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Places of Worship videos - Buddhism

Video duration: 12 minutes approximately.

The Buddhist Centre

This film follows the director of the Birmingham Buddhist Centre on a tour of the centre. Padmakumara is a western convert to Buddhism and member of the Triratna Buddhist Community (fomerly Friends of the Western Buddhist Order), a community of practitioners that is neither monk nor lay and draws on the whole of the Buddhist tradition.

The centre itself was formerly a Jewish Synagogue but was taken over by the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order in 1995 and converted for use as a Buddhist place of worship, study, and meditation. Birmingham has a strong Buddhist following amongst the mostly British adherents and the Birmingham Buddhist Centre caters for many people, from many backgrounds and walks of life.

In this film, Padmakumara introduces the core beliefs of Buddhism and outlines the important features of the main worship and shrine room. Padmakumara explains the place of various artefacts to be found in the worship room along with their symbolism. With other members of the community, he participates in a Buddhist puja or act of devotion.

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Suggested Questions >>

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This film is in line with the national expectations for Religious Education as outlined by the non-statutory guidelines for RE. Learning objectives for levels 1-8 in both attainment targets, Learning about Religions & Learning from Religions, can be drawn from this film.

Students should be able to recognise, identify, describe and show understanding of the features of religious life and practice in Buddhism. They should also be able to explain the beliefs and teachings arising from the film and relate some religious practices seen here to the lifestyles of the worshippers.

By comparing the lifestyles of Buddhists with their own, and identifying what influences these people of faith, students should be able to come to a greater appreciation of what it is to be a person of faith and the importance it holds for that individual.


1. Padmakumara and the congregation of the Buddhist Centre are performing puja or worship. What are the main features of these devotions? What benefits arise from the chants? What do you think people gain from such an act of worship?

2. The shrine room is given over to devotions to the Buddha. In what ways does the architecture and layout of the room help this to happen? Does puja have to be like the way you saw here? If you had the chance to make changes, what would you do?

3. Buddhist devotions can be both congregational and individualistic. What does this mean? In what ways does meditation aid spiritual growth?

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