For the first time, England’s Buddhist buildings are the subject of a national survey, as heritage conservation body English Heritage undertakes research in partnership with the Centre for Religion and Public Life at the University of Leeds.
The ‘Building Buddhism’ project blog asks interesting questions, such as, “Do Buddhist buildings function in the same way as other faith buildings? Are they controversial, and if not, why not?”
The online survey is part of a larger research consultation project helping them understand faith places belonging to “growing religious groups” in England.
Generally, buildings which qualify for the survey have in common a public community function: advertised places where a group of people, large or small, meet to engage in Buddhist practice; eg, meditation, talks or communal activity.
Leeds University's Caroline explains, “We are paying particular attention to public buildings, in England [as opposed to residential houses where groups might meet, or Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland] as this reflects English Heritage’s geographical remit and priorities in terms of listing and protection. The project will finish by September 2014.”
The survey should only be filled in once per building, by someone with knowledge of the history of the building and its current use. To avoid duplication, if you know of a public Buddhist building of potentially historic interest, please do not fill it in yourself but forward this article to their staff or notify the researchers via the blog.