Open until Sun 23 Feb 2020
Book now Members go free

Discover the art, origins and its relevance today

Save 10% on your tickets when you book online (standard full price £14)

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, precious artefacts and stunning 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.

Further Information

There is an audio-described tour for blind and partially-sighted visitors on Monday 27 January 2020. Click here to find out more and book.

If you have any questions about your visit, please contact Customer Services: Customer-Services@bl.uk or +44 (0)1937 546060.

If you’re a group of 10 people or more, get a 10% discount off ticket prices.

Full Price: £14.00
Senior 60+: £12.00
Student: £7.00
Registered Unemployed: £7.00
Disabled: £7.00
National Art Pass Senior: £6.00
18-25: £7.00
Child 11 and Under: £0.00
Child 12-17: £7.00
National Art Pass: £7.00

Find out more about the learning programme to accompany the exhibition, including primary school workshops, secondary school workshops, teacher events, family activities and adult courses.

Explore more Buddhism with our accompanying events programme

Part of Asian Art in London

You may also like

Special Event

Early at the Library: Meditation, Music and Buddhism

Thu 20 Feb 2020, 07:30 - 09:00
Talks and Discussions

A Monk's Guide to Happiness: Meditation in the 21st Century

Fri 21 Feb 2020, 19:00 - 20:30

Delve a little deeper

The Buddha and Buddhist sacred texts

Professor Peter Harvey recounts the life and teachings of the Buddha, as well as considering the role that the Buddha plays in the different branches of Buddhism and how his teachings have been collected.

Women in Theravada Buddhism

Writing from the perspective of the Theravāda tradition, Ajahn Sister Sundara explores the role of women in Buddhism, in particular the role of Buddhist nuns.

Read more

The development of the Buddhist 'canon'

The Buddhist ‘canon’ is vast, complex and difficult to define. Here Professor Tim Barrett outlines some of the key works for the different branches of Buddhism.

Read more

Translation and transmission of Buddhist texts

Professor Tim Barrett explores the translation and transmission of Buddhist texts, looking at the spread of Buddhism from its origins in India, into China and Southeast Asia.

Read more


Name: Buddhism
Location: PACCAR 1
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Opening times and visitor information
Book now