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By: Lauren McGuinn and

Amelia Bell
The Buddha - Early Life
Siddhartha Gautama, who later became The
Buddha, was born in present day Nepal at
around 490-410 BCE.
He was born into a life of luxury with a rich,
happy family which kept him insulated him
from the sufferings of life.

Siddhartha never experienced pain, sickness, death, or loss in his life, until after he was
grown, married, and had a child.
He decided to finally leave the safety of his home and discovered an elder man, a sick
man, and dead man.
Greatly disturbed by this sight, it became clear that pain and suffering were all things that
no one could avoid in life, no matter how luxurious your life was.
Becoming a Holy Man
During this, Siddhartha also saw a monk, and took it as
a sign that he should leave his protected royal life and
live as a holy homeless man.
His travelings exposed him to much more suffering in
the world. He searched for a way to escape the
inevitability of death, old age, and pain by studying with
religious men, however, this failed to provide him an
Siddhartha had encountered an Indian ascetic who
encouraged him to follow a life of extreme self-denial
and discipline
The Buddha also practised meditation but concluded
that in themselves, the highest meditative states were
not enough.
Siddhartha followed the life of extreme asceticism for
six years, this still left him unsatisfied. He still had not
escaped from the world of suffering
Siddhartha sat beneath the Bodhi tree (tree
of awakening) and became deeply
absorbed in meditation, reflected on his
past experiences with life, determined to
conquer its truth.
At least, he achieved Enlightenment and
became the Buddha.
Buddhist legends tell that at first the Buddha
was happy dwelling within this state,
however, Brahma, king of gods, asked on
behalf of the whole world, that he should
share his understanding with others
The Middle Way and The Teacher
He left behind the strict lifestyle of self-denial
and asceticism, but did not return to the
pampered luxury of his early life
He seeked the Middle Way, neither luxury or
Buddha set in the wheel of teaching: rather
than worshipping multiple gods or one god,
Buddhism centers around the importance of the
teaching, known as the dharma
For the next 45 years of his life, Buddha taught
his teachings to many disciples, ones who
achieved enlightenment themselves, who
became the noble ones.
Buddhism in Britain
Buddhism in Britain is indisputably a growing community and religion
A census from 2001 states that there are 151,816 Buddhists in Britain,
which does not even count those who are Buddhist along with any
other religion and those who follow the beliefs but do not label
themselves Buddhist
Buddhism first found its way into Britain through translations of
Buddhist literature being taught in schools in the East, including the
novel The Light Of Asia, which described the Buddhas life and became Japanese-style Buddhist garden
in Europe
a well known classic.
A man named Allan Bennett, went to Sri Lanka and became the first Englishman to be ordained
as a Buddhist monk.
In 1907, The Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland formed and became the main platform
for Buddhists in Britain for nearly 50 years
The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 brought many Eastern religious traditions to Britain. As a
result, today almost every Buddhist tradition is represented in Britain.
East and West - British Buddhism
The main differences are cultural. Whatever the tradition of Buddhism
in Britain, the teaching has generally remained faithful to its origins.
The essence of Buddhism -practices and teachings- are the same in
Britain as they are in the east, however cultural customs in both Celebration of a Buddhist
festival in Britain
Britain and the east differ.

For example, if a Theravadan monk were to walk down the streets of London holding out an alms bowl
expecting food as is normal in Southeast Asia, he would only get surprised looks. Instead, food is taken
to the temples by supporters, or cooked on site.
Buddhism does not require a commitment to itself alone, many people around the world who maintain
other religions weave Buddhist features into their religious lifestyle. For example, there are westerners
of the Judaeo-Christian traditions who maintain their faith yet supplement it with the practice of Buddhist
Though there is often no cultural connection for Western Buddhists, those who do celebrate festivals or
holidays use this as an opportunity to prepare gifts and food to support the temples and monks and their
way of life.
Buddhist Centres in Britain
There have been temples, monasteries and centres of all kinds set up in Britain over the last
hundred years with roots from Sri Lanka, China, Korea, etc
Most of these centres are established for the purpose of teaching and practicing buddhism but
welcome everyone who wishes to participate.
Some Buddhist practices have been adjusted slightly to fit Western culture, such as the
language of the chants
Some Buddhist groups in Britain focus mainly on meditation rather than other practices such
as chants or bowing before Buddha statues
Overall, there currently no one group or representative for Buddhists in Britain as a whole,
however attempts are being made to establish one.

Tibetan Buddhist Meditation

Centre in the UK
Works Cited
"BBC - Religions - Buddhism: The Buddha." BBC News. BBC, 2 Oct. 2002. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

Ruth, Diana St. "BBC - Religions - Buddhism: History of Buddhism in Britain." BBC News. BBC, 18 Aug.

2005. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.