Development of Buddhism in Southeast Asia – Geographically, mainland Southeast Asia consists of countries such as Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Indo-China, and Malaysia. Southeast Asian archipelago includes Singapura, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This area received a lot of influence from Indian religions and culture.
Buddhism in Thailand
In Thailand, the kingdoms which developed Therayada Buddism (Hinayana Buddism) between the 13th and 15th centuries were Sukothai and Ayuthia. The two great kingdoms inherited hundreds of ‘wats’ (temple) or pagodas located in Thonburi (Bangkok). The largest temple is Phra Keo Wat in which there is a statue of Buddha made of emerald.
Buddhism in Myanmar
People in Myanmar started to receive Buddhism teachings when a monk named Buddha Gosha from Srilanka came to the country in 403 AD.
Buddhism got more followers during the Pagan empire under Emperor Anwrahta (1044 – 1077 AD. The king of Pagan once required some monks from Mon ethnicity to profess Therevada Buddhism. Thousand Pagodas were built in that time. The largest and most famous pagoda was Shwe Dagon which was built in 1059 AD.
Buddhism in Cambodia and Vietnam
Buddhism was received warmly by all levels of people in Cambodia during the reign of Jayawarman VII (1811 – 1219 AD). An important inheritance of Jayawarman VII government is Angkor Thom. It was reported by I-tsing that the Vietnamese people who lived in Annam and Tonkin regions already professed Buddhism.
Between 968 and 1009 AD, the Dinh Dynasty founded a formal religious organization that combined Taoism and Buddhism. The second king tried to include classical transcripts of Mahayana Buddhism from China and encouraged his people to profess Buddhism.
Buddhism in Indonesia
Buddhism in Indonesia flourished in the Sriwijaya Kingdom during the reign of Balaputradewa. In the 9th century, Sriwijaya was one of the centers of Buddhism propagation.
Read also: Development of Buddhism in South Asia