Buddhism in Canada Essay


Buddhism emanated from the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama who is the founding father of Buddhism practices. Buddhism is based on the assumption that reality is a constant instability together with the principle of interdependence, the dominance of mind and consecrated admiration of health and the world. Buddhists use these founding principles as a standard by which all other scientific ideas must come to scrutiny.

Their concept of interrelations stresses the sequential efficacy between cause and its effect. This brings to light their belief in retribution and reward and gives an account of origins, doggedness, disintegration and disappearance of all what existed. Their principle of interdependence further stress on the aspects of form and spatial mutuality of all what exists. People who believe in Buddhism are known to embrace academic discoveries. They have incorporated some of these discoveries in their doctrine.

Thus they take without slightest resistance Darwin’s theories of origin of species and evolution which otherwise met great resistance in the larger Christian West. Transience is an irrefutable opinion for Buddhists. They put to scrutiny in great deal change, its stages, duration and its tangible effect. Introduction of Buddhism in the west met with interest in science that emerged from the need to ground religious belief in new understanding of scientific reality (Jayawardena 1)

Development of Buddhism in Canada

Similar to many western countries, Canada has embraced Buddhism as a religion. Although it was considered as an alien religion in Canada in the early years of its introduction, Buddhism is now becoming a mainstream religion in not only Canada but also in the United States. Being the largest North American country and one of the largest countries in the world, Canada has many cultures as well as different religions. Buddhism emerged in Canada since the nineteenth century although its major force on religion has been felt 1960s.

The membership of Buddhist temples in Canada have raised from 10,000 in 1960 up to 50,000 by 1985. Buddhists in Canada have continued to double every decade thus increasing the percentage of the Canadian population in Buddhism. In fact, Buddhists have outnumbered Sikhs and Hindus especially with the increasing influx of immigrant Buddhists from Sri Lanka and other countries such as china. As a result, Buddhism institutions such as temples and libraries have been discovered.

The first Buddhism temple to be established in Canada was by Dr. Dickwella Mahathera in 978. Another temple, Mahavihara, was later established with the specific purpose of serving spiritual and religious needs of the Canadian Buddhists. A Buddhist center called Vihara was established as a sign of devotion and to serve as a missionary instructor by providing information on Dhamma to western investigators.

With the help of the president, venerable Pandith Ahangam, the Vihara got extended and was structured with better facilities. One of the largest of the three cities in Canada has a Buddhist temple which is one of the total eight Buddhist temples in Canada. Canada also has Sri Lankan monks for offering free Buddha dharma to all who seek it.

With anagarika being the first Buddhist to visit Canada, he is seen as the light of Buddhism in Canada since Canadians were attracted to his cause (Bruce 1). With millions of Canadians showing interests in learning and practicing Buddhism doctrines, Buddhism has been reported to be the fastest growing religion in Canada and the western at large.

The relation between the development of Buddhism in Canada and the act of multiculturalism

The act of multiculturalism in Canada was passed in 1982 and it declares that it is the policy of the Canadian government to recognize and promote multiculturalism from cultural to racial diversities amongst the Canadian people.

Thus the government recognizes the rights of the minority groups regardless of their culture, religion and color. Canada has since been described as diverse and multicultural with records of anti racism depicted by high levels of immigration. Due to this freedom, Buddhism in Canada has continued to grow with exhibitions and shows being held publicly all over Canada.

For instance, an exhibition show on heritage of Buddhism was held in 2005 to express and inspire people on Buddhism. It comprised of several photographs which gave the perspective of richness in Buddhism heritage. Such arts associated with Buddhism could only be possible with the act of multiculturalism and they have had great impacts in the process of flourishing Buddhism all over the Asian continent (Canada’s multicultural policies 1).

This exhibition was facilitated by a college professor who is a Buddhist with a little help from volunteers most of which were from the university of Toronto. The exhibition has since then remained open for public viewing for free. By passing the act of multiculturalism by the Canadian government, the Buddhists got the gateway to diversify their doctrines and beliefs to a wider population.


Religion and culture are very important aspects in our society. Every citizen therefore has the right to enjoy and practice a choice culture or religion without any restrictions whatsoever by the law.

Works Cited

Bruce, Mathews. “Buddhism in Canada”. Web.

Canada’s multicultural policies. “understanding Canadian diversity”. Web.

Jayawardena, Lakshman. “Buddhism – fastest growing religion in Canada”. 2004. Web.

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