Allan Bennett in 1908
Buddhism in London (Ananda Matteya)
Many students in metapsychism, seeking for a satisfactory explanation of the phenomena, find themselves drifting on to Buddhistic grounds.
Such students will be interested in the movement afoot to erect a Buddhist Temple in London. The head of the order, now resident in London, is Ananda Matteya.
The Bhikku Ananda Matteya ( or Maitriya)) was born in London in 1872. His birth name was Allan Bennett MacGregor, and he was educated at Hollesley College and Bath. His natural bent was for scientific and philosophical reading, and he studied experimental analytical chemistry under Dr. Bernard Dyer, of Great Tower Street, in the City of London.
He early drifted from adherence to the tenets of the orthodox faith in Agnosticism. His first definite knowledge of the tenets of Buddhism was gained from a perusal of Sir Edwin Arnold's poem, The Light of Asia, and further study along those lines led him, at the age of eighteen, to become an acknowledged adherent of the Buddhist faith.
Shortly after this time he was ordered to the East for the benefit of his health. He at once elected to go to Ceylon, where he devoted his time to the study of Sanskrit, Pali, and the Buddhist Scriptures. In December, 1901, he renounced the world, donned the Yellow Robe, and on May 21st, 1902, was ordained Bhikku, when he assumed the name of Ananda Matteya. This ceremony was on the day known as the Buddhist New Year's Day. Seventy-five priests took part in the ceremonial, and the town of Kgarook Kyoung is said, by one who was present to have been "golden with the robes of the priests".
In the address, he delivered on this occasion, Ananda Maatteya set himself the task of establishing the Sangha of the Buddha in the West -- a task too stupendous to be accomplished single-handed. Other converts of Western nationality, therefore, have also journeyed to the East, entered the Sangha, acquired a thorough knowledge of the Dharma, sought and obtained ordination, and will shortly arrive in London for the express purpose of founding a Western Sangha. The Bhikku Ananda Matteya is already here, so that it is by no means improbable that a Buddhist Temple in the metropolis may shoryly be erected, and the Yellow Robe become a familiar spectacle there. The services of men of education only have been enlisted, and the aim is to promote Buddhism on Buddhist principles, one of which is that no adherent shall revile or abuse any form of religious belief held by others.
------- Annals of Psychical Science Vol.7. no.41. p.260. (1908)