S. Muthiah (The Hindu)
The fastest growing religion in Australia is Buddhism, and its roots have been traced back to Sri Lanka. But the question is, Will it continue?
Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in Australia, and the biggest reliquary-burial mound (stupa) outside countries with significant Buddhist populations is being built in Bendigo, not far from Melbourne.
It was while doing 18 months of research on Buddhism in Australia for two articles on the subject that now appear in the Cambridge University Press' massive tome The Encyclopedia of Religions in Australia that [D.S. Abeygunawardena] not only came across these two nuggets but also discovered that Australia had 570 listed Buddhist organizations, including monasteries, temples, retreat [center]s, meditation centers, and meeting places for Buddhist societies.
It's a story that begins with a boatload of Chinese arriving in Adelaide in 1851 to walk to the Victorian goldfields. Many of them were Buddhists. But there is no record what happened to them or their faith. Better recorded is the 500 Sinhalese [Sri Lankan] Buddhists from the Galle area in southern Sri Lanka. They came to work as contract labor in the Queensland sugar plantations.