Buddhism in Southeast Asia includes a variety of traditions of Buddhism including two main traditions: Mahāyāna Buddhism and Theravāda Buddhism. Historically, Mahāyāna Buddhism had a prominent position in this region, but in modern times most countries follow the Theravāda tradition. Southeast Asian countries with a Theravāda Buddhist majority are Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, all mainland countries.
Theravāda is the most commonly accepted name of Buddhism's oldest existing school.
The school's adherents, termed Theravādins, have preserved their version of Gautama Buddha's teaching or Buddha Dhamma in the Pāli Canon for over a millennium.
The Pāli Canon is the most complete Buddhist canon surviving in a classical Indian language, Pāli, which serves as the school's sacred language and lingua franca.
In contrast to Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna, Theravāda tends to be conservative in matters of .
Mahāyāna is a term for a broad group of Buddhist traditions, texts, philosophies, and practices.
Mahāyāna Buddhism developed in India and is considered one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism.
Mahāyāna accepts the main scriptures and teachings of early Buddhism, but also adds various new doctrines and texts such as the Mahāyāna Sūtras and its emphasis on the bodhisattva path and Prajñāpāramitā.
Vajrayāna or Mantra traditions are a subset of Mahāyāna, which .
Buddhism is the dominant religion in Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Tibet, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Kalmykia and Vietnam.
Large Buddhist populations live in North Korea, Nepal, India and South Korea. China is the country with the largest population of Buddhists, approximately 244 million or 18.2% of its total population.
They are mostly followers of Chinese schools of Mahayana, making this the largest body of Buddhist traditions.
Mahayana, also practised .