Buddhism has come to stay in the West and in some of the communities of Europe, America and Oceania. It is said to be the fastest growing religion. As Buddhism stabilizes its foothold in Western societies, questions are raised about the importance of reconciling Buddhist beliefs and practices with those already in such societies. Many are the questions raised and equally diverse are the answers and solutions to problems. In this paper, an attempt is made to trace whether the twenty-three centuries of unbroken Buddhist experience of Sri Lanka has a contribution to make to Western Buddhists. It is relevant especially because Sri Lanka since the middle of the nineteenth century has played a leading role as the home of a missionary moment which took Buddhism to every nook and corner of the modern world.
The study shows two factors in Sri Lankan experience which have a role to play in Western Buddhism. Sri Lanka achieved a significant success in integrating the two major traditions of Buddhism (Mahayana and Theravada) and evolving a new form of Buddhism which spread to south and southeast Asia as the “Sinhala Reform.” Taking this form of Buddhism to the West, the Sri Lankan missionaries adopted an attitude of universalization that is characterized by building unity and cooperation among different schools and sects. The article concludes by recommending the usefulness of Integration and Universalization as measures most applicable to Buddhism in the West today.