Discover the art, origins and its relevance today
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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How did Buddhism grow from its beginnings in 6th-century BCE India to having over 500 million international followers today? How did the life of the Buddha unfold? What inspires Buddhist practice?
Encounter the outstanding beauty of Buddhist manuscripts and artworks in the largest exhibition of its kind ever held at the British Library. Explore rare treasures from the Library’s collection including colourful scrolls, artefacts decorated with great detail and lavishly illuminated books spanning 2,000 years and 20 countries.
Meet the women whose stories are told through Buddhist scripture. Admire artefacts made by hand in a setting inspired by a Buddhist temple. From sacred texts written on tree bark, palm leaves and gold plates to exquisite silk scrolls of major sutras, follow the life of the Buddha and his previous incarnations. Find out how Buddhism was pivotal in developing writing and printing techniques, transmitting ideas and stories across Asia. Lose yourself in a natural soundscape.
Contemporary art from Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan and ritual objects used in contemplative practice provide a window into everyday life in Buddhist communities in the 21st century. Understand current customs and beliefs, gain insight into meditation, and experience the feeling of stepping into a monastic library.
Mindfulness. Compassion. Tolerance. Many of us have heard of the principles of Buddhism. Discover their origins, see beautiful artworks, and understand what these concepts mean for Buddhists in the world today.