Source: showchina [11:33 July 15 2009]

Buddhism was introduced from ancient India around the first century. After long development and evolution, it was divided into Han (Chinese) Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism (popularly known as Lamaism) and Pali Buddhism (also known as Hinayana, or Lesser Vehicle). Han Buddhism is quite influential among Han people, but because there are no strict rituals and rules for becoming a Buddhist believer, it is hard to produce statistics on the number of believers. Tibetan Buddhism is basically the religion of ethnic minorities such as Tibetan, Mongolian, Yugur, Moinba and Tu, with a total of about 7.6 million believers. Pali Buddhism is basically the religion of such ethnic minorities as Dai, Blang, De'ang and Va, with the number of believers surpassing 1.5 million.

Currently, there are more than 13,000 Buddhist temples with about 200,000 monks and nuns. Of them, Tibetan Buddhism has about 120,000 lamas and nuns, over 1,700 living Buddha and more than 3,000 monasteries. Pali Buddhism has nearly 10,000 monks, nuns and elders, and more than 1,600 temples. In areas inhabited by the Han people, 142 Buddhist temples are under state-level protection.

The three language families of Buddhism have altogether 19 colleges/schools at the primary, secondary and senior levels, including 14 in Han, four in Tibetan and one in Pali. There are Buddhist websites on the Internet, such as China Buddhism Online (www.fjnet) and China Buddhism Information Network (www.buddhism.com.cn).