Buddhism in Australia has seen a turning point in the 1970s with the arrival of numerous refugees due to the Indo-Chinese wars. A decade later, the Asian migration to Australia took on a different form, as many people from Taiwan, Singapore or Hong Kong arrived in the country as business migrants. The latter categories had a huge impact on Buddhism, particularly if you take into account the diverse branches and schools of thought that developed since their arrival. Following is a list with the most representative temples and monastery for the various Buddhist branches in Australia.
Nan Tien Temple
Located in the southern outskirts of Wollongong and only 80 km away from Sydney, the Nan Tien (“Southern Paradise”) Temple belongs to a Taiwanese Buddhist order formed in 1967. Mostly known as the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere, Nan Tien was constructed using traditional Chinese materials and techniques. An interesting fact about Nan Tien is that the site for the temple was carefully chosen near Mount Kembla, mainly because the peak is said to resemble a recumbent lion. The temple is currently one of Wollongong’s major tourist attractions and a must-see sight for anyone travelling to Australia.
Bodhinyana Forest Monastery
Established in 1983 amidst the rolling hills of the Darling Range, near the small town of Serpentine in Western Australia, the Bodhinyana (“Wisdom of Enlightenment”) Forest Monastery is the perfect environment for anyone searching for simplicity and solitude. Scattered over 242 acres, the monastery is home to twenty monks who have dedicated their lives to the cultivation of wisdom, virtue and meditation. Located about an hour drive southeast of Perth, Bodhinyana features a large meditation hall, where members of the public can enjoy peace and tranquillity.
Dhammasara Nuns’ Monastery
Founded in 1998 by the Buddhist Society of Western Australia in the hills outside Perth, Dhammasara is primarily a monastery dedicated to training nuns in the Theravada Buddhism school of thought. Promoting renunciation, quietude and simplicity, the monastery only accepts temporary visitors who have some basic training in meditation and are familiar with the Buddhist principles.
Buddhism in Australia
Even though Buddhism is relatively new to Australia, it is widely recognized as having two main strands, namely the Australian Buddhism and the so-called Ethic Buddhism. Despite the fact that these two main strands have been separated and remained discrete, in the recent years, sociologists report frequent intersections and interactions between them. The trend becomes increasingly evident when you take a closer look at their historical development and their origins.