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Theravada (Pali for "The Way of the Elders") is the branch of Buddhism which adheres strictly to the Buddha's original teachings, the Pali Canon or Tipitaka. It is dominant in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, and Laos. It is sometimes referred to as Hinayana ("lesser vehicle", "inferior vehicle"), but this name is usually seen as derogatory by Theravada followers.

Theravada focuses on the original Pali writings, purported to record the actual words of the Buddha, and downplays the importance of bodhisattvas in favor of personal enlightenment.