The Pudgalavāda was a Buddhist philosophical view and refers to a group of Nikaya Buddhist schools that arose from the Sthavira nikāya. The school is believed to have been founded by the elder Vātsīputra in the third century BCE, they were a influential school in India and became popular during the reign of emperor Harshavadana. Harsha's sister Rajyasri was said to have joined the school as a nun. According to Dan Lusthaus, they were "one of the most popular mainstream Buddhist sects in India for more than a thousand years." The Pudgalavādins asserted that while there is no ātman, there exists a pudgala or sattva, neither a conditioned dharma nor an unconditioned dharma. This doctrine of the person was their method of accounting for karma and nirvana. For the Pudgalavādins, the pudgala was what underwent rebirth through successive lives in samsara and what experiences nirvana, they defended this view through philosophical argument as well as scriptural citation. According to Thiện Châu and Richard Gombrich, they used the Bharaharasutta as a major reference for their view.
This text states that the person is the bearer of the five aggregates, that the taking up of them is craving and suffering:The five aggregates are burdens, The burden-carrier is the person. Taking up the burden is suffering in the world, Laying the burden down is blissful; the Kathavatthu mentions that the Pudgalavādins relied on the following statements by the Buddha: "there is a person who exerts for his own good" and "there appears a person, reborn for the good and happiness of many, for showing compassion to the world of beings". The Pudgalavādins held that this person was "inexpressible" and indeterminate in its relation to the five aggregates and could not be said to be neither the same as the aggregates nor different. However, the person could not be denied for if this were so, nothing would get reborn and nothing would be the object of loving-kindness meditation. Thus, according to L. S. Cousins:The difference is that for the Voidist the person is a label for the aggregates experiences as objects of consciousness whereas for the personalist the relationship between the person and those objects cannot be described as either the same nor different.
Thus this pudgala was the subject of experiences, the doer of whole and unwholesome actions, the experiencer of karma. Transmigration and nirvana, but was "indefinable", neither a conditioned nor an unconditioned dharma and neither the same nor different than the five aggregates. However, as Thiện Châu notes in his survey of their literature, the Pudgalavādins developed this theory to be compatible with anatman and the middle way and thus the pudgala is "not an absolute reality separated from compounded things."The Abhidharmakosha shows how the Pudgalavadins explained their theory by using the analogy of fire and fuel. The five aggregates are the fuel and the pudgala the fire, the fire exists as long as there is fuel, but it is not the same as the fuel and has properties that the fuel does not, they are co-existent and the fuel are the support for the fire, thus are not the same but not wholly different. For the Pudgalavadins, If one says that the person is the same as the aggregates, this is like saying fire and fuel are the same thing, one mistake.
While if one says that fire and fuel are different, this is like saying fire does not depend on fuel, a second mistake. Thus they took a middle road between these and argued for a person, neither identical to the aggregates nor different from them, they reason they sought to refute the views of other Buddhists which said that the aggregates and the person were the same because they held that in this view, at death when the aggregates are destroyed, the person would be destroyed and not get reborn and because it contradicted the Buddha when he said that "the bearer of the burden" exists. The Kathavatthu mentions that the pudgala can be likened to what is called a being and to what is called jiva, but, it neither identical nor different from the body. One Pudgalavadin text explains the nature of this relationship as being based on clinging or appropriation:The designation of appropriation is the designation of life internal appropriation in the present and is composed of the aggregates and domains.
The Pudgalavādins seem to have held that the liberated person exists after paranirvana in a state of supreme bliss, or as Thiện Châu notes, they saw nirvana as "a transcendental domain" and an "existence in the beyond". According to the Pudgalavādin text known as the Traidharmakasastra, the pudgala can be designated in three ways, called the three prajñaptis: The pudgala designated by the bases; this refers to the person which cannot be said to be identical to the aggregates or different to them. Thich Thien Chau names this as "the essential factor that unifies a person's life processes. Stated otherwise, it is the pudgala that appropriates and sustains a body for a certain amount of time." The pudgala designated by transmigration, refers to the fact that an individ
Pre-sectarian Buddhism called early Buddhism, the earliest Buddhism, original Buddhism, is Buddhism as theorized to have existed before the various subsects of Buddhism came into being. The contents and teachings of this pre-sectarian Buddhism must be deduced or re-constructed from the earliest Buddhist texts, which by themselves are sectarian. Various terms are being used to refer to the earliest period of Buddhism: "Pre-sectarian Buddhism" "Early Buddhism", "The earliest Buddhism", "Original Buddhism", "The Buddhism of the Buddha himself." Precanonical Buddhism Primitive BuddhismSome Japanese scholars refer to the subsequent period of the early Buddhist schools as sectarian Buddhism. Pre-sectarian Buddhism may refer to the earliest Buddhism, the ideas and practices of Gautama Buddha himself, it may refer to early Buddhism as existing until about one hundred years after the parinirvana of the Buddha until the first documented split in the sangha. Contrary to the claim of doctrinal stability, early Buddhism was a dynamic movement.
Pre-sectarian Buddhism may have included or incorporated other Śramaṇic schools of thought, as well as Vedic and Jain ideas and practices. The first documented split occurred, according to most scholars, between the second Buddhist council and the third Buddhist council; the first post-schismatic groups are stated to be the Sthavira nikāya and the Mahāsāṃghika. Eighteen different schools came into existence; the Mahayana schools may have preserved ideas which were abandoned by the "orthodox" Theravada, such as the Three Bodies doctrine, the idea of consciousness as a continuum, devotional elements such as the worship of saints. Pre-sectarian Buddhism was one of the śramaṇic movements; the time of the Buddha was a time of urbanisation in India, saw the growth of the śramaṇas, wandering philosophers that had rejected the authority of Vedas and Brahmanic priesthood, intent on escaping saṃsāra through various means, which involved the study of natural laws, ascetic practices, ethical behavior. The śramaṇas gave rise to different religious and philosophical schools, among which pre-sectarian Buddhism itself, Jainism, Ājīvika, Ajñana and Cārvāka were the most important, to popular concepts in all major Indian religions such as saṃsāra and moksha.
Despite the success that these wandering philosophers and ascetics had obtained by spreading ideas and concepts that would soon be accepted by all religions of India, the orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy opposed to śramaṇic schools of thought and refuted their doctrines as "heterodox", because they refused to accept the epistemic authority of Vedas, denied the existence of the soul and/or the existence of Ishvara. The ideas of saṃsāra, karma and rebirth show a development of thought in Indian religions: from the idea of single existence, at the end of which one was judged and punished and rewarded for one's deeds, or karma; this release was the central aim of the Śramaṇa movement. Vedic rituals, which aimed at entrance into heaven, may have played a role in this development: the realisation that those rituals did not lead to an everlasting liberation led to the search for other means. Earliest Buddhism can only be deduced from the various Buddhist canons now extant, which are all sectarian collections.
As such any reconstruction is tentative. One method to obtain information on the oldest core of Buddhism is to compare the oldest extant versions of the Theravadin Pāli Canon, the surviving portions of the scriptures of Sarvastivada, Mahīśāsaka and other schools, the Chinese āgamas and other surviving portions of other early canons. Early proto-Mahayana texts which contain nearly identical material to that of the Pali Canon such as the Salistamba Sutra are further evidence; the beginning of this comparative study began in the 19th century, Samuel Beal published comparative translations of the Pali patimokkha and the Chinese Dharmaguptaka pratimoksa, showing they were identical. He following this up with comparisons between the Chinese sutras and the Pali suttas in 1882 predicting that "when the Vinaya and Āgama collections are examined, I can have little doubt we shall find most if not all the Pali Suttas in Chinese form." In the following decades various scholars continued to produce a series of comparative studies, such as Anesaki, Yin Shun and Thich Minh Chau.
These studies, as well as recent work by Analayo, Marcus Bingenheimer and Mun-keat Choong, have shown that the essential doctrinal content of the Pali Majjhima and Samyutta Nikayas and the Chinese Madhyama and Samyukta Agamas is the same. According to scholars such as Rupert Gethin and Peter Harvey, the oldest recorded teachings are contained in the first four Nikayas of the Sutta Pitaka and their various parallels in other languages, together with the main body of monastic rules, which survive in the various versions of the patimokkha. Scholars have claimed that there is a core within this core, referring to some poems and phrases which seem to be the oldest parts of the Sutta Pitaka; the reliability of these sources, the possibility to draw out a core of oldest teachings, is a matter of dispute. According to Tillman Vetter, the comparison of the oldest extant texts "does not just lead to the oldest nucleus of the doctrine." At best, it leads to... a Sthavira can
Palm-leaf manuscripts are manuscripts made out of dried palm leaves. Palm leaves were used as writing materials in the Indian subcontinent and in Southeast Asia dating back to the 5th century BCE and much earlier, their use began in South Asia and spread elsewhere, as texts on dried and smoke treated palm leaves of Borassus species or the Ola leaf. One of the oldest surviving palm leaf manuscript is a Sanskrit Shaivism text from the 9th-century, discovered in Nepal, now preserved at the Cambridge University Library. Palm leaf manuscripts were cured palm leaf sheet; each sheet had a hole through which a string could pass through, with these the sheets were tied together with a string to bind like a book. A palm leaf text thus created would last between a few decades and about 600 years before it decayed due to dampness, insect activity and fragility, thus the document had to be copied onto new sets of dried palm leaves. The oldest surviving palm leaf Indian manuscripts have been found in colder, drier climates such as in parts of Nepal and central Asia, the source of 1st-millennium CE manuscripts.
The individual sheets of palm leaves were called Patra or Parna in Sanskrit, the medium when ready to write was called Tada-patra. The famous 5th-century CE Indian manuscript called the Bower Manuscript discovered in Chinese Turkestan, was written on birch-bark sheets shaped in the form of treated palm leaves. Hindu temples served as centers where ancient manuscripts were used for learning and where the texts were copied when they wore out. In South India and associated mutts served custodial functions, a large number of manuscripts on Hindu philosophy, poetry and other subjects were written and preserved inside the temples. Archaeological and epigraphical evidence indicates existence of libraries called Sarasvati-bhandara, dated to early 12th-century and employing librarians, attached to Hindu temples. Palm leaf manuscripts were preserved inside Jain temples and in Buddhist monasteries. With the spread of Indian culture to Southeast Asian countries like as Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines, these nations became home to large collections.
Palm-leaf manuscripts called Lontar in dedicated stone libraries have been discovered by archaeologists at Hindu temples in Bali Indonesia and in 10th century Cambodian temples such as Angkor Wat and Banteay Srei. One of the oldest surviving Sanskrit manuscripts on palm leaves is of the Parameshvaratantra, a Shaiva Siddhanta text of Hinduism, it is from the 9th-century, dated to about 828 CE. The discovered palm-leaf collection includes a few parts of another text, the Jñānārṇavamahātantra and held by the University of Cambridge. With the introduction of printing presses in the early 19th century, the cycle of copying from palm leaves came to an end. Many governments are making efforts to preserve; the rounded or diagonal shapes of the letters of many of the scripts of South India and Southeast Asia, such as Devanagari, Telugu script, the Javanese script, the Balinese alphabet, the Odia alphabet, the Burmese alphabet, the Tamil script and others may have developed as adaptations to writing Indic scripts on palm leaves, as angular letters tend to split the leaf.
Palm leaf manuscripts of Odisha include scriptures, pictures of Devadasi and various mudras of the Kama Sutra. Some of the early discoveries of Odia palm leaf manuscripts include writings like Smaradipika, Ratimanjari and Anangaranga in both Odia and Sanskrit. State Museum of Odisha at Bhubaneswar houses 40,000 palm leaf manuscripts. Most of them are written in the Odia script; the oldest manuscript here belongs to the 14th century but the text can be dated to the 2nd century. In 1997 The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation recognised the Tamil Medical Manuscript Collection as part of the Memory of the World Register. A good example of usage of palm leaf manuscripts to store the history is a Tamil grammar book named Tolkāppiyam, written around 3rd century BCE. A global digitalization project led by the Tamil Heritage Foundation collects, preserves and makes ancient palm-leaf manuscript documents available to users via the internet. In Indonesia the palm-leaf manuscript is called lontar.
The Indonesian word is the modern form of Old Javanese rontal. It is composed of two Old Javanese words, namely ron "leaf" and tal "Borassus flabellifer, palmyra palm". Due to the shape of the palmyra palm's leaves, which are spread like a fan, these trees are known as "fan trees"; the leaves of the rontal tree have always been used for many purposes, such as for the making of plaited mats, palm sugar wrappers, water scoops, ritual tools, writing material. Today, the art of writing in rontal still survives in Bali, performed by Balinese Brahmin as a sacred duty to rewrite Hindu texts. Many old manuscripts dated from ancient Java, were written on rontal palm-leaf manuscripts. Manuscripts dated from the 14th to 15th century during the Majapahit period; some were found earlier, like the Arjunawiwaha, the Smaradahana, the Nagarakretagama and the Kakawin Sutasoma, which were discovered on the neighboring islands of Bali and Lombok. This suggested that the tradition of preserving and rewriting palm-leaf manuscripts continued for centuries.
Other palm-leaf manuscripts include Sundanese language works: the Carita Parahyangan, the Sanghyang siksakanda ng karesian and the Bujangga Manik
Cambodia the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest; the sovereign state of Cambodia has a population of over 16 million. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, practised by 95 percent of the population; the country's minority groups include Vietnamese, Chams and 30 hill tribes. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political and cultural centre of Cambodia; the kingdom is an elective constitutional monarchy with a monarch Norodom Sihamoni, chosen by the Royal Throne Council as head of state. The head of government is the Prime Minister Hun Sen, the longest serving non-royal leader in Southeast Asia, ruling Cambodia since 1985. In 802 AD, Jayavarman II declared himself king, uniting the warring Khmer princes of Chenla under the name "Kambuja"; this marked the beginning of the Khmer Empire, which flourished for over 600 years, allowing successive kings to control and exert influence over much of Southeast Asia and accumulate immense power and wealth.
The Indianised kingdom facilitated the spread of first Hinduism and Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia and undertook many religious infrastructural projects throughout the region, including the construction of more than 1,000 temples and monuments in Angkor alone. Angkor Wat is designated as a World Heritage Site. After the fall of Angkor to Ayutthaya in the 15th century, a reduced and weakened Cambodia was ruled as a vassal state by its neighbours. In 1863, Cambodia became a protectorate of France, which doubled the size of the country by reclaiming the north and west from Thailand. Cambodia gained independence in 1953; the Vietnam War extended into the country with the US bombing of Cambodia from 1969 until 1973. Following the Cambodian coup of 1970 which installed the right-wing pro-US Khmer Republic, the deposed king gave his support to his former enemies, the Khmer Rouge; the Khmer Rouge emerged as a major power, taking Phnom Penh in 1975 and carrying out the Cambodian genocide from 1975 until 1979, when they were ousted by Vietnam and the Vietnamese-backed People's Republic of Kampuchea, supported by the Soviet Union in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War.
Following the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, Cambodia was governed by a United Nations mission. The UN withdrew after holding elections in which around 90 percent of the registered voters cast ballots; the 1997 factional fighting resulted in the ousting of the government by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party, who remain in power as of 2018. Cambodia is a member of the United Nations since 1955, ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, the WTO, the Non-Aligned Movement and La Francophonie. According to several foreign organisations, the country has widespread poverty, pervasive corruption, lack of political freedoms, low human development and a high rate of hunger. Cambodia has been described by Human Rights Watch's Southeast Asian Director, David Roberts, as a "vaguely communist free-market state with a authoritarian coalition ruling over a superficial democracy". While per capita income remains low compared to most neighboring countries, Cambodia has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, with growth averaging 7.6 percent over the last decade.
Agriculture remains the dominant economic sector, with strong growth in textiles, construction and tourism leading to increased foreign investment and international trade. The US World Justice Project's 2015 Rule of Law Index ranked Cambodia 76 out of 102 countries, similar to other countries in the region; the "Kingdom of Cambodia" is the official English name of the country. The English "Cambodia" is an anglicisation of the French "Cambodge", which in turn is the French transliteration of the Khmer កម្ពុជា kampuciə. Kampuchea is the shortened alternative to the country's official name in Khmer ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា prĕəh riəciənaacak kampuciə; the Khmer endonym Kampuchea derives from the Sanskrit name कम्बोजदेश kambojadeśa, composed of देश deśa and कम्बोज kamboja, which alludes to the foundation myths of the first ancient Khmer kingdom. The term Cambodia was in use in Europe as early as 1524, since Antonio Pigafetta cites it in his work Relazione del primo viaggio intorno al mondo as Camogia.
Colloquially, Cambodians refer to their country as either ស្រុកខ្មែរ srok khmae, meaning "Khmer's Land", or the more formal ប្រទេសកម្ពុជា prɑteih kampuciə "Country of Kampuchea". The name "Cambodia" is used most in the Western world while "Kampuchea" is more used in the East. There exists sparse evidence for a Pleistocene human occupation of present-day Cambodia, which includes quartz and quartzite pebble tools found in terraces along the Mekong River, in Stung Treng and Kratié provinces, in Kampot Province, although their dating is unreliable; some slight archaeological evidence shows communities of hunter-gatherers inhabited the region during Holocene: the most ancient archaeological discovery site in Cambodia is considered to be the cave of L'aang Spean, in Battambang Province, which belongs to the Hoabinhian period. Excavations in its lower
The Mūlasarvāstivāda was one of the early Buddhist schools of India. The origins of the Mūlasarvāstivāda and their relationship to the Sarvāstivāda sect still remain unknown, although various theories exist; the continuity of the Mūlasarvāstivāda monastic order remains in Tibetan Buddhism, although until only Mūlasarvāstivādin bhikṣus existed: the bhikṣuṇī order had never been introduced. The relationship of the Mūlasarvāstivāda to the Sarvāstivāda school is a matter of dispute. Yijing claimed that they derived their name from being an offshoot of Sarvāstivāda, but Buton Rinchen Drub stated that the name was a homage to Sarvāstivāda as the "root" of all Buddhist schools. A number of theories have been posited by academics as to how the two are related, which Bhikkhu Sujato summaries as follows: The uncertainty around this school has led to a number of hypotheses. Frauwallner’s theory holds that the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya is the disciplinary code of an early Buddhist community based in Mathura, quite independent in its establishment as a monastic community from the Sarvāstivādins of Kaśmir.
Lamotte, opposing Frauwallner, asserts that the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya was a late Kaśmīr compilation made to complete the Sarvāstivādin Vinaya. Warder suggests that the Mūlasarvāstivādins were a development of the Sarvāstivāda, whose main innovations were literary, the compilation of the large Vinaya and the Saddharmasmṛtyupasthāna Sūtra, which kept the early doctrines but brought the style up to date with contemporary literary developments. Enomoto pulls the rug out from all these theories by asserting that Sarvāstivādin and Mūlasarvāstivādin are the same. Meanwhile, Willemen and Cox have developed the theory that the Sautrantikas, a branch or tendency within the Sarvāstivādin group of schools, emerged in Gandhāra and Bactria around 200 CE. Although they were the earlier group, they temporarily lost ground to the Kaśmīr Vaibhāśika school due to the political influence of Kaṇiṣka. In years the Sautrantikas became known as Mūlasarvāstivādins and regained the ascendancy. I have elsewhere given my reasons for disagreeing with the theories of Willemen et al..
Neither Warder nor Lamotte give sufficient evidence to back up their theories. We are left with Frauwallner's theory. According to Gregory Schopen, the Mūlasarvāstivāda developed during the 2nd century CE and went into decline in India by the 7th century; the Mūlasarvāstivāda were prevalent at times throughout Central Asia due to missionary activities performed in the region. A number of scholars identify three distinct major phases of missionary activities seen in the history of Buddhism in Central Asia, which are associated with the following sects chronologically: Dharmaguptaka Sarvāstivāda Mūlasarvāstivāda In the 7th century, Yijing writes that the Mūlasarvāstivāda were prominent throughout the kingdom of Śrīvijaya. Yijing stayed in Śrīvijaya for six to seven years, during which time he studied Sanskrit and translated Sanskrit texts into Chinese. Yijing states that the Mūlasarvāstivāda vinaya was universally adopted in this area, he writes that the subjects studied, as well as the rules and ceremonies, were the same in this region as they were in India.
Yijing described these islands as "Hīnayāna" in orientation, but writes that the Melayu Kingdom included Mahāyāna teachings such as Asaṅga's Yogācārabhūmi Śāstra. The Mūlasarvāstivāda vinaya is one of three surviving vinaya lineages, along with the Dharmaguptaka and Theravāda; the Tibetan Emperor Ralpacan restricted Buddhist ordination to the Mūlasarvāstivādin vinaya. As Mongolian Buddhism was introduced from Tibet, Mongolian ordination follows this rule as well; the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya is extant in Tibetan and Chinese, to some extent in the original Sanskrit. Yamagiwa Nobuyuki. "Recent Studies on Vinaya Manuscripts". Journal of Indian and Buddhist studies 339-333 Satoshi Hiraoka. "The Relation between the Divyavadana and the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya". Journal of Indian Philosophy 26, 419-434
Buddhist texts were passed on orally by monks, but were written down and composed as manuscripts in various Indo-Aryan languages which were translated into other local languages as Buddhism spread. They can be categorized in a number of ways; the Western terms "scripture" and "canonical" are applied to Buddhism in inconsistent ways by Western scholars: for example, one authority refers to "scriptures and other canonical texts", while another says that scriptures can be categorized into canonical and pseudo-canonical. Buddhist traditions have divided these texts with their own categories and divisions, such as that between buddhavacana "word of the Buddha," many of which are known as "sutras," and other texts, such as shastras or Abhidharma; these religious texts were written in many different languages and scripts but memorizing and copying the texts were of high value. After the development of printing, Buddhists preferred to keep to their original practices with these texts. According to Donald Lopez, criteria for determining what should be considered buddhavacana were developed at an early stage, that the early formulations do not suggest that Dharma is limited to what was spoken by the historical Buddha.
The Mahāsāṃghika and the Mūlasarvāstivāda considered both the Buddha's discourses, of his disciples, to be buddhavacana. A number of different beings such as buddhas, disciples of the buddha, ṛṣis, devas were considered capable to transmitting buddhavacana; the content of such a discourse was to be collated with the sūtras, compared with the Vinaya, evaluated against the nature of the Dharma. These texts may be certified as true buddhavacana by a buddha, a saṃgha, a small group of elders, or one knowledgeable elder. In Theravada Buddhism, the standard collection of buddhavacana is the Pāli Canon; some scholars believe that some portions of the Pali Canon and Agamas could contain the actual substance of the historical teachings of the Buddha. In East Asian Buddhism, what is considered buddhavacana is collected in the Chinese Buddhist canon; the most common edition of this is the Taishō Tripiṭaka. According to Venerable Hsuan Hua from the tradition of Chinese Buddhism, there are five types of beings who may speak the sutras of Buddhism: a buddha, a disciple of a buddha, a deva, a ṛṣi, or an emanation of one of these beings.
These sutras may be properly regarded as buddhavacana. Sometimes texts that are considered commentaries by some are regarded by others as Buddhavacana. Shingon Buddhism developed a system that assigned authorship of the early sutras to Gautama Buddha in his physical manifestation, of the Ekayana sutras to the Buddhas as Sambhoghakaya, the Vajrayana texts to the Buddha as Dharmakaya. In Tibetan Buddhism, what is considered buddhavacana is collected in the Kangyur; the East Asian and Tibetan Buddhist canons always combined Buddhavacana with other literature in their standard collected editions. However, the general view of what is and is not buddhavacana is broadly similar between East Asian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism; the Tibetan Kangyur, which belongs to the various schools of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, in addition to containing sutras and vinaya contains tantras. The earliest Buddhist texts were passed down orally in Middle Indo-Aryan languages called Prakrits, including Gāndhārī language, the early Magadhan language and Pali through the use of repetition, communal recitation and mnemonic devices.
Doctrinal elaborations were preserved in Abhidharma works and Karikas. As Buddhism spread geographically, these texts were translated into the local language, such as Chinese and Tibetan; the Pali canon was preserved in Sri Lanka where it was first written down in the first century BCE and the Theravadan Pali textual tradition developed there. The Sri Lankan Pali tradition developed extensive commentaries as well as sub-commentaries for the Pali Canon as well as treatises on Abhidhamma. Sutra commentaries and Abhidharma works exist in Tibetan, Chinese and other East Asian languages. Important examples of non-canonical Pali texts are the Visuddhimagga, by Buddhaghosa, a compendium of Theravada teachings and the Mahavamsa, a historical Sri Lankan chronicle; the earliest known Buddhist manuscripts, recovered from the ancient civilization of Gandhara in north central Pakistan are dated to the 1st century and constitute the Buddhist textual tradition of Gandharan Buddhism, an important link between Indian and East Asian Buddhism.
After the rise of the Kushans in India, Sanskrit was widely used to record Buddhist texts. Sanskrit Buddhist literature became the dominant tradition in India until the decline of Buddhism in India. Around the beginning of the Christian era, a new genre of sutra literature began to be written with a focus on the Bodhisattva idea known as Mahayana sutras. Many of the Mahayana sutras were written in Sanskrit and translated into the Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist canons which developed their own textual histories; the Mahayana sutras are traditionally considered by Mahayanists to be the word of the Buddha, but transmitted either in secret, via lineages of supernatural beings, or revealed directly from other Buddhas or bodhisattvas. Some 600 Mahayana Sutras have survived in Chinese and/or Tibetan translation. In the Mahayana tradition there are important works termed Shastras, or treatises which attempt to outline the sutra teachings and defend or exp
Laos the Lao People's Democratic Republic referred to by its colloquial name of Muang Lao, is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Located at the heart of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand to the west and southwest. Present-day Laos traces its historic and cultural identity to the kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Khao, which existed for four centuries as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. Due to Lan Xang's central geographical location in Southeast Asia, the kingdom became a popular hub for overland trade, becoming wealthy economically as well as culturally. After a period of internal conflict, Lan Xang broke off into three separate kingdoms—Luang Phrabang and Champasak. In 1893, it became a French protectorate, with the three territories uniting to form what is now known as the country of Laos, it gained independence in 1945 after Japanese occupation, but was recolonised by France until it won autonomy in 1949.
Laos became independent with a constitutional monarchy under Sisavang Vong. Shortly after independence, a long civil war began, which saw the communist resistance, supported by the Soviet Union, fight against, the monarchy and a number of military dictatorships, supported by the United States. After the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao movement came to power, seeing the end to the civil war. During the first years of Communist rule, Laos was dependent on military and economic aid supported by the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. In 2018, the country had the fourth highest GDP per capita in Indochina, after Singapore and Thailand. In the same year, the country ranked 139th on the Human Development Index, indicating medium development. Laos is a member of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, East Asia Summit and La Francophonie. Laos applied for membership of the World Trade Organization in 1997, it is a one-party socialist republic espousing Marxism–Leninism governed by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party.
The capital and largest city is Vientiane. Other major cities include Luang Prabang and Pakse; the official language is Lao. Laos is a multi-ethnic country, with the politically and culturally dominant Lao people making up about 55 percent of the population in the lowlands. Mon-Khmer groups, the Hmong and other indigenous hill tribes, accounting for 45 percent of the population, live in the foothills and mountains. Laos's strategies for development are based on generating electricity from its rivers and selling the power to its neighbours, namely Thailand and Vietnam, as well as its initiative to become a "land-linked" nation, shown by the construction of four new railways connecting Laos to its neighbours. Laos has been referred to as one of East Asia and Pacific's Fastest Growing Economies by the World Bank, with annual GDP growth averaging 7.8% for the past decade. The English word Laos was coined by the French, who united the three Lao kingdoms in French Indochina in 1893 and named the country as the plural of the dominant and most common ethnic group, which are the Lao people.
In the Lao language, the country's name is "Muang Lao" or "Pathet Lao", both mean "Lao Country". An ancient human skull was recovered from the Tam Pa Ling Cave in the Annamite Mountains in northern Laos. Stone artifacts including Hoabinhian types have been found at sites dating to the Late Pleistocene in northern Laos. Archaeological evidence suggests agriculturist society developed during the 4th millennium BC. Burial jars and other kinds of sepulchers suggest a complex society in which bronze objects appeared around 1500 BC, iron tools were known from 700 BC; the proto-historic period is characterised by contact with Indian civilisations. According to linguistic and other historical evidence, Tai-speaking tribes migrated southwestward to the modern territories of Laos and Thailand from Guangxi sometime between the 8th–10th centuries. Laos traces its history to the kingdom of Lan Xang, founded in the 14th century by a Lao prince Fa Ngum, with 10,000 Khmer troops, took over Vientiane. Ngum was descended from a long line of Lao kings.
He made Theravada Buddhism Lan Xang prospered. Within 20 years of its formation, the kingdom expanded eastward to Champa and along the Annamite mountains in Vietnam, his ministers, unable to tolerate his ruthlessness, forced him into exile to the present-day Thai province of Nan in 1373, where he died. Fa Ngum's eldest son, Oun Heuan, ascended to the throne under the name Samsenthai and reigned for 43 years. Lan Xang became an important trade centre during Samsenthai's reign, but after his death in 1421 it collapsed into warring factions for 100 years. In 1520, Photisarath came to the throne and moved the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane to avoid a Burmese invasion. Setthathirat became king in 1548, after his father was killed, ordered the construction of what became the symbol of Laos, That Luang. Setthathirat disappeared in the mountains on his way back from a military expedition into Cambodia and Lan Xang began to decline, it was not until 1637, when Sou