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IN Lifestyle ON 13 May, 2016
There is an peculiar change noticed in the spiritual landscape of Australia these days. This country is becoming multicultural by readily accepting the cultures that were earlier considered foreign to Anglo-European Australians. Buddhism is a resilient religion that is rapidly gaining popularity in Australia. Buddhism follows a 2,500-year-old philosophy which is 500 years older to Christianity and 1000 years to Islam.
All the other ancient religions such as the sun worshippers of Ancient Egypt, the human sacrifices of the South American Mayans and the Druids from the Dark Ages of England have faded with time but Buddhism is rapidly growing in many western countries.
Let's check out the story and the pictures depicting the unconventional rise of Buddhism in Australia.
Australians are voluntarily getting converted to Buddhism. The surprising fact is that the maximum converts to Buddhism are well-educated middle-aged professionals of Australia.
Buddhism has a major role in the history of Australia. It was actually the earliest non-indigenous religion that existed even before Christianity in the country.
The Chinese Ming emperor, Cheng-Ho sent 62 large ships to explore Southern Asia between 1405 and 1433. But, several ships reached to the north of Arnhem Land instead of Indonesia.
During the gold rushes, Chinese coolie laborers arrived in Australia for digging the Victorian gold fields but they returned to their homeland within 5 years.
Sinhalese migrants were the ethnic Sri Lankans who built the temple on Thursday Island while they were deployed to work on the sugarcane plantations in Queensland.
From the late 1870s onwards, some Buddhists used to work in the pearling industry across northern Australia. Buddhists formed their separate community and maintained their own cemeteries.
The earliest known Buddhist organization 'The Little Circle Of The Dharma' was formed by a small group of committed Buddhists in Melbourne, Australia in 1925. The Buddhist Society of New South Wales is another famous Buddhist group in Australia which has the maximum membership of Anglo-European people.
Sri Lankan monk, Somaloka was the first monastery established in 1971 in Australia. A number of monasteries soon spread across the nation. Besides Australia, Hollywood is also fascinated with this religion. Hollywood filmmakers made films depicting Buddhism such as Seven Years in Tibet, Kundun etc.
Successive visits of Dalai Lama to Australia helped in making Buddhism an important minority religion in the country. The number of Buddhists is steadily increasing in the nation which is pointing towards the dissatisfaction of Australians to their religious beliefs.
Australians are fascinated with Buddhism because this religion not only take refuge from the world of chaos but also allows to reinvent the own personal spirituality in this materialistic world. Technically, Buddhism is not a religion; it is just a psychology and a philosophy with a moral code of mind training.
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