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DIRI JOURNAL Volume 2

It is sometimes worth remembering that Buddhism has been studied by Western scholars for less than a hundred and fifty years. Granted, reports by civil servants and missionaries in Sri Lanka had been filtering back to Britain since the early nineteenth century. However it was only toward the end of the century, when scholars such as T.W. Rhys Davids and R.C. Childers had begun the mammoth task of translating the Pali canon into English, and when the Theosophists initiated a more positive relationship with the religion that Buddhism was really ‘discovered’ by the West. The Pali Text Society was inaugurated in 1881 and the EFEO was not established until 1898. Indeed it was a long time until the West realized that Buddhism was a world religion to which many of the varied religious practices observed throughout Asia belonged...