The Spread and Localization of Buddhism and Islam into Southeast Asia

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The spread of religion first began through contact with neighbouring countries which gradually expand throughout the years. Buddhism and Islam are one of the most widespread religions across Southeast Asian countries like Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Trade merchants and imperial support of the religion were major factors in the facilitation and localization of the spread of Buddhism and Islam within Southeast Asia. However, there were also limitations presented which hindered the development of each religion in within their countries as introduction of newer religions and changes to political and imperial power would have affected the progression to become fully localised pre-1800s.
After the death
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This facilitated the increasing practice of Buddhism in Southeast Asia attributable to influences from foreign Buddhist merchants to the nations thus integrating itself into civilization and daily life (Adler and Pouwels 2008, 64).
Imperial support played a major part in facilitation and localisation of the spread of Buddhism into Southeast Asia. Asoka, as mentioned, was a big supporter of Theravada Buddhism and was deemed an exemplar for future Buddhist emperor to establish Buddhism as a part of the country’s traditions and lifestyle (Swearer 2010, 71). He believed that true conquest of a country was “by the force of the teachings of religion” (Swearer 1997, 89). Through his persistent method of conquest, he influenced several Theravada Buddhist rulers like King Kyanzittha of Pagan, Burma and King Tilokaraja of Chiang Mai, Thailand during 11th and 15th century respectively to position Buddhism as a part of their reign, conquest and authority (Swearer 2010, 71). This significantly enabled the localization of Buddhism into Southeast Asia especially in countries like Thailand who remains supportive of Buddhism as declared by the Chakri dynasty from the end of 18th century onwards (Bowker 2007, 150). It was through the support of imperial power that led the countries’ citizens to gain interest in and

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