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This article is extracted from the Buddhist Questions and Answers pamphlet published by Wat Mongkolratanaram (Wat Tampa). WatTampaInEnglish is not the official Wat Mongkolratanaram web site and the content below should be considered unofficial.

What is the historical and geographical background of Buddhism?

Buddhism came into existence in India some 2,600 years ago when an Indian Prince, Siddhatta, became enlightened and hence came to be known as the Buddha, meaning the Enlightened One. His teaching is preserved in Buddhist scriptures known as Tripitaka, which literally means the three baskets, namely the Vinaya or Vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), Sutta or Suttanta-pitaka (collection of the teachings of the Buddha and His disciples) and Abhidhamma or Abhidhamma-pitaka (higher philosophy).

Buddhism is Atheistic; it does not give significance to Divine beings. There are two major Schools in Buddhism: Theravada, the teachings as preserved by the elders, and Mahayana, the later development. The former is practiced in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, and Cambodia. The later is more prevalent in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Tibet.

 

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