Buddhism is one of the most important Asian spiritual traditions. During its roughly 2.5 millennia of history, Buddhism has shown a flexible approach, adapting itself to different conditions and local ideas while maintaining its core teachings. As a result of its wide geographical expansion, coupled with its tolerant spirit, Buddhism today encompasses a number of different traditions, beliefs, and practices.
The concept of Buddhism is familiar to the parts of Asia, as it was in an Asian country, India where Buddhism had evolved and from this place had spread to other parts of the world. Almost all the major sects of Buddhism are prevalent in different parts of the Asian continent. While Tantrayana or Vajrayana is predominant in Tibet, Mongolia and parts of India.
Buddhism first came to be in the world in the 6th century BCE, and has remained a prominent philosophy since its inception till today. It started in present day Nepal, when Siddhartha Gautama, born a prince, attained enlightenment at the age of 29 during a period of intense asceticism. Soon after this, he was requested to teach, and as a result taught the first Wheel of Dharma.
Theravada Buddhism is being followed in most of the Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Similarly, Mahayana Buddhism remains the most common form in the northern Asian countries like China, Vietnam, Singapore, China (Chan) and Japan (as Zen Buddhism). The Buddhist flag that was designed to celebrate the revival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, later was accepted as the International Buddhist flag, indicating peace, harmony and love for all beings