Theravada Buddhism

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Burmese women paying homage to the Buddha
After the death of the Buddha, many sects developed. Theravada Buddhism is the oldest surviving sect. To distinguish it from the larger Mahayana ("greater vehicle") Buddhism, it was sometimes called Hinayana or "lesser vehicle." Today Theravada is the preferred name, though it is sometimes also called Southern Buddhism because it exists primarily in South Asia. The Theravada texts are written in the languate of Pali.