Buddhism makes up 2.4% of the Australian population according to the 2016 census. The study of Buddhism in Australia has been documented since 1961, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the field began to grow. There are now over 175 studies relevant to the field, with more than 90 academic publications and 40 other resources. A review of key works in the field is categorized into five areas: Overviews, History, Major Schools, Buddhist Identity, and Expressions of Buddhism. The history section includes historical overviews and community profiles, as well as efforts to encourage government recognition of Buddhism as a designated religion in Australia. The section on major schools covers most major traditions, often by researchers who are also practitioners. Buddhist Identity encompasses studies on both immigrant identity and conversion in relation to Buddhist practice. The final section includes references dealing with how aspects of Buddhist teachings have been expressed in practice, including feminism, engaged Buddhism, and incorporation into Australian education systems.
Some notable works include “Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change,” which showcases a broad range of work from researchers and leading teachers. “Women and Ultramodern Buddhism in Australia” provides an update and new perspective on the role of women in Australian Buddhist history, and “The Buddha Is in the Street: Engaged Buddhism in Australia” illustrates expressions of engaged Buddhism in the Australian context. “The Buddhist Council of Victoria and the Challenges of Recognizing Buddhism as a Religion in Australia” explores efforts to encourage government recognition of Buddhism as a designated religion in Australia.
Overall, the study of Buddhism in Australia has grown significantly since the 1990s, with a range of academic publications and resources available. The field covers various aspects of Buddhism in Australia, including historical overviews, major schools, Buddhist identity, and expressions of Buddhism in practice.