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                                                         Theravada Buddhism

The Buddhist Theravada remained as a line after the secession of the Mahayana at the second Buddhist Council.

    Phan Tao - Hall in Thailand      Expansion of buddhism in asia


It is today the Buddhist religion prevalent in Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand, but is also common in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. It comes from the lineage of tradition of the bhikkshuni ordination and claims to transmit the original teachings of the Buddha (Theravāda: Teaching of the elderly of the orders), A claim to that already  regarding to the twisted contents of the Tipitaka considerable doubts exist.

The goal of the Theravāda is officially the preservation of the original teachings of the Tipitaka with the characteristics:

  • Completely truthful doctrine (svakkhata dhamma)
  • For each testable teaching (ehi passika)
  • Timelessly effective teaching (akalika)
  • Realistic visible teaching (sanditthika]
  • Doctrine leading to liberation (opanayika)

The many tantric Bodhisattvas are unknown here, just as the meditations differ completely from the practices of the Mahayana and of the  tibetan tantra.

In the first Theravada Council of 1788 in Bangkok the Pali texts as the first complete print edition in Thai script in 39 volumes came into beeing.

The Pali-Canon (Tipitaka) consists of several books :
  • Vinaya Pitaka, basket of religious orders
  • Sutta Pitaka, The basket of the tenets (with the 31 levels of existence)
  • Abhidhamma Pitaka, The basket of higher doctrine

The objectives  are

  • Nibbana (sanskrit: Nirvana): quenching )
  • Bodhi (awakening) : Savaka-Bodhi, Pacceka-Bodhi and finally Samma-Sambodhi

In the Pali canon four levels of enlightenment are distinguished:

  • streamentry (Pali: sotapatti)
  • Once recurrence (Pali: ekadagami)
  • Not return (Pali: anagami)
  • Arhatship (Pali: arahatta)

The many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of Mahayana are regarded as apocryphal.

A summary from the point of view of Theravada are the 37 necessary things for enlightenment a enumerated in the Mahāsakuludāyi - Sutta


The cosmology of the Theravada describes 31 planes[2] in which the rebirth takes place.

The order of the plains is enumerated in various parts of the Sutta Pitaka (for example, in Saleyyaka Sutta of Majjhima Nikaya, Anguttara Nikaya, Samyutta Nikaya, Digha Nikaya, Khuddaka Nikaya).

In various sutras of Anguttara Nikaya, the Buddha describes the reasons for the rebirth in these planes.


In Buddhism, the concept of three worlds (triloka) refers to three levels of rebirth:

  • Kāmaloka(S. kāma-dhātu): World of desire, typical basic desires and thus crowded of hell beings, pretas, animals, spirits, people and lower semi-gods
  • Rūpaloka: World of form, quite free from low desires and populated by Jhana gods. Reincarnation place for advanced practitioners in janish or meditative absorption.
  • Arūpaloka(S. ārupa-dhatu): World of formlessness. Non-physical reality of the 4 heavens. Here the practitioners of the 4 formless steps are reborn


In addition to the realization of the doctrine, the Vipassanā meditation  and the Samatha [5] are part of the practice. In addition, breath-meditations are common.



  1. Glossary



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