Walpola Rahula Thero (1907–1997) was a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, scholar and writer. In 1964, he became the Professor of History and Religions at Northwestern University, thus becoming the first bhikkhu to hold a professorial chair in the Western world. He also once held the position of Vice-Chancellor at the then Vidyodaya University. He has written extensively about Buddhism in English, French and Sinhalese. He wrote the book What the Buddha Taught about Theravada Buddhism.
Theravāda is the most commonly accepted name of Buddhism's oldest existing school.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Theravāda Buddhists came into direct contact with western ideologies, religions and modern science.
The various responses to this encounter have been called "Buddhist modernism".
After independence, Myanmar held the Sixth Buddhist council (Vesak 1954 to Vesak 1956) to create a new redaction of the Pāli Canon.
The Vipassana movement continued to grow after independence, becoming an international .