British Maha Bodhi Society

British Maha Bodhi Society

The British Maha Bodhi Society (BMBS) was born on the same day as the 'Buddhist Mission', the predecessor of the London Buddhist Vihara was inaugurated on 24 July, 1926. Its objects were "the extension of the knowledge of the tenets of Buddhism, the establishment of a Vihara in London and the promotion of the cause of Buddhism in the West".

The original patrons of the BMBS were Anagarika Dharmapala, Mrs. Mary Foster Robinson and the Thai Ambassador in the UK. In September, 1934 the BMBS organized the largest gathering of Buddhists in Europe, the European Buddhist Congress.

In or about 1985, sharp differences among the senior monks at the Vihara and their respective lay supporters caused a major rift in the BMBS. One of the senior monks and his supporters who were members of the BMBS made a claim for the Vihara premises. The dispute went to Court. Legal proceedings that began in March 1986 concluded in the summer of 1991 with the High Court of the UK holding in favour of the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust and its Custodian Trustee, the Public Trustee of Sri Lanka. The judgment dismissed the claims of the senior monk and his supporters that the Vihara belonged to them.

The BMBS effectively folded up with the Court case but has now been revived under a new Constitution and functions under the aegis of the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust with the London Buddhist Vihara as its headquarters.


Ven Galkande Dhammananda - Religion, Rights & Reconciliation:
Finding Healing after Conflict

British Mahabodhi Society Directors:

Sudhammika Hewavitarne
Rajiv Hewavitarne
Sinha Ratnatunga
Sudanta Abeyakoon
Amal Abeyawardene - Secretary
Nihal Weerasena