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

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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.  

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Buddhism attracts westerners by offering something that will accommodate the needs of everyone; new Buddhist groups emerged especially suited for western society. The Friends of the Western Buddhist Order was founded in Britain in 1967 by an Englishman called Venerable Sangharakshita as an organisation with a strong western emphasis.

Additionally two schools of Japanese Buddhism proved to be influential in the west. The first of these is the Nichiren School, which emphasises the significance of the Lotus Sutra, it promotes a positive mental attitude to life and proved popular in the west. The second influential school is ...

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