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 .
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 .