Essay on the Influence of Buddhism in Australia
James Sherrill, Fall 2015
Buddhism has been around for over twenty-five hundred years, and in that time, Buddhism has become one of the most influential religions in the world. The history of Buddhism is quite intriguing, and the religion itself is based on the teachings of the Buddha, who preaches self-enlightenment and social egalitarianism. As time progressed, Buddhism developed a few different teachings based on the cultures that they were culminated in. While these cultures had some different views on matters such as rituals, most of the Buddhist teachings were followed by all.
Around the time of the industrial revolution and the two great wars, humanity began dispersing all throughout the world. This meant that religions were now being spread to regions in which they were unfamiliar. Around the mid-1800s, many East-Asian travelers went to Australia for the gold rush. This is when Buddhism was first introduced in Australia. Buddhism wasn’t quite popular until after the second world war, when public policies in Australia were changed, making immigration into the country much easier for Asian immigrants, among others. While the first half of the 20th century saw Christianity dominate the country, the second half saw a decline, and coincidentally, the rise in the popularity of Buddhism.
Australia is a nation of multiculturalism, and this aspect allows minority religions such as Buddhism to flourish. While Buddhism is still nowhere near as popular as Christianity in Australia in terms of the number of followers that each religion has, it has become quite an influential faith all over the nation.