The NBO was founded in 1993 as a national representative body which ‘does not validate or endorse Buddhist traditions’ but seeks instead to promote fellowship between diverse Buddhist groups in the UK, for the benefit of a flourishing UK Buddhist Community, and for the common good. Now a charity, it continues to run on the generosity and goodwill of volunteers, and provides a neutral, non-denominational forum based upon commonly held Buddhist values of intelligent, ethical right action. A dedicated website http://www.nbo.org.uk illustrates this value through a range of activities and campaigns sponsored by its membership. These have recently included: Buddhist Action Month in July – a national initiative encouraging social action, a forthcoming conference on ‘Transforming Conflict Buddhist‘’ organised by The Centre for Applied Buddhism and supported by the NBO and The Network of Engaged Buddhists; The NBO Report to the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom March 2013; and support for Buddhist Student Societies.
Contribution to RE
Since its inception the NBO has been concerned with raising an awareness of the ways in which Buddhism and Buddhists are represented and its Education Activities Group provides a forum for discussion and advice on such matters. The group draws upon a wide range of expertise which includes:
- Research into Religious Education and Buddhism
- Involvement in Curriculum design through representation on various SACRES
- Expertise in the interface between Interfaith matters, Buddhism and RE.
- Significant experience of publishing materials on Buddhism for schools in both textual and electronic form
It has supported conferences which have either been solely dedicated to exploring these issues or have had overlap with other educationally interesting issues such as Human Rights and Ecology.
The group has been active as consultants facilitating answers to questions raised about Buddhism and provided a forum for discussing the nature, quality and reliability of educational materials in both textual and electronic form.
A Senior Advisor represents Buddhism on the steering committee of the Faith Encounter Programme, which ensures that guides in places of worship are professionally trained and aware specifically of the needs of visiting groups from schools.
Currently, the NBO is supporting a collaborative survey on what is being taught about Buddhism in Primary and Secondary Religious Education with the help of NATRE which will be sent to teachers in the Autumn term of 2013.