Buddhism in Australia Research Network

About Us

The Buddhism in Australia Research Network was formed in 2013. It is a multidisciplinary network of leading and emerging scholars, higher degree research students and Buddhist community leaders with an interest in furthering the study of Buddhism in Australia.

Buddhism is Australia's second largest religion, following Christianity. The 2011 Australian Census reported a relatively slight, yet significant, decline in Christianity from 63.23% in 2006 to 60.53% in 2011, and rise in Buddhism from 2.09% in 2006 to 2.43% in 2011. Islam also rose (from 1.70% in 2006 to 2.19% in 2011), as did Hinduism (0.74% in 2006 to 1.27% in 2011), Judaism (0.44% in 2006 to 0.45% in 2011), and Other Religious Groups (0.52% in 2006 to 0.74% in 2011). The relatively large number of Buddhists in Australia can be explained mostly as a result of migration from Asia and also due to conversion, given Buddhism's popularity in so-called Western societies. Buddhist presence in Australia dates back at least as far as the 1850s Gold Rush period, yet despite this long history, relatively little research has been conducted on Buddhism in this country.

Studies of Buddhism in Australia, such as Paul Croucher's (1989) A History of Buddhism in Australia and more recently Cristina Rocha and Michelle Barker's (2011), Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change, demonstrate that Buddhists, and/or Buddhist philosophy and practices, have played a significant role in Australian society, particularly in settlement of newly arriving communities, the arts, in healing and wellbeing, in social activism and also in politics. Anna Halafoff, Ruth Fitzpatrick and Kim Lam (2012) have argued that while Buddhism in Australia is an emerging field of study more research needs to be conducted in order to investigate the changing nature of Buddhism in Australia and also the impact that Buddhism has had on Australian culture and life.

In February 2013, Anna Halafoff (Deakin University), Judith Snodgrass (University of Western Sydney), Mark Allon (University of Sydney) and Ruth Fitzpatrick (University of Western Sydney) decided to convene a series of Workshops, bringing scholars and community leaders together in each Australian state, to identify research priorities. This has led to the formation of Buddhism in Australia Research Network and to a series of Workshops held so far in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Perth and Hobart, in which a number of research topics and funding possibilities have been identified.

The BIA Research Network intends to convene additional Workshops in the remaining States in 2014, to continue to raise funds for research and to encourage higher degree researchers to study Buddhism in Australia.

Members

Australian Buddhist Communities

The Network includes representatives from the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils, the Australian Sangha Association, the Buddhist Council of New South Wales, the Buddhist Council of Queensland, the Buddhist Council of South Australia, the Buddhist Council of Victoria, the Buddhist Council of Western Australia, the Buddhist communities of Tasmania and other prominent Australian Buddhist community leaders.

Academics
Dr. Mark Allon (Sydney University)
Dr. Greg Bailey (LaTrobe University)
Dr. Michelle Barker (James Cook University)
Emeritus Professor Gary Bouma (Monash University)
Dr. Andrea Di Castro (Monash University)
Dr. Diana Cousens (RMIT)
Dr. Leesa Davis (Deakin University)
Dr. Peter Friedlander (Australian National University)
Dr. Anna Halafoff (Deakin University)
Associate Professor Robert Hattam (University of South Australia)
Emeritus Professor John Loxton (Nan Tien Institute)
Dr. Sally McAra (Wellington, NZ)
Dr. Cristina Rocha (Univerisity of Western Sydney)
Dr. Patricia Sherwood (Edith Cowan University)
Ven. Juewei Shi (Nan Tien Institute)
Dr. Sue Smith (Charles Darwin University)
Professor Adrian Snodgrass (University of Western Sydney)
Associate Professor Judith Snodgrass (University of Western Sydney)
Dr. David Templeman (Monash University)
Dr. Sonam Thakchoe (University of Tasmania)
Dr.Shiva Vasi (Monash University)
Dr. Royce Wiles (Nan Tien Institute)
PhD Candidates
Mr. Chris Clark (University of Sydney)
Ms. Ruth Fitzpatrick (Univerisity of Western Sydney)
Ms. Kim Lam (Monash University)
Mr. Toby Mendelson (Melbourne University)
Ms. Praveena Rajkobal (Deakin University)
Mr. Iain Sinclair (Monash University)

Selected Publications

A comprehensive bibliography of Buddhism in Australia, compiled and edited by Ruth Fitzpatrick, Anna Halafoff, Kim Lam, and Michelle Barker, is available on the Journal of Global of Buddhism website. Please click on the link below: Bibliography: Buddhism in Australia

 

Selected books
Cristina Rocha and Michelle Barker (2011) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change Routledge
Selected book chapters
Abeyagunawardena, D. S. (2009) "Buddhists." In J. Jupp (ed.) The Encyclopedia of Religion in Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 198-213.
Barker, M. and Rocha, C. (2011) "Introduction." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-19.

Barton, G. (2007) "Buddhism, Mental Illness and Loss." In F. Gale, N. Bolzan and D. McRae-McMahon (eds.) Spirited Practices: Spirituality and the Helping Professions. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin. pp. 92-99.

Barzaghi, S. (2011) "The Journey of a Lay Female Zen Teacher: 'On a Withered Tree a Flower Blooms'." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 124-133.
Barzaghi, S and G. Coote (2007) "Socially Engaged Buddhism." In F. Gale, N. Bolzan and D. McRae-McMahon (eds.)Spirited Practices: Spirituality and the Helping Professions. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin. pp. 171-177.
Baumann, M. (2011) "Preface." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. xv-xvi.
Bowen, E. (2011) "Soka Gakkai: Dialogue as the Transformative Expression of Buddhist Humanism." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 113-118.
Bubna-Litic, D. and Higgins, W.(2011) "The Emergence of Secular Insight Practice in Australia." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 23-35.
Choedak Rinpoche. (2011) "Challenges to Teaching Buddhism in Contemporary Society." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.)Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 162-166.
Cousens, D. (2011) "The Buddhist Council of Victoria and the Challenges of Recognising Buddhism as a Religion in Australia." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 157-161
Davis, L. (2011) "Zen in Australia: Tradition, Challenges and Innovation." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 36-48.
Fitzpatrick, R. (2011) "Green Tara in Australia: Reassessing the Relationship between Gender, Religion and Power Relations." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 49-59.
Halafoff, A. (2011) "Venerable Robina Courtin: An Unconventional Buddhist?" In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 148-152.
Kearney, P. (2011) "Transformations of Insight." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 109-112.
Luu, T.Q. (2011) "Changes and Challenges to Vietnamese Buddhism in Australia." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.)Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 134-139.
McAra, S. (2011) "Buddhifying Australia: Multicultural Capital and Buddhist Material Culture in Rural Victoria." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 63-73.
Nagasuri. (2011) "Ordaining Women in Australia." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 119-123.

Phap, T.T. (2011) "A Life of High Adventure: Integrating the Monk and Pastor." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 153-156.

Sherwood, P. (2011) "Educating for Wisdom and Compassion Mind." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 143-147.
Skennar, J. (2011) "Sydney, a City Growing Within: The Establishment of Buddhist Centres in Western Sydney." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 86-94.
Vasi, S. (2011) "Adaptation and Continuity in Cambodian Buddhist Temples: Implications for Service Delivery and Community Development." In C.Rocha and M.Barker (eds.) Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 95-104.
Waitt, G. (2011) "Locating a Buddhist Temple in Wollongong, New South Wales." In C. Rocha and M. Barker (eds.)Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. New York: Routledge. pp. 76-85.
Wearing, M. (2007) "Buddhist and Christian Paths to Healing." In F. Gale, N. Bolzan and D. McRae-McMahon (eds.)Spirited practices: Spirituality and the Helping Professions. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin. pp. 205-214.
Selected journal articles
Aarons, H. and T. Phillips (2007) "Looking 'East' An Exploratory Analysis of Western Disenchantment." International Sociology, 22(3): 325-341.
Barker, M. (2007) "Investments in Religious Capital: An Explorative Case Study of Australian Buddhists", Journal of Global Buddhism 8. Available online: http://www.globalbuddhism.org/8/barker07.htm [Accessed 16 November 2011]
Carruthers, A. (2008) "The Vietnamese in Sydney." Sydney Journal, 1(3): 102-109.
Carruthers, A. & Tuy, S. (2009) "The Cambodians in Sydney." Sydney Journal, 2(1): 62-67.
Carruthers, A. & Meuansanith, P.(2010) "The Lao in Sydney." Sydney Journal, 2(2): 36-41.
Carruthers, A. (2010) "Lao Australians on Sydney's Urban Fringe: A Non-Cosmopolitan Transnationalism?" Amerasia Journal 36(2): 1-16.
Eddy, G. (2007) "A Strand of Contemporary Tantra: Its Discourse and Practice in the FPMT." Journal of Global Buddhism8, 2007. Available online:http://www.globalbuddhism.org/8/eddy07.htm [Accessed 16 November 2011]
Higgins, W. and Bubna-Litic, D. (2007) "The Emergence of Secular Insight Practice in Australia." Journal of Global Buddhism 8, 2007. Available online:http://www.globalbuddhism.org/8/bubna-litic-higgins07.htm [Accessed 16 November 2011]
McAra, S. (2007) "Indigenizing or Adapting? Importing Buddhism into a Settler-colonial Society." Journal of Global Buddhism 8. Available online: http://www.globalbuddhism.org/8/mcara07.htm [Accessed 16 November 2011]
Theses
Bubna-Litic, D. (2007) Opening a Dialogical Space between Buddhism and Economics: The Relationship between Insight and Action. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Western Sydney, Sydney.
Eddy, G. (2007) Western Buddhist Experience: The Journey from Encounter to Commitment in Two Forms of Western Buddhism. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Sydney, Sydney.
Fitzpatrick, R. (2007) Transforming Tara, The Practice of Green Tara in Tibetan Buddhism in Australia. Unpublished Honours Thesis, University of Western Sydney.
Lam, K. (2010) Second Generation Vietnamese Buddhists in Australia: An Intergenerational Study. Unpublished Honours Thesis, Monash University.
McAra, S. (2009). A "Stupendous Attraction", Materialising a Tibetan Buddhist Contact Zone in Rural Australia.Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Auckland, Auckland.
Smith, S. (2010) To be Wise and Kind: A Buddhist Community Engagement with Victorian State School. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Victoria University.

Events

Selected recent events

BIA Research Network Workshop, 22 February 2013, Deakin Prime, Melbourne.

BIA Research Network Worskshop, 19 March 2013, Australian National University, Canberra.

BIA Research Network Workshop, 5 April 2013, Deakin Prime, Melbourne.

BIA Research Network Meeting, 11 June 2013, Buddhist Council of New South Wales, Sydney, Hosted by the Buddhist Council of New South Wales.

BIA Research Network Meeting, 5 August 2013, Cambodian Buddhist Society of WA, Perth Hosted by the Cambodian Buddhist Society of WA and the Buddhist Council of Western Australia.

BIA Research Network Meeting, 16 August 2013, University of Tasmania, Hobart.

Contact Us

 For more information about the BIA Research Network please contact:

Dr Anna Halafoff
Lecturer in Sociology
Burwood Campus, Deakin University
Email: anna.halafoff@deakin.edu.au
Telephone: +61 (0)3 9244 3981

Page custodian: Deakin Research
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