Theravada Buddhist

The form of Buddhism practiced in the South Asian countries of Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos. Its doctrine, relatively unchanged since the 3rd century BCE, is based on the 'tipitaka' or Pali Canon and consists of a conservative interpretation of the Buddha's teachings. Theravada's main distinction from later Mahayana is its rejection of bodhisattvas. While the ultimate goal of Theravada is to become a 'perfected saint' or 'arhat,' lay believers cannot attain true enlightenment.

Quick Facts

Go Historic ID
8929
Names
Theravada
Buddhism, Pali
Buddhism, Southern
Buddhism, Theravada
Pali Buddhism
Southern Buddhism
Theravada Buddhism

More Definitions

The form of Buddhism practiced in the South Asian countries of Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos. Its doctrine, relatively unchanged since the 3rd century BCE, is based on the 'tipitaka' or Pali Canon and consists of a conservative interpretation of the Buddha's teachings. Theravada's main distinction from later Mahayana is its rejection of bodhisattvas. While the ultimate goal of Theravada is to become a 'perfected saint' or 'arhat,' lay believers cannot attain true enlightenment. True enlightenment is only reached by entering religious orders and even then it is nearly impossible for anyone to become a Buddha.

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Bibliography

  1. 1.  The Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus, 300022012. The J. Paul Getty Trust.