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Costa Rica has more Buddhists than the other countries in Central America with almost 100,000 (2.34% of total population), followed closely by Panama with almost 70,000 (2.1% of total population). Buddhism was primarily driven by the presence of Chinese immigrants during the earlier part of the 19th century. Nowadays, it is also driven by the very minor presence of Buddhist missionary groups, such as Soka Gakkai International. It's now also driven by the influence of the Japanese culture, specially manga and anime which sometimes have Buddhist-related stories.
But mostly, there has being a tendency on recent years of growing dissatisfaction of Catholicism, the religious majority. Some convert to other branches of Christianity, most notably Protestantism (with a growing number of Protestant centers throughout Costa Rica). However, others stay as agnostics, atheists or "free thinkers". It is this later groups, specially if already interested in or practicing some form of meditation, that can become influenced or inspired by "exotic religions" (in Costa Rica) such as Buddhism and therefore convert to it, or adopt it as a philosophy.
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