During the reign of Emperor Asoka in India, the third Council was held in Pataliputta (308 BC). The existing heresies and deviations in the religion were expelled and a volume containing the teachings of the council was compiled. This book ? the Kathavatthu ? contained the "Teachings of the Elders" or Theravada. These books were sent to different parts of India and Sri Lanka.
Theravadin claim to following more closely to the earlier forms of Buddhist practice, with their main goal being the achievement of the state of Arahant (lit. "worthy one", "winner of Nirvana"). In Theravada philosophy, each being is responsible for attaining Nirvana independently, thus allowing himself to guide others efficiently. The discriminative term 'Inferior Vehicle' thus came to be in opposition to Theravada by followers of Mahayana where the popular belief is that bodhisattvas are eternal and should help all sentient beings achieve enlightenment.
Therevada Buddhism focuses on Meditation and understanding. By meditating, a practitioner can gain valuable insight on himself/herself as well as understanding the concepts of Dhamma better. Meditation techniques include:Laos, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, and Sri Lanka.