Buddhism/Geographical Expansion

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Geographical Expansion of Theravada Buddhism[edit]

The focus of this module is on the inception and spread of Theravada Buddhism. This is especially so in the countries of South East Asia. The main emphasis on the following aspects:

  • The Geographical Expansion of Buddhism in the Pre-Asokan period;
  • Buddhism Emergence as a World Religion During the Reign of Emperor Asoka;
  • The Spread of Theravada Buddhism in South India and in the Regions of South East Asia (e.g. Myanmar, Thailand);
  • Religious Intercourses between Theravada Buddhist Countries; and
  • Contemporary Theravada Buddhism.

Recommended Reading:[edit]

  • History of Theravada Buddhism in South East Asia - K. L. Hazra
  • Thai Buddhism - Kenneth E. Wells
  • Buddhism in Myanmar; A Short History - Roger Biscoff, Wheel Publications
  • Buddhist India - Rhys Davids

Coursework[edit]

You are invited to do the exercise below. Using Google Map, or any other mapping platform, trace the extend of the Asokan Empire. Notice where the geographic limitations and the terrain (mountains and rivers) and what role they played in the spread of military conquest.

Investigate: what caused Asoka to have a change of heart and embrace Buddhism?