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.
Aided by the patronage of Mauryan kings like Ashoka, this school spread throughout India and reached Sri Lanka through the efforts of missionary monks like Mahinda.
Starting at around the 11th century, Sinhalese Theravāda monks and Southeast Asian elites led .
There is no consensus among the different Buddhist traditions as to what constitutes the scriptures or a common canon in Buddhism.
The general belief among Buddhists is that the canonical corpus is vast.
This corpus includes the ancient Sutras organized into Nikayas or Agamas, itself the part of three basket of texts called the Tripitakas.
Each Buddhist tradition has its own collection of texts, much of which is translation of ancient Pali and Sanskrit Buddhist texts of .