Buddhism in Laos

Buddhism by country / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Theravada Buddhism is the largest religion in Laos, which is practiced by 66% of the population.[1] Lao Buddhism is a unique version of Theravada Buddhism and is at the basis of ethnic Lao culture. Buddhism in Laos is often closely tied to animist beliefs and belief in ancestral spirits, particularly in rural areas.[2]

Pha That Luang stupa in Vientiane

However, Laos is a multi-ethnic country with a large proportion of non-Buddhist groups that adhere to religions that are often subsumed under the denominator "animism", but that can also substantially overlap with Buddhism, or a least contain Buddhist elements resulting from cross-cultural contact. The percentage of the population that adheres to Buddhism in modern Laos is variously reported, the CIA World Factbook estimates 66% of the total population identify as Buddhist.[3] Although this overall number is likely to be correct, there are large variations from province to province. Ethnic minority provinces like Sekong had only a quota of 20% of Buddhists in 2005, while provinces largely populated by ethnic Lao like Champassak reach 92% in the same year.[4] There are also some Chinese or Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhists, primarily in urban centers.

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