Theravada Buddhism

Thera means a person that is firm and stable.  Thera designates an elder.  “He is not thereby an elder, merely because his head is gray… in whom are truth, virtue, harmlessness, restraint, and control, that wise man who is purged of impurities, is indeed called an elder.” (Dhammapada, 19.)

Theravada means speech of the elders.  The southern Theravada movement is the orthodox and old wisdom school of Buddhism that relies on the Pali Canon as the basis of teaching.  Its followers come from Sri Lanka (Ceylon,) Myanmar (Burma,) Thailand, Laos, Khmer (Cambodia,) as well as Chittagong, Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam.  The Theravada sects like the Mahayana schools are also established now in the West. (pp. 149-150, Quest of Zen, Awakening the Wisdom Heart, Bloomington, IN: Xlibris, 2010.)

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