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An Account of the History and Development of Buddhism in New South Wales, Australia

By Lyall, Graeme

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Book Id: WPLBN0000706564
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 58.45 KB.
Reproduction Date: 2005
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Title: An Account of the History and Development of Buddhism in New South Wales, Australia  
Author: Lyall, Graeme
Language: English
Subject: Religion, Buddhism, Buddhism and literature
Collections: BuddhaNet: Buddhist Information and Education Network
Publication Date:
Publisher: BuddhaNet: Buddhist Information and Education Network


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Lyall, G. (n.d.). An Account of the History and Development of Buddhism in New South Wales, Australia. Retrieved from

BuddhaNet: Buddhist Information and Education Network document.

Excerpt: Although the earliest evidence of Buddhist influence in Australia is shrouded in mystery, Paul Croucher (1) suggests that the most likely arrival of the first Buddhists in this continent may have been with the armada of Cheng Ho in the 15th century. The Ming dynasty emperors took a keen interest in exploration and several of their ships are known to have been in the vicinity of Arnhem land around the early 1400's. In 1879, a statuette of a soapstone image was unearthed one metre under a Banyan tree near Darwin. Professor Geoffrey Blainey claims, however, that soapstone would not have survived 400 years and so the statue must be of more recent origin. If this were true, why was it buried so deeply? In the 1800's, especially during the gold rush time, many Chinese people arrived in Australia. Whether any of them were practicing Buddhists or perhaps more motivated by greed is unknown. Certainly, the 1800's saw the first establishment of, so called, Joss Houses on Australian soil. Two such joss houses are still in operation in Sydney - one at Glebe and the other at Alexandria. Klaas de Jong revealed in his booklet, A Short Account of the Spread of Southern Buddhism in Australia and Queensland in Particular (2), that a group of Sri Lankans arrived in Mackay, Queensland, on board the ship, Devonshire, on November 16th, 1882. There is evidence that many of these early migrants were Buddhists, but as de Jong noted


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