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Western Buddhism

The scholars, colonists and intellectuals were primarily responsible for the origin of Buddhism in the western countries in the 19th and the 20th century. The earliest English translation of the “Tibetan Book of the Dead” conceded a commentary from C.G. Jung and is said to have engrossed numerous westerners to Tibetan Buddhism. Growing number of westerners started converting to Buddhism in the mid-20th century due to the wider accessibility of Buddhist texts and missionary efforts and work put in by eastern monks. Other then direct converts, Buddhist thought has progressively influenced Western popular society and spiritual divine movements during that time.

T.W Rhys Davies and Edward Arnold established the Pali Text Society in the 19th century which turned out to be one of the principal incidents in the growth of Buddhism. “The Light of Asia” the poem written by Edward Arnold helped extend the teachings of Buddha to a wider audience. Other important scholars who carried on this western Buddhism path were Alan Watts who propagated Zen Buddhism throughout the western countries, Christmas Humphreys who build a Buddhist Lodge and a Buddhist monk known as Sangharakshita (Dennis Lockwood) formed the 'Friends of Western Buddhism Order' (FWBO). All these were significant milestones for proliferation of Buddhism in west.

It was around 1950’s that Buddhism started expanding in America, before this, it was followed by little Chinese groups. The Chinese and Japanese immigrants build numerous temples for their own aim of worship and gradually they started spreading this knowledge to western audiences as well. In the 1960’s due to cultural changes in the country, the propagation of Zen and Tibetan Buddhism increased manifold.

In the present day, Buddhism is practiced and followed by a large number of people in Europe, America and Australia among many other western regions. Numerous Hollywood movies have also incorporated Buddhist themes and shades and have gone on to become mainstream commercial successes. Westerners have now impartially accepted Buddhist culture, its tradition, history and heritage.