Here in Laos they practice Theravada Buddhism, the form also most popular in Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. The world’s most famous Buddhist, the Dalai Lama, practices Mahayana, or Tibetan Buddhism, though all Buddhism is essentially the same at its core – stressing purity of thought and action, letting go of desires and wrongdoing as a path to liberation from suffering. All of this builds good karma, which benefits you as you pass to the next life, as they believe that you’ll be reincarnated as a higher or lower being based on how you lived your current life. Instead of heavy dogma and theological exclusion, I can testify that Buddhism is more about peaceful acceptance and coexistence with all living things. It is not a religion that emphasizes being the “right” one or converting followers - it is not in conflict but complementary to the beliefs of anyone who tries to be a good human being, especially those of compassion and service. Buddhism teachings are built on spiritualism and naturalism, and the simple everyday practice of good deeds.
Theravada Buddhism teaches the following principles:
Have the right thoughts.
Have the right goals.
Speak the right words.
Perform the right deeds.
Earn a living in the right way.
Make the right effort.
Be intellectually alert.