The fascinating journey that Queensland and Buddhism share is just another, until now, unsung tale that has helped shape and mould this wonderful state and country.
Shakyamuni Buddha is credited with bringing this philosophy to our awareness more than 2550 years ago and Buddhism is recognised as one of the very first belief systems that intentionally sent their clergy (monks) to travel among foreign people and countries to share the Buddha’s teachings. Such journeys have been recorded dating back to around 300 BCE, taking those teachings from the now north-western area of India to Korea and Japan in the north, Indonesia to the east, Sri Lanka in the south and Afghanistan to the west. From the 1800’s it reached the societies of the North and South America, Europe and Australia.
Its message of love, peace and a promise of how to bring an end to suffering have echoed widely with all people who have come into contact with the Buddha’s teachings.
The fact that Buddhism made landfall in Australia even before the European settlers has been confirmed, but the real influx took place with the early gold rushes and farming of the 1800s.
Just how the various traditions, or styles, of Buddhism have grown, in keeping with the growth of Queensland from a district to a state in its own right, is demonstrated in this publication.
Today, Buddhism is reflected in a myriad of centres dispersed throughout Queensland, and sharing a multitude of different ways of practicing this philosophy and as a way of life.
Although the philosophy, message and goal are common to all traditions, their practices are quite diverse and appeal to different people in different ways. From a silent sitting meditation style, to groups of people chanting in unison – there is a method of learning and practicing Buddhism that will suit everyone.
The parallels between Buddhism’s acceptance in this state and Queensland’s own 150 years of progress and expansion are clearly evident when you read this history.
It also demonstrates how Queenslanders have become acquainted with and accepted Buddhism now as the second-largest following behind Christianity and, today, with more than ninety centres now flourishing in this state, and the celebration of Buddha’s birth, death and enlightenment a major public event at Brisbane’s Southbank every May, its appeal only seems to be growing.
Buddhists are now also represented in the realms of school religious instruction, chaplaincy and pastoral care and the Buddhist Council of Queensland routinely liaises with state and federal governments for all matters affecting the practice of and access to Buddhist resources, including the provision of visas for monks etc..
The multi-lingual and multicultural aspects derived from Buddhism’s early integration with so many communities has also acted in helping to forge closer ties between these groups, sharing the same respect for others’ beliefs and customs, and other groups that form the Queensland community spirit.
This publication has only been made possible through the Queensland Government’s Q150 celebrations and their support is duly acknowledged. While its compilation has been the result of the efforts of many people and groups, special recognition should to be given to the contributions made by Clayton Wood, Thanh Le, Julie Khoo and Venerable Bhikkhu Dhammadarsa, without whom, this publication may not have been produced.
Centres whose information was received after the closing date for contributions have still been included in order to demonstrate the locations of centres throughout the state and information that may assist the reader, should further information be sought on this philosophy.
Further information on Buddhism can always be obtained by contacting the Buddhist Council of Queensland, either via their website, or by telephone or facsimile.
The Management Committee of the BCQ