Theravada Buddhism is strongest in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Burma (Myanmar). It is sometimes called ‘Southern Buddhism’.
The name means ‘the doctrine of the elders’ – the elders being the senior Buddhist monks.
This school of Buddhism believes that it has remained closest to the original teachings of the Buddha. However, it does not over-emphasise the status of these teachings in a fundamentalist way – they are seen as tools to help people understand the truth, and not as having merit of their own.