Pali

Burmese Kammavaca manuscript written in Pali in the 'Burmese' script.
19th century Burmese Kammavācā (confession for Buddhist monks), written in Pali on gilded palm leaf

Middle Indo-Aryan liturgical language native to the Indian subcontinent.

- Pali
Burmese Kammavaca manuscript written in Pali in the 'Burmese' script.

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Navy Chaplain Milton Gianulis conducts an Easter morning Orthodox Liturgy candlelight service aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75)

Sacred language

Any language that is cultivated and used primarily in church service or for other religious reasons by people who speak another, primary language in their daily lives.

Any language that is cultivated and used primarily in church service or for other religious reasons by people who speak another, primary language in their daily lives.

Navy Chaplain Milton Gianulis conducts an Easter morning Orthodox Liturgy candlelight service aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75)

When the Buddha's sutras were first written down in Pali, there were around 20 schools, each with their own version derived from the original.

The Sūryaprajñaptisūtra, an astronomical work written in Jain Prakrit language (in Devanagari book script), c. 1500

Middle Indo-Aryan languages

The Middle Indo-Aryan languages (or Middle Indic languages, sometimes conflated with the Prakrits, which are a stage of Middle Indic) are a historical group of languages of the Indo-Aryan family.

The Middle Indo-Aryan languages (or Middle Indic languages, sometimes conflated with the Prakrits, which are a stage of Middle Indic) are a historical group of languages of the Indo-Aryan family.

The Sūryaprajñaptisūtra, an astronomical work written in Jain Prakrit language (in Devanagari book script), c. 1500

The early stage is represented by the Ardhamagadhi of the Edicts of Ashoka (c. 250 BC) and Jain Agamas, and by the Pali of the Tripitakas.

The Sūryaprajñaptisūtra, an astronomical work written in Jain Prakrit language (in Devanagari book script), c. 1500

Prakrit

The Prakrits (Early Brahmi 𑀧𑁆𑀭𑀸𑀓𑀾𑀢, prākṛta; Devanagari प्राकृत, ; ; ; Kannada: pāgada; Malayalam: prākṛtam; Tamil and Telugu: pāgadam) are a group of vernacular Middle Indo-Aryan languages that were used in the Indian subcontinent from around the 3rd century BCE to the 8th century CE.

The Prakrits (Early Brahmi 𑀧𑁆𑀭𑀸𑀓𑀾𑀢, prākṛta; Devanagari प्राकृत, ; ; ; Kannada: pāgada; Malayalam: prākṛtam; Tamil and Telugu: pāgadam) are a group of vernacular Middle Indo-Aryan languages that were used in the Indian subcontinent from around the 3rd century BCE to the 8th century CE.

The Sūryaprajñaptisūtra, an astronomical work written in Jain Prakrit language (in Devanagari book script), c. 1500

The term Prakrit is usually applied to the middle period of Middle Indo-Aryan languages, excluding earlier inscriptions and the later Pali.

Burmese Kammavaca manuscript written in Pali in the 'Burmese' script.

Mahāvaṃsa

Burmese Kammavaca manuscript written in Pali in the 'Burmese' script.

The Mahavansa ("Great Chronicle", Pali Mahāvaṃsa) (5th century CE) is the meticulously kept historical chronicle of Sri Lanka written in the style of an epic poem written in the Pali language.

Monks, Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Rato Dratsang, India, January 2015

Sangha

Monks, Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Rato Dratsang, India, January 2015
Sangha (Luang Prabang, Laos)
Shakyamuni Buddha and his followers, holding begging bowls, receive offerings. An 18th-century Burmese watercolor.
Upāsakas and Upāsikās performing a short chanting ceremony at Three Ancestors Temple, Anhui, China

Sangha (संघ) is a Sanskrit word used in many Indian languages, including Pali (सङ्घ,saṃgha/saṅgha) meaning "association", "assembly", "company" or "community"; Sangha is often used as a surname across these religions.

Ancient kingdoms and cities of India during the time of the Buddha (circa 500 BCE) – modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan

Buddhism

Indian religion or philosophical tradition based on a series of original teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha.

Indian religion or philosophical tradition based on a series of original teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha.

Ancient kingdoms and cities of India during the time of the Buddha (circa 500 BCE) – modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan
The gilded "Emaciated Buddha statue" in an Ubosoth in Bangkok representing the stage of his asceticism
Enlightenment of Buddha, Kushan dynasty, late 2nd to early 3rd century CE, Gandhara.
The Buddha teaching the Four Noble Truths. Sanskrit manuscript. Nalanda, Bihar, India.
Traditional Tibetan Buddhist Thangka depicting the Wheel of Life with its six realms
Ramabhar Stupa in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India is regionally believed to be Buddha's cremation site.
An aniconic depiction of the Buddha's spiritual liberation (moksha) or awakening (bodhi), at Sanchi. The Buddha is not depicted, only symbolized by the Bodhi tree and the empty seat.
Dharma Wheel and triratna symbols from Sanchi Stupa number 2.
Buddhist monks and nuns praying in the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple of Singapore
A depiction of Siddhartha Gautama in a previous life prostrating before the past Buddha Dipankara. After making a resolve to be a Buddha, and receiving a prediction of future Buddhahood, he becomes a "bodhisattva".
Bodhisattva Maitreya, Gandhara (3rd century), Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Sermon in the Deer Park depicted at Wat Chedi Liam, near Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.
Buddhist monks collect alms in Si Phan Don, Laos. Giving is a key virtue in Buddhism.
An ordination ceremony at Wat Yannawa in Bangkok. The Vinaya codes regulate the various sangha acts, including ordination.
Living at the root of a tree (trukkhamulik'anga) is one of the dhutaṅgas, a series of optional ascetic practices for Buddhist monastics.
Kōdō Sawaki practicing Zazen ("sitting dhyana")
Seated Buddha, Gal Viharaya, Polonnawura, Sri Lanka.
Kamakura Daibutsu, Kōtoku-in, Kamakura, Japan.
Statue of Buddha in Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, Phitsanulok, Thailand
An 18th century Mongolian miniature which depicts the generation of the Vairocana Mandala
A section of the Northern wall mural at the Lukhang Temple depicting tummo, the three channels (nadis) and phowa
Monks debating at Sera Monastery, Tibet
Tibetan Buddhist prostration practice at Jokhang, Tibet.
Vegetarian meal at Buddhist temple. East Asian Buddhism tends to promote vegetarianism.
A depiction of the supposed First Buddhist council at Rajgir. Communal recitation was one of the original ways of transmitting and preserving Early Buddhist texts.
Gandhara birchbark scroll fragments (c. 1st century) from British Library Collection
The Tripiṭaka Koreana in South Korea, an edition of the Chinese Buddhist canon carved and preserved in over 81,000 wood printing blocks
Buddhist monk Geshe Konchog Wangdu reads Mahayana sutras from an old woodblock copy of the Tibetan Kanjur.
Mahākāśyapa meets an Ājīvika ascetic, one of the common Śramaṇa groups in ancient India
Ajanta Caves, Cave 10, a first period type chaitya worship hall with stupa but no idols.
Sanchi Stupa No. 3, near Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Map of the Buddhist missions during the reign of Ashoka according to the Edicts of Ashoka.
Extent of Buddhism and trade routes in the 1st century CE.
Buddhist expansion throughout Asia
A Buddhist triad depicting, left to right, a Kushan, the future buddha Maitreya, Gautama Buddha, the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, and a monk. Second–third century. Guimet Museum
Site of Nalanda University, a great center of Mahāyāna thought
Vajrayana adopted deities such as Bhairava, known as Yamantaka in Tibetan Buddhism.
Angkor Thom build by Khmer King Jayavarman VII (c. 1120–1218).
Distribution of major Buddhist traditions
Buddhists of various traditions, Yeunten Ling Tibetan Institute
Monastics and white clad laypersons celebrate Vesak, Vipassakna Dhaurak, Cambodia
Chinese Buddhist monks performing a formal ceremony in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China.
Tibetan Buddhists practicing Chöd with various ritual implements, such as the Damaru drum, hand-bell, and Kangling (thighbone trumpet).
Ruins of a temple at the Erdene Zuu Monastery complex in Mongolia.
Buryat Buddhist monk in Siberia
1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago
Interior of the Thai Buddhist wat in Nukari, Nurmijärvi, Finland
Percentage of Buddhists by country, according to the Pew Research Center, as of 2010
A painting by G. B. Hooijer (c. 1916–1919) reconstructing a scene of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world.
Frontispiece of the Chinese Diamond Sūtra, the oldest known dated printed book in the world

Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravāda (Pali: "The School of the Elders") and Mahāyāna (Sanskrit: "The Great Vehicle").

Bihar

State in eastern India.

State in eastern India.

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(Sitting L to R): Rajendra Prasad and Anugrah Narayan Sinha during Mahatma Gandhi's 1917 Champaran Satyagraha
Kathak classical dance form, from Bhojpur region
Patna river port on national inland waterways-1 at Gai Ghat
Front view of administrative building of IIT Patna
NIT Patna main building

The name Bihar is derived from the Sanskrit and Pali word vihāra (Devanagari: विहार), meaning "abode".

Pyu city-states c. 8th century

Pagan Kingdom

The first Burmese kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern-day Myanmar (Burma).

The first Burmese kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern-day Myanmar (Burma).

Pyu city-states c. 8th century
The Tharabha Gate at Bagan (Pagan), the only remaining section of the old walls. The main walls are dated to c. 1020 and the earliest pieces of the walls to c. 980.
Pagan realm at Anawrahta's accession in 1044
Statue of King Anawrahta in front of the DSA
Pagan Empire under Anawrahta; Minimal, if any, control over Arakan; Pagan's suzerainty over Arakan confirmed four decades after his death.
The Ananda Temple
Pagan Empire during Sithu II's reign. Burmese chronicles also claim Kengtung and Chiang Mai. Core areas shown in darker yellow. Peripheral areas in light yellow. Pagan incorporated key ports of Lower Burma into its core administration by the 13th century
Pagan plains today
Cumulative donations to the Sangha in 25-year periods
Rise of small kingdoms after the fall of Pagan Empire c. 1310. Tai-Shan Realm of Shan states, Lan Na and Sukhothai as well as Ramanya in Lower Burma were Mongol vassals. Myinsaing was the only non-Mongol vassal state in the region.
Ruins of the old Pagan Palace
Burmese nobles partaking in equestrian sports
Pagan commander Aung Zwa in the service of Sithu II
Pagan's prosperous economy built over 10,000 temples.
Development of irrigated lands
Ruins of Pagan
The Htilominlo Temple
Thingyan New Year's festivities
Modern Burmese alphabet. The Old Burmese script did not have cursive features, which are hallmarks of the modern script.
Frescoes of Buddhist Jataka stories at a Pagan temple
Statute of Vishnu at the Nat-Hlaung Kyaung Temple
Mt. Popa, home of the pantheon of nats
Design of 19th century Mandalay Palace followed its Pagan era predecessors

The Burmese language and culture gradually became dominant in the upper Irrawaddy valley, eclipsing the Pyu, Mon and Pali norms by the late 12th century.

The Thuparamaya Stupa, the earliest stupa after Theravada Buddhism became the official religion in Sri Lanka, dating back to the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa (247–207 BCE).

Theravada

The Thuparamaya Stupa, the earliest stupa after Theravada Buddhism became the official religion in Sri Lanka, dating back to the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa (247–207 BCE).
The Ruwanwelisaya stupa, built by the Sri Lankan King Dutugemunu (c. 140 B.C.E.).
Gold Plates containing fragments of the Pali Tipitaka (5th century) found in Maunggan (a village near the city of Sriksetra).
Bagan, the capital of the Bagan Kingdom. Between the 11th and 13th centuries, more than 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains.
A Burmese man meditates in Myanmar. The widespread practice of meditation by laypersons is a modern development in Theravāda.
Thai Forest teacher Ajahn Chah with Ajahn Sumedho (front right), Ajahn Pasanno (rear and left of Sumedho) and other monastics.
Global Vipassana Pagoda, Maharashtra, India. S.N. Goenka laid the foundation for the structure in 2000 and the pagoda opened in 2009. Regular meditation courses are held at the complex.
Pre-modern copies of the Tipiṭaka were preserved in Palm-leaf manuscripts, most of which have not survived the humid climate of South Asia and Southeast Asia.
A full modern set of the Tipiṭaka can fill many volumes (from 40 to over 50 volumes depending on the edition).
Buddhaghosa (right) (c. 5th century), shown here presenting three copies of his influential doctrinal compendium, the Visuddhimagga, to the elders of the Sri Lankan Mahavihara school.
Painting of Buddha's first sermon from Wat Chedi Liem in Thailand
Ledi Sayadaw, was one of the great Abhidhamma scholars of the 20th century as well as a teacher of meditation.
Sakka in Tavatimsa Heaven, Wat Yang Thong, Songkhla, Thailand.
A Burmese depiction of a hell scene
A Burmese illustrated manuscript depicting Sumedha (the future Buddha Gautama) and Dīpankara Buddha.
A statue of the arahant Moggallana, who is identifiable by his dark (nila, i.e. blue/black) skin. He was one of the two most senior disciples of the Buddha and the foremost in psychic powers.
The Dhamma Wheel with eight spokes usually symbolizes the Noble Eightfold Path.
Theravādin monks meditating in Bodh Gaya (Bihar, India)
Ajahn Mun, a key figure in the founding of the Thai Forest Tradition, is widely considered to have been an Arahant in Thailand.
Mahasi Sayadaw
Circumambulation around a temple or a stupa is also a common devotional practice.
Young Burmese monk
Thai monks on pilgrimage in their orange robes.
The ceremony walks with lighted candles in hand around a temple on Vesakha Puja in Uttaradit, Thailand.
A cave kuti (hut) in the Sri Lankan forest monastery Na Uyana Aranya.
Candidates for the Buddhist monkhood being ordained as monks in Thailand
A Buddhist Monk chants evening prayers inside a monastery located near the town of Kantharalak, Thailand.
Dhammananda Bhikkhuni
Thai monks blessing the King of Thailand in Wat Nong Wong, Amphoe Sawankhalok, Sukhothai, Thailand.
Map showing the three major Buddhist divisions in Tibet, Mongolia, Nepal, East and Southeast Asia.

Theravāda (Sinhala, ථේරවාද, lit. "School of the Elders", Sanskrit: 𑀣𑁂𑀭𑀯𑀸𑀤 Sthaviravāda, literally “doctrine of the elders” ) is the most commonly accepted name of Buddhism's oldest existing school.

Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon

Pāli Canon

Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon
In pre-modern times the Pali Canon was not published in book form, but written on thin slices of wood (Palm-leaf manuscript or Bamboo). The leaves are kept on top of each other by thin sticks and the scripture is covered in cloth and kept in a box.
Burmese-Pali manuscript copy of the Buddhist text Mahaniddesa, showing three different types of Burmese script, (top) medium square, (centre) round and (bottom) outline round in red lacquer from the inside of one of the gilded covers

The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, as preserved in the Pāli language.