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Buddhism in South Africa

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Buddhism has recently been gaining ground in South Africa, and the country now comprises the largest Buddhist community in Africa. South Africa is also the base for organisations aiming to spread Buddhism in Africa, such as the Kagyu lineage of Vajrayana Buddhism.

Apart from various Buddhist groups brought to the Cape Colony from Southeast Asia during the 1680s, and the many indentured labourers brought to Natal from India during the latter part of the 19th century (some of whom were Buddhist, and some of whom were Hindu who later converted to Buddhism once in South Africa), most Buddhists in South Africa are converts, and not Asian. Various Buddhist groups grew up in the major cities from the 1970s, and there has been a proliferation of distinct Buddhist traditions since the mid-1980s. These include Theravada, Zen, Nichiren and Tibetan schools. The Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order has erected Nan Hua Temple, the largest Buddhist temple and monastery in Africa, in the town of Bronkhorstspruit near Pretoria. Another notable Buddhist centre in the country is the Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal. The Nichiren Buddhist lay group Soka Gakkai International has a community centre in Parkwood, Johannesburg. A community of lay and ordained Buddhist practitioners live in the modern and tranquil setting in the peaceful and beautiful suburb of Blairgowrie/Randburg/Johannesburg. Classes for the general public as well as structured study classes are held at the Vajrapani Buddhist Centre and various other venues in Gauteng. The Centre is run by the Resident Teacher Gen Kelsang Legden who was ordained in the UK in 1997 by the Spirutual Director of The New Kadampa Tradition - International Kadampa Buddhist Unionthe Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche.

About 0.1% of the population of South Africa is Buddhist, which although very low, is one of the largest Buddhist populations in the continent of Africa.

See also


Dharma Wheel
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