peak experience directly apprehending Nibbana and permanently cutting off certain defilements.[web 11]

Each path is followed by its supramundane fruit:

whereas the path performs the active function of cutting off defilements, fruition simply enjoys the bliss and peace that result when the path has completed its task. Also, where the path is limited to a single moment of consciousness, the fruition that follows immediately on the path endures for two or three moments. And while each of the four paths occurs only once and can never be repeated, fruition remains accessible to the noble disciple.[web 11]

Levels of attainment[edit] Main article: Four stages of enlightenment Four levels of supramundane[web 11] wisdom can be attained:[web 13]

Stream-Enterers: Those who have destroyed the first three fetters (false view of Self, doubt, and clinging to rites and rituals);[web 14][web 15] Once-Returners: Those who have destroyed the first three fetters and have lessened the fetters of lust and hatred; Non-Returners: Those who have destroyed the five lower fetters, which bind beings to the world of the senses;[91] Arahants: Those who have reached Enlightenment—realized Nirvana, and have reached the quality of deathlessness—are free from all the fermentations of defilement. Their ignorance, craving and attachments have ended.[91]

Nirvana[edit] Main article: Nirvana Nirvana
Nirvana
(Sanskrit: निर्वाण, Nirvāṇa; Pali: निब्बान, Nibbāna; Thai: นิพพาน, Nípphaan) is the ultimate goal of Theravadins. It is a state where the fire of the passions has been 'blown out', and the person is liberated from the repeated cycle of birth, illness, aging and death. In the Saṃyojanapuggala Sutta of the Aṅgutarra Nikaya, the Buddha describes four kinds of persons and tells us that the last person - the Arahant
Arahant
- has attained Nibbana by removing all 10 fetters that bind beings to samsara:

"In the Arahant. In this person, monks, all of the fetters ['saṃyojanāni'] are gotten rid of that pertain to this world, give rise to rebirth, and give rise to becoming."[92]

According to the early scriptures, the Nirvana
Nirvana
attained by Arahants
Arahants
is identical to that attained by the Buddha himself, as there is only one type of Nirvana.[web 16] Theravadins believe the Buddha was superior to Arahants
Arahants
because the Buddha discovered the path all by himself and taught it to others (i.e., metaphorically turning the wheel of Dhamma). Arahants, on the other hand, attained Nirvana
Nirvana
partly because of the Buddha's teachings. Theravadins revere the Buddha as a supremely gifted person but also recognize the existence of other such Buddhas in the distant past and future. Maitreya
Maitreya
(Pali: Metteyya), for example, is mentioned very briefly in the Pali Canon
Pali Canon
as a Buddha who will come in the distant future. Scriptures[edit] Pali
Pali
Canon[edit] Main article: Pali
Pali
Canon

One of the 729 large marble tablets of the Pali Canon
Pali Canon
(the world's largest book) inscribed using the Burmese alphabet
Burmese alphabet
at the Kuthodaw Pagoda
Pagoda
in Mandalay, Myanmar.

The Theravāda
Theravāda
school upholds the Pali Canon
Pali Canon
or Tipitaka
Tipitaka
as the most authoritative collection of texts on the teachings of Gautama Buddha. The Sutta and Vinaya
Vinaya
portion of the Tipitaka
Tipitaka
shows considerable overlap in content to the Agamas, the parallel collections used by non- Theravāda
Theravāda
schools in India
India
which are preserved in Chinese and partially in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Tibetan, and the various non- Theravāda
Theravāda
Vinayas. On this basis, both these sets of texts are generally believed to be the oldest and most authoritative texts on Buddhism
Buddhism
by scholars. It is also believed that much of the Pali
Pali
Canon, which is still used by Theravāda
Theravāda
communities, was transmitted to Sri Lanka during the reign of Ashoka. After being orally transmitted (as was the custom in those days for religious texts) for some centuries, were finally committed to writing in the last century BCE, at what the Theravāda
Theravāda
usually reckons as the fourth council, in Sri Lanka. Theravāda
Theravāda
is one of the first Buddhist schools to commit the whole complete set of its Buddhist canon into writing.[93] Much of the material in the Canon is not specifically "Theravādan", but is instead the collection of teachings that this school preserved from the early, non-sectarian body of teachings. According to Peter Harvey:

The Theravādans, then, may have added texts to the Canon for some time, but they do not appear to have tampered with what they already had from an earlier period.[94]

The Pali
Pali
Tipitaka
Tipitaka
consists of three parts: the Vinaya
Vinaya
Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka and Abhidhamma
Abhidhamma
Pitaka. Of these, the Abhidhamma
Abhidhamma
Pitaka is believed to be a later addition to the first two pitakas, which, in the opinion of many scholars, were the only two pitakas at the time of the First Buddhist Council. The Pali
Pali
Abhidhamma
Abhidhamma
was not recognized outside the Theravāda
Theravāda
school. The Tipitaka
Tipitaka
is composed of 45 volumes in the Thai edition, 40 in the Burmese and 58 in the Sinhalese, and a full set of the Tipitaka
Tipitaka
is usually kept in its own (medium-sized) cupboard. Commentaries[edit] In the 4th or 5th century Buddhaghosa
Buddhaghosa
Thera wrote the first Pali commentaries to much of the Tipitaka
Tipitaka
(which were based on much older manuscripts, mostly in old Sinhalese). After him many other monks wrote various commentaries, which have become part of the Theravāda heritage. These texts do not have the same authority as the Tipitaka does, though Buddhaghosas Visuddhimagga
Visuddhimagga
is a cornerstone of the commentarial tradition. The commentaries, together with the Abhidhamma, define the specific Theravāda
Theravāda
heritage. Related versions of the Sutta Pitaka
Sutta Pitaka
and Vinaya Pitaka were common to all the early Buddhist schools, and therefore do not define only Theravāda, but also the other early Buddhist schools, and perhaps the teaching of Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
himself. Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhists consider much of what is found in the Chinese and Tibetan Mahāyāna scriptural collections to be apocryphal, meaning that they are not authentic words of the Buddha.[95] Lay and monastic life[edit]

Young Burmese monk

See also: Buddhist monasticism Distinction between lay and monastic life[edit] Traditionally, Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism
Buddhism
has observed a distinction between the practices suitable for a lay person and the practices undertaken by ordained monks (in ancient times, there was a separate body of practices for nuns). While the possibility of significant attainment by laymen is not entirely disregarded by the Theravāda, it generally occupies a position of less prominence than in the Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna traditions, with monastic life being hailed as a superior method of achieving Nirvana.[96] The view that Theravāda, unlike other Buddhist schools, is primarily a monastic tradition has, however, been disputed.

Some Western scholars have erroneously tried to claim that Mahāyāna is primarily a religion for laymen and Theravāda
Theravāda
is a primarily monastic religion. Both Mahāyāna and Theravāda
Theravāda
have as their foundation strong monastic communities, which are almost identical in their regulations. Schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism
Buddhism
without monastic communities of fully ordained monks and nuns are relatively recent and atypical developments, usually based on cultural and historical considerations rather than differences in fundamental doctrine. Both Mahāyāna and Theravāda
Theravāda
also provided a clear and important place for lay followers. — Ron Epstein, "Clearing Up Some Misconceptions about Buddhism"[97]

This distinction between ordained monks and laypeople — as well as the distinction between those practices advocated by the Pali Canon, and the folk religious elements embraced by many monks — have motivated some scholars to consider Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism
Buddhism
to be composed of multiple separate traditions, overlapping though still distinct. Most prominently, the anthropologist Melford Spiro in his work Buddhism
Buddhism
and Society separated Burmese Theravāda
Theravāda
into three groups: Apotropaic Buddhism
Buddhism
(concerned with providing protection from evil spirits), Kammatic Buddhism
Buddhism
(concerned with making merit for a future birth), and Nibbanic Buddhism
Buddhism
(concerned with attaining the liberation of Nirvana, as described in the Tipitaka). He stresses that all three are firmly rooted in the Pali
Pali
Canon. These categories are not accepted by all scholars, and are usually considered non-exclusive by those who employ them.[citation needed] The role of lay people has traditionally been primarily occupied with activities that are commonly termed merit making (falling under Spiro's category of kammatic Buddhism). Merit making activities include offering food and other basic necessities to monks, making donations to temples and monasteries, burning incense or lighting candles before images of the Buddha, and chanting protective or merit-making verses from the Pali
Pali
Canon. Some lay practitioners have always chosen to take a more active role in religious affairs, while still maintaining their lay status. Dedicated lay men and women sometimes act as trustees or custodians for their temples, taking part in the financial planning and management of the temple. Others may volunteer significant time in tending to the mundane needs of local monks (by cooking, cleaning, maintaining temple facilities, etc.). Lay activities have traditionally not extended to study of the Pali scriptures, nor the practice of meditation, though in the 20th Century these areas have become more accessible to the lay community, especially in Thailand.

Thai monks on pilgrimage in their orange robes.

A number of senior monastics in the Thai Forest Tradition, including Buddhadasa, Ajahn Maha Bua, Ajahn Plien Panyapatipo, Ajahn Pasanno, and Ajahn Jayasaro, have begun teaching meditation retreats outside of the monastery for lay disciples. Ajahn Chah, a disciple of Mun Bhuridatta
Mun Bhuridatta
of the Thai Forest Tradition of the Dhammayuttika Nikaya, set up a monastic lineage called Cittaviveka at Chithurst Buddhist Monastery
Chithurst Buddhist Monastery
with his disciple Ajahn Sumedho, at Chithurst in West Sussex, England. Ajahn Sumedho
Ajahn Sumedho
later founded the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery
Amaravati Buddhist Monastery
in Hertfordshire, which has a retreat center specifically for lay retreats. Sumedho extended this to Harnham in Northumberland as Aruna Ratanagiri
Aruna Ratanagiri
under the present guidance of Ajahn Munindo, another disciple of Ajahn Chah.[citation needed] Scholar monks and rural monks[edit] Nibbāna, the highest goal of Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism, is attained through study and the practice of sīla (morality), samādhi (meditation) and paññā (wisdom). The goal of nibbāna and its associated techniques have traditionally been seen as the domain of the fully ordained monastic, whereas many of the same techniques can be used by laypersons to generate happiness in their lives without focusing on nibbāna. Monastic roles in the Theravada
Theravada
school can be broadly described as being split between the role of the (often urban) scholar monk and the (often rural or forest) meditation monk. Both types of monks serve their communities as spiritual teachers and officiants by presiding over spiritual ceremonies and providing instruction in basic Buddhist morality and teachings.[citation needed] Scholar monks undertake the path of studying and preserving the Pali literature of the Theravāda. They may devote little time to the practice of meditation, but may attain great respect and renown by becoming masters of a particular section of the Pali Canon
Pali Canon
or its commentaries. Masters of the abhidhamma, called ābhidhammika, are particularly respected in the scholastic tradition.[citation needed] Meditation
Meditation
monks, often called forest monks because of their association with certain wilderness-dwelling traditions, are considered to be specialists in meditation. While some forest monks may undertake significant study of the Pali
Pali
Canon, in general meditation monks are expected to learn primarily from their meditation experiences and personal teachers, and may not know more of the Tipitaka
Tipitaka
than is necessary to participate in liturgical life and to provide a foundation for fundamental Buddhist teachings. More so than the scholastic tradition, the meditation tradition is associated with the attainment of certain supernatural powers described in both Pali sources and folk tradition. These powers include the attainment of Nirvana, mind-reading, supernatural power over material objects and their own material bodies, seeing and conversing with gods and beings living in hell, and remembering their past lives. These powers are called abhiñña. Sometimes the remain of the cremated bone fragment of an accomplished forest monk is believed able to transform itself into crystal-like relics called sarīra or dhātu.[citation needed] Ordination[edit]

Candidates for the Buddhist monkhood being ordained as monks in Thailand

The minimum age for ordaining as a Buddhist monk is 20 years, reckoned from conception. However, boys under that age are allowed to ordain as novices (sāmaṇera), performing a ceremony such as shinbyu in Myanmar. Novices shave their heads, wear the yellow robes, and observe the Ten Precepts. Although no specific minimum age for novices is mentioned in the scriptures, traditionally boys as young as seven are accepted. This tradition follows the story of the Buddha’s son, Rahula, who was allowed to become a novice at the age of seven. Monks follow 227 rules of discipline, while nuns follow 311 rules. In most Theravāda
Theravāda
countries, it is a common practice for young men to ordain as monks for a fixed period of time. In Thailand
Thailand
and Myanmar, young men typically ordain for the retreat during Vassa, the three-month monsoon season, though shorter or longer periods of ordination are not rare. Traditionally, temporary ordination was even more flexible among Laotians. Once they had undergone their initial ordination as young men, Laotian men were permitted to temporarily ordain again at any time, though married men were expected to seek their wife's permission. Throughout Southeast Asia, there is little stigma attached to leaving the monastic life. Monks regularly leave the robes after acquiring an education, or when compelled by family obligations or ill health. Ordaining as a monk, even for a short period, is seen as having many virtues. In many Southeast Asian cultures, it is seen as a means for a young man to "repay" his parents for their work and effort in raising him, because the merit from his ordination accrues to them as well. Thai men who have ordained as a monk may be seen as more fit husbands by Thai women, who refer to men who have served as monks with a colloquial term meaning "ripe" to indicate that they are more mature and ready for marriage. Particularly in rural areas, temporary ordination of boys and young men traditionally gave peasant boys an opportunity to gain an education in temple schools without committing to a permanent monastic life. In Sri Lanka, temporary ordination is not practised, and a monk leaving the order is frowned upon. The continuing influence of the caste system in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
plays a role in the taboo against temporary or permanent ordination as a bhikkhu in some orders. Though Sri Lankan orders are often organized along caste lines, men who ordain as monks temporarily pass outside of the conventional caste system, and as such during their time as monks may act (or be treated) in a way that would not be in line with the expected duties and privileges of their caste.[citation needed] Men and women born in Western countries, who become Buddhists as adults, wish to become monks or nuns. It is possible, and one can live as a monk or nun in the country they were born in, seek monks or nuns which has gathered in a different Western country or move to a monastery in countries like Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
or Thailand. It is seen as being easier to live a life as a monk or nun in countries where people generally live by the culture of Buddhism, since it is difficult to live by the rules of a monk or a nun in a Western country. For instance; a Theravāda
Theravāda
monk or nun is not allowed to work, handle money, listen to music, cook and so on, which are extremely difficult rules to live by in cultures which do not embrace Buddhism.[citation needed] Some of the more well-known Theravādan monks are Mun Bhuridatta, Ajahn Chah, Ledi Sayadaw, Ajahn Plien Panyapatipo, Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Khemadhammo, Ajahn Brahm, Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu
Bodhi, Buddhadasa, Mahasi Sayadaw, Nyanaponika Thera, Preah Maha Ghosananda, U Pandita, Ajahn Amaro, Ajahn Sucitto, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Walpola Rahula, Henepola Gunaratana, Bhante Yogavacara Rahula and Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro. Monastic practices[edit]

A Buddhist Monk
Monk
chants evening prayers inside a monastery located near the town of Kantharalak, Thailand.

The practices usually vary in different sub-schools and monasteries within Theravāda. But in the most orthodox forest monastery, the monk usually models his practice and lifestyle on that of the Buddha and his first generation of disciples by living close to nature in forest, mountains and caves. Forest monasteries still keep alive the ancient traditions through following the Buddhist monastic code of discipline in all its detail and developing meditation in secluded forests. In a typical daily routine at the monastery during the 3 month vassa period, the monk will wake up before dawn and will begin the day with group chanting and meditation. At dawn the monks will go out to surrounding villages bare-footed on alms-round and will have the only meal of the day before noon by eating from the bowl by hand. Most of the time is spent on Dhamma study and meditation. Sometimes the abbot or a senior monk will give a Dhamma talk to the visitors. Laity who stay at the monastery will have to abide by the traditional eight Buddhist precepts. The life of the monk or nun in a community is much more complex than the life of the forest monk. In the Buddhist society of Sri Lanka, most monks spend hours every day in taking care of the needs of lay people such as preaching bana,[98] accepting alms, officiating funerals, teaching dhamma to adults and children in addition to providing social services to the community. After the end of the Vassa
Vassa
period, many of the monks will go out far away from the monastery to find a remote place (usually in the forest) where they can hang their umbrella tents and where it is suitable for the work of self-development. When they go wandering, they walk barefoot, and go wherever they feel inclined. Only those requisites which are necessary will be carried along. These generally consist of the bowl, the three robes, a bathing cloth, an umbrella tent, a mosquito net, a kettle of water, a water filter, razor, sandals, some small candles, and a candle lantern. The monks do not fix their times for walking and sitting meditation, for as soon as they are free they just start doing it; nor do they determine for how long they will go on to meditate. Some of them sometimes walk from dusk to dawn whereas at other times they may walk from between two and seven hours. Some may decide to fast for days or stay at dangerous places where ferocious animals live in order to aid their meditation. Those monks who have been able to achieve a high level of attainment will be able to guide the junior monks and lay Buddhists toward the four degrees of spiritual attainment. Lay devotee[edit]

The ceremony walks with lighted candles in hand around a temple on Vesakha Puja
Vesakha Puja
in Uttaradit, Thailand.

In Pali
Pali
the word for a male lay devotee is Upasaka. Upasika is its female equivalent. One of the duties of the lay followers, as taught by the Buddha, is to look after the needs of the monk/nuns. They are to see that the monk/nuns do not suffer from lack of the four requisites: food, clothing, shelter and medicine. As neither monks nor nuns are allowed to have an occupation, they depend entirely on the laity for their sustenance. In return for this charity, they are expected to lead exemplary lives. In Myanmar
Myanmar
and Thailand, the monastery was and is still regarded as a seat of learning. In fact today about half of the primary schools in Thailand
Thailand
are located in monasteries. Religious rituals and ceremonies held in a monastery are always accompanied by social activities. In times of crisis, it is to the monks that people bring their problems for counsel. Traditionally, a ranking monk will deliver a sermon four times a month: when the moon waxes and wanes and the day before the new and full moons. The laity also have a chance to learn meditation from the monks during these times. It is also possible for a lay disciple to become enlightened. As Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu
Bodhi
Bodhi
notes, "The Suttas and commentaries do record a few cases of lay disciples attaining the final goal of Nirvana. However, such disciples either attain Arahantship on the brink of death or enter the monastic order soon after their attainment. They do not continue to dwell at home as Arahant
Arahant
householders, for dwelling at home is incompatible with the state of one who has severed all craving."[99] Monastic orders within Theravāda[edit]

Thai monks blessing the King of Thailand
Thailand
in Wat
Wat
Nong Wong, Amphoe Sawankhalok, Sukhothai, Thailand.

Theravāda
Theravāda
monks typically belong to a particular nikaya, variously referred to as monastic orders or fraternities. These different orders do not typically develop separate doctrines, but may differ in the manner in which they observe monastic rules. These monastic orders represent lineages of ordination, typically tracing their origin to a particular group of monks that established a new ordination tradition within a particular country or geographic area. In Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
caste plays a major role in the division into nikayas. Some Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhist countries appoint or elect a sangharaja, or Supreme Patriarch of the Sangha, as the highest ranking or seniormost monk in a particular area, or from a particular nikaya. The demise of monarchies has resulted in the suspension of these posts in some countries, but patriarchs have continued to be appointed in Thailand. Myanmar
Myanmar
and Cambodia
Cambodia
ended the practice of appointing a sangharaja for some time, but the position was later restored, though in Cambodia
Cambodia
it lapsed again.[citation needed]

Bangladesh:

Sangharaj Nikaya Mahasthabir Nikaya

Myanmar
Myanmar
(Myanmar):

Thudhamma Nikaya Shwekyin Nikaya Hngettwin Nikaya Dwara Nikaya

Sri Lanka:

Siam Nikaya

Rohana Malwaththa Asgiriya Waturawila (or Mahavihara Vamshika Shyamopali Vanavasa Nikaya)

Amarapura Nikaya
Amarapura Nikaya
has many Sub orders including

Dharmarakshitha Kanduboda (or Swejin Nikaya) Tapovana (or Kalyanavamsa)

Ramañña Nikaya

Sri Kalyani Yogasrama Samstha
Sri Kalyani Yogasrama Samstha
(or 'Galduwa Tradition') Delduwa

Thailand
Thailand
and Cambodia

Maha Nikaya Dhammayuttika Nikaya

Festivals and customs[edit]

Magha Puja Vesakha Puja Asalha Puja Uposatha Vassa
Vassa
(Rain Retreat)

List of Theravāda
Theravāda
majority countries[edit]

Rank Country Population Buddhist % Buddhist total Importance of religion

01 !1 Thailand
Thailand
! Thailand 01 !66,720,153[web 17] 02 !94.6%[web 18] 01 !63,117,265 03 !97%[web 19]

02 !2 Myanmar
Myanmar
! Myanmar 02 !60,280,000[web 20] 03 !89%[web 21] 02 !53,649,200 04 !96%[web 19]

03 !3 Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
! Sri Lanka 03 !20,277,597 04 !70.2% 03 !14,222,844 01 !100%[web 19]

04 !4 Cambodia
Cambodia
! Cambodia 04 !14,701,717[web 22] 01 !96.4%[web 22] 04 !14,172,455 05 !95%[web 19]

05 !5 Laos
Laos
! Laos 05 !6,477,211[web 23] 05 !67%[web 23] 05 !4,339,731 02 !98%[web 19]

Gallery[edit]

This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (October 2017)

See also[edit]

Buddhahood Buddhism
Buddhism
in Cambodia Buddhism
Buddhism
in India Buddhism
Buddhism
in Myanmar Buddhism
Buddhism
in Sri Lanka Buddhism
Buddhism
in Thailand Buddhist Pilgrimage Gautama Buddha Schools of Buddhism Supreme Patriarch of Thailand Thai Forest Tradition

Notes[edit]

^ John Bullit: "In the last century, however, the West has begun to take notice of Theravāda's unique spiritual legacy and teachings of Awakening. In recent decades, this interest has swelled, with the monastic Sangha
Sangha
from the schools within Theravāda, establishing dozens of monasteries across Europe and North America."[web 1] ^ Source says,"Technical terms from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
were converted into Pali by a set of conventional phonological transformations". Vowels and diphthongs from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
to Pali
Pali
follow this pattern. Thus 'Sthavira' in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
becomes 'Thera' in Pali. Sanskrit
Sanskrit
'avi' becomes Pali
Pali
'e' (i.e. Sthavira → ai → Thera). ^ Gombrich writes: "In Ceylonese tradition, Buddhism
Buddhism
(the Sasana) has three constituents: learning, practice and realization".[87] In the sequence given by Buddhaghosa
Buddhaghosa
in his Visuddhimagga, the sequence of training is sila, samadhi, prajna. ^ Dan Lusthaus specifically discusses early Buddhism
Buddhism
as well as Yogacara.[web 6]

References[edit] Book references[edit]

^ Crosby, Kate; Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity, and Identity, 2013, page 2. ^ Gombrich, Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism, a social history from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo, Routledge; 2 edition (July 26, 2006), page 37 ^ Skilton, Andrew. A Concise History of Buddhism. 2004. p. 49, 64 ^ Cousins, Lance (2001)."On the Vibhajjavādins", Buddhist Studies Review 18 (2), 131-182 ^ Gethin, Rupert (2012). How Theravāda
Theravāda
is Theravāda: Exploring Buddhist identities. Chiang Mai: Sikworm Books. pp. 1–63.  ^ Keown, Damien. A Dictionary of Buddhism. 2003. ISBN 0-19-860560-9. pp. 279-280 ^ Hirakawa Akira (translated and edited by Paul Groner), A History Of India
India
Buddhism, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 1993, page 109. ^ a b Crosby, Kate (2013), Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity, and Identity, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 1–3, ISBN 9781405189071  ^ a b Bandaranayake, S.D. Sinhalese Monastic Architecture: The Viháras of Anurádhapura, page 22 ^ Samuel Beal, "Si-Yu-Ki — Buddhist Records of the Western World — Translated from the Chinese of Hiuen Tsiang AD 629", published by Tuebner and Co, London (1884), reprint by the Oriental Book Reprint Corporation, New Delhi, (1983), Digital version: Chung-hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies, Taipei. ^ Samuel Beal, "The Life of Hiuen-Tsiang: By the Shaman Hwui Li. With an introduction containing an account of the works of I-tsing", published by Tuebner and Co, London (1911), Digital version: University of Michigan. ^ It is used in the Dipavamsa
Dipavamsa
(quoted in Debates Commentary, Pali
Pali
Text society, page 4), which is generally dated to the 4th century. ^ Warder 2000, p. 278. ^ Bandaranayake, S.D. Sinhalese Monastic Architecture: The Viháras of Anurádhapura, page 25 ^ a b Gombrich, Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism, a social history from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo, Routledge; 2 edition (July 26, 2006), page 152 ^ Pollock, Sheldon I; Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia, page 650 ^ Gombrich, Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism, a social history from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo, Routledge; 2 edition (July 26, 2006), page 153 ^ Law, A history of Pali
Pali
literature, 349. ^ Gombrich, Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism, a social history from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo, Routledge; 2 edition (July 26, 2006), page 154 ^ a b c d Warder, A.K. Indian Buddhism. 2000. p. 280 ^ "Golden Temple of Dambulla
Dambulla
- UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Whc.unesco.org. Retrieved 2012-08-17.  ^ a b c Hirakawa, Akira. Groner, Paul. A History of Indian Buddhism: From Śākyamuni to Early Mahāyāna. 2007. p. 121 ^ "Importance of Mahavihara as the centre of Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism.doc - Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu
- Sri Lanka". Scribd.  ^ Gombrich, Richard Francis (10 October 1971). "Buddhist Precept and Practice: Traditional Buddhism
Buddhism
in the Rural Highlands of Ceylon". Routledge – via Google Books.  ^ Hirakawa, Akira. Groner, Paul. A History of Indian Buddhism: From Śākyamuni to Early Mahāyāna. 2007. p. 124 ^ Gombrich, Richard Francis. Theravāda
Theravāda
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Web references[edit]

^ Bullitt, John. "What is Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism?". BuddhaNet. Retrieved 2010-08-15.  ^ Adherants.com - See the citations under 'Theravāda Buddhism — World' ^ "Plan your trip to Bagan
Bagan
(Pagan), Myanmar". AsiaExplorers. 2003-11-25. Retrieved 2012-08-17.  ^ "Modern Theravāda".  ^ Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu
Bodhi. "The Noble Eightfold Path: The Way to the End of Suffering". Buddhist Publication Society. Retrieved 2009-06-16.  ^ Dan Lusthaus, What is and isn't Yogacara Archived 2010-03-31 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Magga-vibhanga Sutta: An Analysis of the Path".  ^ "The Pali
Pali
Text Society's Pali-English dictionary". Dsal.uchicago.edu. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2012-08-17.  ^ "The Pali
Pali
Text Society's Pali-English dictionary". Dsal.uchicago.edu. Archived from the original on 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-08-17.  ^ "The Pali
Pali
Text Society's Pali-English dictionary". Dsal.uchicago.edu. Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2012-08-17.  ^ a b c d e f Henepola Gunaratana, The Jhanas in Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhist Meditation ^ "A Sketch of the Buddha's Life". Access to Insight. Retrieved 2009-03-26.  ^ "Lohicca Sutta". Access to Insight. Retrieved 2009-03-27.  ^ S Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Into the Stream A Study Guide on the First Stage of Awakening ^ Ajahn Chah, Opening the Dhamma Eye ^ Bodhi. "A Treatise on the Paramis: From the Commentary to the Cariyapitaka". Retrieved 2007-07-31.  ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-07-16.  ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2012-08-17.  ^ a b c d e GALLUP WorldView - data accessed on 2012-09-07 ^ "Retrieved 8 July 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-24.  ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Archived from the original on 2010-12-29. Retrieved 2012-08-17.  ^ a b "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2012-08-17.  ^ a b "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 

Bibliography[edit]

Chapman, David (2011), Theravāda
Theravāda
reinvents meditation  Dutt, Nalinaksha (1998), Buddhist Sects in India, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited  Gombrich, Richard F. (1996), Theravāda
Theravāda
Buddhism. A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo, London and New York: Routledge  Gomez, Luis O. (1991), Purifying Gold: The Metaphor of Effort and Intuition in Buddhist Thought and Practice. In: Peter N. Gregory (editor)(1991), Sudden and Gradual. Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese Thought, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited  Gunaratana, Henepola (1994), The Path of Serenity and Insight, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited  Kalupahana, David J. (1994), A history of Buddhist philosophy, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited  McMahan, David L. (2008), The Making of Buddhist Modernism, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195183276  Salgado, Nirmala S. (November 2013). Buddhist Nuns and Gendered Practice: In Search of the Female Renunciant. OUP USA. ISBN 978-0-19-976001-5.  Tuchrello, William P. (n.d.), The Society and Its Environment. (Religion: Historical Background section), Federal Research Division, Library of Congress  Tiyavanich, K. (1997), Forest Recollections: Wandering Monks in Twentieth-Century Thailand, University of Hawaii Press  Warder, A.K. (2000), Indian Buddhism, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers 

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