In modern Indonesia and Malaysia, Buddhism exists as a living religion primarily among the Chinese minority, who in the early 21st century constituted about one-quarter of the population and were recognized by the constitution as Buddhist. Burma (Myanmar) – 88%, 48.5 million Buddhists 4. At present, only three major forms survive: one Hinayana subdivision in Southeast Asia, known as Theravada, and two Mahayana divisions, namely the Chinese and Tibetan traditions. Because of the trade on the Silk Road, Buddhism spread towards Eastern Asia and Southeast Asia. Do Now: Aim: How did Buddhism Buddha in Theravada, Mahayana and Tantra: The Same? 1. The earliest waves of Parthian, Sogdian and Indian translators of early Chinese Buddhist texts came to Loyang via the silk routes. With the suppression of the pro-democracy movement in the late 1980s, the country’s military rulers used their support of a very traditional form of Buddhism to legitimize their highly repressive regime. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. How did Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam become established in Southeast Asia? Rather loosely joined together, Vietnamese Buddhists managed to preserve their traditions through the period of French colonial rule in the 19th and 20th centuries. As early as the time of King Ashoka of India, monks were sent to Thaton to spread the Buddha's teachings. In various ways, Buddhism managed to peacefully spread throughout much of Asia, carrying its message of love, compassion and wisdom, while fitting in to the needs and dispositions of different people. The question now becomes why. Buddhism flourished and spread across central and eastern Asia; whereas, Hinduism generally stayed close to home, in India. By making Buddha’s message available to the public, people were free to choose what was helpful. During this period major Buddhist monuments were erected in Java, including the marvelous Borobudur, which is perhaps the most magnificent of all Buddhist stupas. Islam spread through India 2. A third major Zen school was established in the 11th century by the Chinese monk Thao Durong. These forms of Hinayana were later combined with Mahayana aspects that came through this same route from India, with the Mahayana eventually becoming the dominant form of Buddhism in China and most of Central Asia. Its propagation probably followed the same pattern that was see… Shakyamuni Buddha, as a travelling teacher sharing his insights with those who were receptive and interested from the nearby kingdoms, set the precedent. From Central Asia, they spread into China in the 2nd century CE. Although some scholars locate the Suvarnabhumi (“Land of Gold”), to which Ashokan missionaries were supposedly sent, somewhere on the Malay Peninsula or in Indonesia, this is probably not accurate. The nomads complained to the authorities, and the overbearing teacher was punished and exiled. From the 7th century onward, Vajrayana Buddhism spread rapidly throughout the area. C. Proximity to China encouraged the spread of Buddhism and other practices south into Indochina. Religion: Buddhism in Asia. Often, the dissemination was due primarily to the influence of a powerful monarch who had adopted and supported Buddhism himself. In Myanmar and Thailand, despite the presence of Hindu, Mahayana, and Vajrayana elements, the more-conservative Hinayana forms of Buddhism were especially prominent throughout the 1st millennium ce. By the late 13th century, the movement had spread to Thailand, where the Thai were gradually displacing the Mon as the dominant population. Tibetan Buddhism attracted many people and it still does. Nevertheless, in the second decade of the 21st century, both government restrictions on opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and rules regarding political participation were eased, and the future of Buddhism seemed destined for change. At present, the most well-known and internationally respected of these authorities is His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet. As local rulers and their people learned more about this Indian religion, they invited monks from the merchants’ native regions as advisors or teachers, and eventually, many adopted the Buddhist faith. Southeast Asia, the Mon were responsible for the spread of Theravada Buddhism in the Indochina region. I’ll make this quick since this type of answers are long 1. Theravada Buddhism, the most conservative school, is prominent in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. C. Doctors throughout Asia began to encourage their patients to meditate if they were ill. D The Buddha's children wrote books about his life and had them distributed throughout Asia. In Thailand, which retained its independence, a process of gradual reform and modernization was led by a new Buddhist sect, the Thammayut Nikaya, which was established and supported by the reigning Chakri dynasty. Instead, each country to which it spread developed its own forms, its own religious structure, and its own spiritual head. This great empire-builder did not force his subjects to adopt the Buddhist faith, but by posting edicts engraved on iron pillars throughout his realm exhorting his people to lead an ethical life, and by following the principles himself, he inspired others to adopt Buddha’s teachings. Author has 1.2K answers and 1.4M answer views Buddhism spreaded significantly in Asia because Buddha was born there. Its presence was felt as part of the Indian cultural influence that flourished throughout the area. Throughout much of the history of Angkor, the great imperial centre that ruled Cambodia and much of the surrounding areas for many centuries, Hinduism seems to have been the preferred tradition, at least among the elite. Buddhism became a powerful cultural influence in Asia and has remained the majority religion for thousands of years. Sri Lanka – 70%, 14 million Buddhists 6. The preeminence of Theravada Buddhism continued throughout the area during the remainder of the premodern period. The arrival of the Western powers in the 19th century brought important changes. Later generations of followers were inspired by his example, and shared with others his methods that they found useful in their lives. According to the local Mon and Burman traditions, this is Suvarnabhumi, the area visited by missionaries from the Ashokan court. In the mid-3rd century BCE, for example, Buddhism spread throughout northern India as a result of the personal endorsement of King Ashoka. In Myanmar, which endured an extended period of British rule, the sangha and the structures of Buddhist society have been seriously disrupted. There is also a small non-Chinese community of Buddhists that is concentrated in the vicinity of Borobudur. There are indications that Vietnam was involved in the early sea trade between India, Southeast Asia, and China, and it is quite probable that Buddhism reached the country via this sea route near the beginning of the 1st millennium ce. Spread of Buddhism in Asia. He did not ask others to denounce and give up their own religion and convert to a new one, for he was not seeking to establish his own religion. This process also occurred with Buddhism in the oasis states along the Silk Route in Central Asia, during the two centuries before and after the common era. Despite never developing a missionary movement, Buddha’s teachings spread afar over the centuries: first to Southeast Asia, then through Central Asia to China and the rest of East Asia, and finally to Tibet and the further reaches of Central Asia. Distance from Oceania prevented the migration of Austronesian language, beliefs, and technology. Answer: Buddhism spread across Asia through networks of overland and maritime routes between India, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and China. Cambodia – 97%, 13.5 million Buddhists 2. Open seas protected the indigenous cultures of the island nations from outside influence. It was also in the 7th century that the great scholar from Nalanda, Dharmapala, visited Indonesia. Answer: East into Asia – China, Japan, Korea, etc. The expansion of Buddhism throughout most of Asia was peaceful, and occurred in several ways. Both the Modest and Vast vehicles have many subdivisions. Hinduism and Buddhism exerted an enormous influence on the civilizations of Southeast Asia and contributed greatly to the development of a written tradition in that area. In Laos and Cambodia, both of which suffered an extended period of French rule followed by devastation during the Vietnam War and the violent imposition of communist rule, the Buddhist community has been severely crippled. In Laos it was recognized by the government as a part of the national heritage, and in Cambodia it was even given the status of a state religion. Due to this separation from the distance in geography, Buddhism and Hinduism don’t interact that much anymore. And it was mostly from China that Buddhism spread to the rest of east Asia. During the struggle between North and South Vietnam in the 1960s and early ’70s, many Buddhists worked to achieve peace and reconciliation, though they met with little success; to protest the South Vietnamese regime of Ngo Dinh Diem, some Buddhist monks turned to self-immolation. If you find our material useful, please consider making a single or monthly donation. The Shailendra dynasty, which ruled over the Malay Peninsula and a large section of Indonesia from the 7th century to the 9th century, promoted the Mahayana and Tantric forms of Buddhism. A brief picture of Buddhism in Asia and the West. Also, due to Indian Ocean trade, the Buddhist ideas spread towards Southeast Asia. The transmission of Buddhism and Hinduism to Southeast Asia can thus be regarded as the spread of the religious symbols of the more-advanced Austroasiatic peoples to other Austroasiatic groups sharing some of the same basic religious presuppositions and traditions. 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