Pamphlet 33: ‘Quakerism and Buddhism: The Cutting Edge’, Anne Bancroft, 2008

Anne Bancroft speaks from a long experience of both Buddhism and Quakerism. She sets the Buddha and George Fox in their respective contexts and traces their spiritual journeys: that of George Fox as recorded in his and his contemporaries’ writings; and that of the Buddha from the oral tradition of teaching as set down in the Pali manuscripts. Both left home to search for their truths, initially through the traditional teachers of their time; but both came to realise, after a time of deep despair and testing, that the path to truth lay with seeking a direct encounter with the sacred within the self. From their revelations and insights developed those ‘awakenings’ and ‘openings’ which still speak to our condition today. Anne explores the similarities of the two paths but also their differences. Many of us have some connection with Buddhism as we encounter it in contemporary Western society and it is enlightening to find a clear exposition of those often glossed over differences. It is Anne’s belief that these “should not be papered over in a well-meant attempt at ‘oneness’ … but should be looked at directly and celebrated as new insights, leading to a richer and fuller life.” In its account of the origins and development of these two faiths and their meeting points with each other, this pamphlet sets a valuable agenda for further exploration and understanding.

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