What Are the Modern Day Traditions of Buddhism?

wonderlane/CC-BY 2.0

Buddhism itself professes to have no set form of traditions. Various schools of Buddhism, however, have adopted their own exclusive set of traditions as they have developed.

The practice of Buddhism is divided by style into East and West. Among each of these are several different schools of the faith. Traditions of the Eastern practices of Buddhism include belief in the underworlds, studying Buddhist teachings, charitable giving, building good karma and chanting. Eastern Buddhists also observe significant events in the lunar calendar, including the lunar new year. Most Eastern Buddhists are found in Asia, mainly mainland China.

Meditation and temple worship are the primary elements of Western Buddhism, which focuses more on ritual in the traditional religious sense. Western Buddhists tend to be less focused on the priestly hierarchy as well. Western Buddhism did not evolve from Eastern Buddhism until the first part of the 20th century.

All branches of Buddhism, regardless of their traditions, are founded on the teachings of Buddha. Though exact numbers are not known, it is believed that Buddhism is practiced by hundreds of millions of people around the world. While some figures are as high as 500 million, most scholars agree that the number is actually probably closer to about 350 million.