- See also: Laos
Laos is a mountainous Southeast Asian country wedged between Vietnam to the east and Thailand to the west. Mahāyāna Buddhism and Brahmanism penetrated into what is now Laos in the 7th century. In 1353 Laos emerged as a distinct political and cultural entity and Theravāda Buddhism became the state religion and remained so until the communist takeover in 1975. From then on all religions were persecuted but in a relatively mild way. With political liberalization in the 1990’s, Buddhism quickly re-emerged as an important part of the people’s lives. As in Thailand, Laotian Buddhism is mixed with elements of animism. It is uncertain how many people in the country are Buddhist but it could be as high as 60%.