Buddhist contribution to social welfare in Australia

Document Type

Journal Article


Pennsylvania State Univerisity


Faculty of Regional Professional Studies


School of Regional Professional Studies




Sherwood, P. (2001). Buddhist contribution to social welfare in Australia. Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 8(319), 61-74.


Although Christianity arrived with the first white settlers in 1788, the arrival of Buddhism to Australian is relatively recent. Croucher (1988) suggests that the earliest known Buddhist settlements in Australia were the Chinese migrants arriving in the 1860s during the gold rushes in the Eastern States.1 The earliest known group of Buddhists in Australia of non-ethnic background was the Therav!din Little Circle of Dharma formed in Melbourne in 1925 by Max Tayler, Max Dunn, and David Maurice. It was not until 1952, in New South Wales, that the first Buddhist society was formed in Australia. Marie Byles and Leonard Bullen were the founders.2 In 1960 the Ch'an sect arrived in Sydney, and in the following year, the Soto Zen Buddhist society was formed in New South Wales. It then spread in the next decade to other states.3 The first Tibetan lamas came to Australia in 1974, and during the late 1970s and 1980s, a number of Tibetan centers opened across Australia. Buddhism is having an increasing impact on the experiences of Australians as reflected in the proliferation of Buddhist organizations in recent decades. They now number 319. 4

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