The Theravada Buddhists believe that
they practice the original form of Buddhism as it was
handed down to them by Buddha. Theravada Buddhism dominates
the culture of Sri Lanka, but is also very prominent in
Thailand and Burma.
While Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha,
spent several decades teaching, none of his teachings
were written down until several hundred years later. In
the third century, Asoka, the great Mauryan emperor, converted
to Buddhism and began to sponsor several monasteries throughout
the country. He even sent missionaries out to various
countries both east and west. During his reign, the teachings
of Buddha spread all across India and Sri Lanka.
Disturbed by the prolific growth of Buddhist heresies,
a council of Buddhist monks was convened at the Mauryan
capital of Patna during the third century BC to purify
the doctrine. What arose from that council, more or less,
were the definitive teachings of Theravada Buddhism; from
this point onwards, Theravada Buddhism undergoes little
if any change
Establish a Buddhist society
in Milan that is independent and supports spiritual
and social needs.