I do not profess to be an expert in the Buddhist way of life but I have a  lot of contact with Buddhism and find it fascinating and will share some of my thoughts with you here.

Thailand is 95% Buddhist which is a peaceful “religion” and it is practiced openly on a daily basis, including in the schools. Kids here are taught the Buddhist way daily even in public schools Buddhism is practiced. Children here are taught respect for their elders. That is not to say the children never get in trouble or cause problems but they seem to be minimal. It seems the older you are, the more respected you are. The elders in this village are considered an asset not a hindrance. The younger generations respect the wisdom and experience of the older generation.

Many feel Buddhism is not a religion but rather a way of life. Buddha was a "man" not a God. He led a incredible life and became a teacher of how to reach "Nirvana" which allows you to stop the cycle of birth and death we all go through. Buddha, through meditation, was able to see many of his past lives and all the lessons he learned from his various life forms and stations in life. Buddha was born 563 years before Christ. Something I really like is that Buddhists do not deny other religions. You can be any religion and still practice Buddhism.  

Theravada is the type of Buddhism practiced in Thailand. It is also prevalent in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma and Bangladesh. 

Here are explanations of the Three Major types of Buddhism:

Theravada Buddhism – this is the first and the southern Buddhism that the word comes from pali language which means that “the Doctrine of the Elders”. Their biggest aim is to use the meditation to train mind, and to encourage freedom of the mind from suffering. This kind or freedom from suffering will allow you to reach the greatest spiritual goal the Nirvana. Theravada Buddhism is the only surviving school from the earliest years of Buddhism.

Mahayana Buddhism – This is Buddhism in eastern Buddhism. This section not only teaches the Pali Canon, this is the religious text in Theravada Buddhism but it also includes additional texts and beliefs. This type of Buddhism believes that the person must practice universal compassion, and that is the altruistic quest of the Bodhisattva to attain the “Awakened Mind” of Buddha hood. This has also a level of mysticism involved.

Tibetan Buddhism – This is the third type of Buddhism that was located in the Northern. This type of Buddhism is also considered to be a type of Mahayana Buddhism, but this way also embraces other teachings, texts, and practices that are not seen in the eastern type. This is also sometimes called Tantric Buddhism or Vajrayana and uses both Mahayana and Theraveda scriptures.

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