Theravada

Theravada Buddhism

Introduction

Theravada (literally, “the Teaching of the Elders”, or “the Ancient Teaching”) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka and most of continental South east Asia including Laos, Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia.

Theravada (literally, “the Teaching of the Elders”, or “the Ancient Teaching”) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka and most of continental South east Asia including Laos, Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia.

Theravada (literally, “the Teaching of the Elders”, or “the Ancient Teaching”) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka and most of continental South east Asia including Laos, Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia.

Philosophy

Theravada promotes the concept of Vibhajjavada, literally “Teaching of Analysis.” This doctrine says that insight must come from the aspirant’s experience, critical investigation, and reasoning instead of by blind faith; 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.

The Theravadin goal is liberation (or freedom) from suffering, according to the Four Boble Truths. This is attained in the achievement of Nibbana, or Unbinding which also ends the repeated cycle of birth, old age, sickness and death. Theravada teaches that Nibbana is most quickly attained as an enlightened noble disciple of Buddha: an Arahant (lit. “worthy one”, “winner of Nibbana”).

The Theravadin goal is liberation (or freedom) from suffering, according to the Four Boble Truths. This is attained in the achievement of Nibbana, or Unbinding which also ends the repeated cycle of birth, old age, sickness and death. Theravada teaches that Nibbana is most quickly attained as an enlightened noble disciple of Buddha: an Arahant (lit. “worthy one”, “winner of Nibbana”).

In Theravadin belief, some people who practice with earnestness and zeal can achieve Enlightenment (Nibbana) within a single lifetime, as did many of the first few generations of Buddha’s disciples. For others, the process may take multiple lifetimes, with the individual reaching higher and higher states of awareness.