For a change, we are picking a spiritual topic this time. Our article should give you a guide about Buddhist temples from the city of London. This could be useful to the tourists, who are already interested in this culture. But more importantly, this list would be useful to every exhausted native of this city, who is looking for meditational sessions to revive their inner strength. Because it’s not a fallacy but a fact now, that meditation helps to cure several mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and regretfulness. Buddhist centres around the world have been offering such sessions since forever. Visit them and you will take only the positive vibes with you when you leave. While you’re in the city, consider staying in one of the luxury hotels or Airbnb Plus homes to make the most of your stay. Then read on below to find a list of the top 10 Buddhist temples & centres in London, UK.
1. London Buddhist Centre
Located in Bethnal Green, London Buddhist Centre is a Buddhist temple in East London. The architecture of this building is from the 18th century. A Buddhist community by the name of ‘Triratna’ opened a Buddhist centre in the year 1978. But the community never changed the exterior architecture, and today this red-brick fire brigade building ranks in the Grade II list of architectural heritage buildings. London Buddhist Centre is also a residential Buddhist community, it has a library, a bookshop, wall murals and a shrine room. The centre teaches Buddhism and provides meditational sessions. The cognitive therapy classes, dhamma seminars and meditation sessions are helpful, people claim that this centre has cured their depression and anxiety disorders. This is a good place to visit if you’re curious about yoga and literature.
2. Fo Guang Shan Temple
If you’re a London local, you will understand that Oxford Street is a busy spot. A 20-minute walk from this street, and you will reach a peaceful Buddhist temple. The locals know this place by the name ‘International Buddhist Progress Society’. This Buddhist temple is a branch of Fo-Guang-Shan Monastery (Taiwan). This monastery has hundreds of branches worldwide and this temple is one of their two centres of the United Kingdom. This building consists of three shrine rooms and permanent residences for the monks. Visitors get the option to learn about the Mahayana form of Buddhism from them. This centre endeavours to spread Buddha’s dhamma by organizing cultural activities. If the architecture looks much like a convent to you, then you’re right. It actually was a parish-school in the Victorian era. Taiwanese monastery acquired the place in the early 1990s and transformed the interior to a temple, however they did not change the exteriors. Which is why this building is listed in the architectural heritage of England and Wales, in the Grade II list.
3. London Buddhist Vihara
Theravada is known to be the most ancient branch of Buddhism, its history dates back to about 300 BC when the emperor Ashoka directed his son Mahinda to Sri Lanka to preach Buddhism. Prince Mahinda followed the words of his father and sailed to Srilanka. Soon enough, the locals became followers, and Theravada was known as their version. This London temple falls in the same lineage. London Buddhist Vihara was built in the 1920s, and it was the first Theravada monastery to be set up in the western world. But different reasons forced the monastery to change its location twice, and during the Second World War, they even shut it down. After the Great War, the Bhikkhu came back and reopened the temple in the 1950s. The current premise of this monastery is in Chiswick. Several monks reside here, and they teach Theravada form of Buddhism to the public for free.
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4. True Buddha Temple
True Buddha School is among the more recent Buddhism sects, it formed and flourished in Taiwan in the late 1980s. The cult has influence from the Sutrayana teaching of Buddha and Tao culture. This school was founded by Lu Sheng-yen, who is cited as a fully enlightened Buddha or the ‘Living Buddha Lian-sheng’. This monastery has at least 35 temples and numerous chapters worldwide, London’s True Buddha Temple is one of them. The father of this community still lives, he is known for preaching and converting nearly five million people into this newer sect. The architecture of this building is Christian, as it was originally a Chapel and was used as a Welsh school. It is situated near Willesden Green.
5. London Lei Zang Si Temple
We have learned in the previous paragraph that True Buddha School has many temples and chapters worldwide. In addition to the previous heading, we have a London’s local chapter of that monastery on our list - the London Lei Zang Si Temple. Chapters are much smaller in size than a centre, and a city of the size as London can have multiple chapters. The chapters serve a purpose of gathering people towards the path of Buddhism, who cannot visit a temple due to many reasons. Lei Zang Si Temple is an ordinary brick house. This building has monks living a Buddhist lifestyle, every morning they wake up before sunrise and start their routine. Visitors can join the meditation sessions with them in the daytime.
6. Sasana Ramsi Vihara
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Sasana Ramsi Vihara is a Myanmar Buddhist monastery in London. The vihara was founded in the mid-1990s in some other part of London, but through the love and support by the immigrants and followers of Buddha, this Myanmar Buddhist centre acquired a place in northwest London. The shrine room of this monastery features the biggest Buddha statue in Europe, in which he is in sitting with his three monks. This centre mainly teaches Burmese Buddhist literature through the residing monks, it also holds meditation and dhamma sessions every week.
7. Linh Son Temple
This south-east London Victorian townhouse is a Vietnamese Buddhist temple. It is known as the Linh Son Temple. Vietnamese temples are rare, and it is one of the two Vietnamese Buddhist temples in the United Kingdom. The temple teaches Mahayana tradition and offers free meditation classes on Sundays. The temple is peaceful, come here when you want to escape from the noisy crowd of London. The temple ground has statues, fountains and a quiet park. Surely this temple is worth a visit.
8. Three Wheels Shin Buddhist Temple
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Shogyoji Temple is a 400+ years old monastery in Japan and the foundation place of Shin Buddhism, Three Wheels Shin Buddhist Temple at Carbery Avenue is an addition in this reference. The temple was established in the year 1994. On paying a very small token amount, visitors can join the dhamma sessions and learn the technical details about Shin Buddhism by the monks. In the evening, they arrange a Japanese tea ceremony in a traditional kimono attire. There is a small garden beside this terraced temple, which is called the Zen garden. This garden looks much like the Zen gardens of the Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto. If not for the meditational purpose, you should visit this place for its positive atmosphere.
9. London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
We are very pleased to say that our public programme resumes! Starting 9th September you can join us every Thursday for...Posted by London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre on Monday, September 6, 2021
Diamond Way Buddhism came from the Kagyu lineage, it’s the Tibetan form of Buddhism that teaches Mahamudra doctrine. It is said that Mahamudra consists of Buddha’s life advises, that are known to be the summit of his teaching. The centre is the oldest Diamond Way Buddhist missionary in the United Kingdom and has been teaching since 1998. But in the year 2014, they shifted the centre from Holborn to Lambeth, now the centre is run from a former Beaufoy Institute which is also a Grade II listed heritage architecture. Diamond Way Buddhist Centre holds short meditational sessions free of charge four days a week. The style is open, and there is no dress-code. Visitors learn about this lineage, ask questions and interact with members. Arrive early and they will serve you evening tea.
10. Buddhapadipa Temple
The final centre on our list is a Thai Buddhist temple. The original Buddhapadipa temple was inaugurated by the royal family of Thailand in the year 1966 in the east Sheen region, but soon they purchased an extensive property in Wimbledon and shifted the temple to a new premise. Buddhapadipa is still there in Wimbledon and it is affiliated to the Royal Thai Embassy. The interior shows the life of Buddha from birth to death in the form of murals. The main shrine room has three Buddha statues, sitting in a line. Starting from the back, it’s a black statue made of bronze, the middle statue is golden, and on the front is a much smaller emerald statue. The temple has Thai architecture, there is a pond, and several bridges on the temple property. The place is open for everyone and aims to spread the teaching of Buddha in Theravada tradition, so be sure to check this place out during your tour of London. The centre is home to monks and nuns.
Have a happy meditation trip
Our list features a total of 10 Buddhist temples from London. Nearly every centre is unique as they represent one of many Buddhist traditions and different countries. Some of these centres are free to join, while some require you to pay a small donation to connect. And all of them are worth a visit. So choose your boutique hotel or Airbnb vacation rental already so you’ll have more time to visit each temple. Hope our list helps you finding positiveness.
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