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Consider the factors which have contributed to the establishment of various forms of Buddhism in the west.

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Introduction

a) Consider the factors which have contributed to the establishment of various forms of Buddhism in the west. Buddhism has many different traditions that have been adopted by and adapted for life in the west. Buddhism became popular in the west for several different reasons, for example, aspects of contemporary scientific thinking are more easily appropriated into a religion that has no God. Philosophers questioned the validity of Christianity and the Bible's historical authenticity. Furthermore the role of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution meant that Biblical criticism flourished. Additionally travel around the world was popular especially as the British Empire spanned almost one third of the eastern world was very appealing. Buddhism is undogmatic and imposes no ritual or other requirements; this means that it can be easily adapted in a multi-cultural society. Moreover Buddhist meditation techniques and the emphasis on personal development reinforce the ethic of individual attainment and self-help found in many modern west countries, also Buddhism has a modern approach to ethical dilemmas. ...read more.

Middle

Tibetan Buddhism was enormously appealing because it has a highly mystical nature and consists of complex rituals, mandalas and mantras. b) Explain and assess the validity of the claim that ''Buddhism is rooted in eastern culture and can only be a passing fashion in the western world''. Buddhism has had a tremendous impact on eastern culture; it spread rapidly in India and beyond. By the third century BCE it was the major faith of India and had successfully spread to Sri Lanka. Buddhist teaching was not restricted to any tribal or cultural group, offering a skilful way of living and a hope for salvation. Therefore it became an integral part of eastern culture. The monastic sangha was well organised and could be seen as an example of a successful spiritual path. Many of the rules and teachings for the monks however related to social and moral relationships rooted in cultural traditions of the east. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also Buddhism was attractive to the growing class of travellers and merchants, who had become detached from traditional rural beliefs, they were important in spreading the teachings of Buddhism in their travels. And the fact that contemporary society is more pluralistic and diverse than in the past means that several cultures and religions can be accessible and co-exist. Also it has been a long and slow process in which the Buddhist sangha and various monasteries and centres have been established and these centres and traditions are becoming more popular rather than appearing to be in decline or going out of fashion. In conclusion Buddhism maybe rooted in the east but there are long established Buddhist centres in the west and its growing popularity shows that it in fact is not only a passing fashion in the western world. ...read more.

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