Buddhism is the third most widespread religion in Italy, after Christianity and Islam: it has about 100,000 adherents (0.2% of the Italian population), although, considering the number of immigrants who adhere to the faith, there could be many more.
In Italy there are two important Buddhist associations:
- The Unione Buddhista Italiana (Buddhist Italian Union) (schools: Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, Vajrayana Buddhism), founded in 1985 and recognized by the government in 1991, which adhers to the European Buddhist Union and has about 70,000 members (50,000 Italian citizens);
- Istituto Buddista Italiano Soka Gakkai (Buddhist Italian Institute Soka Gakkai) (school: Nichiren Buddhism), founded in 1998 from the ashes of the Associazione Italiana Nichiren Shoshu (Italian Association Nichiren Shoshu) (born in the 70s and transformed in 1990, after the separation from the clergy of Nichiren Shoshu, in Associazione Italiana Soka Gakkai, with about 13,000 members in 1993) and recognized by the government in 2000, which has about 33,000 members.
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