The standard authorities tell us that Theravada Buddhism developed in Sri Lanka about 2,000 years ago, filtered into Southeast Asia soon after, and became dominant from the 13th century AD after new infusions of teachings from the Lanka Mahavira school. This story is very generally accepted but has one wrinkle: the term "Buddhism" was not invented until the 19th century and "Theravada Buddhism" not until the 20th.
HOW THERAVADA IS THERAVADA? Exploring Buddhist identities Edited by Peter Skilling, Jason A. Carbine, Claudio Cicuzza, Santi Pakdeekham Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai ISBN 978-616-215-044-9 950 baht
Some scholars have grown uneasy about pushing this term back into the past. Some have wondered what exactly it means. In 2008 several gathered to discuss these issues. This collection of 12 essays, ranging across the whole 21/2 millennia of Buddhist history, is the result. The subjects include the early Pali commentaries, schools and schisms in early Sri Lanka, sightings of Theravada in Chinese sources, religious reform in Pagan, the Kalyani Inscriptions, King Rama I and Wat Pho, texts on ordination, a catalogue of texts from Cambodia, King Mongkut's invention of a Pali script, and the history of the term "Theravada Buddhism".
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.