Buddhism, Australia’s second largest religion

by Jake Mitra, The Buddhist Channel, April 14, 2015

Perth, Australia -- The spotlight will fall on Perth’s growing role as a cultural and tourism hub for the Australasian region over the August 8–9 weekend this year, when more than 1,000 international and Australian delegates will gather for a unique conference hosted at Perth’s Convention & Exhibition Centre: the 9th Global Conference on Buddhism, themed on Resolving Conflict with Mindfulness.

The conference, featuring a diverse and distinguished line-up of international speakers, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist, will also underline the significant part now played by Buddhism in Australia’s national spiritual life - Buddhism is the country’s second largest religion.

The non-profit Buddhist Society of Western Australia (BSWA) organising this conference is also the largest such English-speaking organisation outside of Asia. The Society’s Perth-based Spiritual Director and Abbot, British-born Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera or ‘Ajahn Brahm’ (ajahnbrahm.org), convener of the conference, is a renowned Buddhist leader and the author of many books, including world best-sellers.

He is in demand worldwide as a speaker, drawing thousands, from California to Singapore. He is known as a ‘revolutionary Buddhist’, having been thrown out of his own Thai monastic order for the ‘sin’ of instigating the historic first full ordination of Buddhist nuns for more than 1,000 years in 2009, in WA (see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/).

BSWA points out that this conference is for everyone, not only Buddhists. Mindfulness is a universal technique that can be practised by all.

The Australian national conversation today is a-buzz with discussions of mental health, personal well-being, stress-management, and the importance of mindfulness training when coping with modern life. Many Australians are asking, what is ‘mindfulness’ and where can we find it? This conference hopes to provide some answers.

Conference speakers will address and confront conflict in its many forms - religious intolerance, gender stereotyping, digital and online distractions, anxiety, depression and even suicide - and will provide solutions as well as coping strategies to deal with them.

What have a British professor of mathematics and astrology with knowledge of psychic phenomena, a Nepalese-Tibetan movie star, an Aussie larrikin Catholic priest, an Australian radical feminist Buddhist nun, a Catalan cyborg who hears colours as sound through a surgically brain-implanted antenna, an Australian-Chinese psychotherapist, a robotics engineer from Sri Lanka and a Norwegian-born Buddhist monk all got in common? They will all speak at the 9th Global Conference on Buddhism.

More information and all speaker biographies are at www.9gcb.org

‘Participants can expect to take away from this conference, at the least, valuable and compassionate, practical information and guidance on how to live a more rewarding and contented life,’ says Mrs Cecilia Mitra, current BSWA President, ‘Their mental well-being should improve, and they will also benefit from the cumulative wisdom of a diverse array of speakers with different life experiences. Buddhists will find their understanding of Buddhist theory and practice enhanced. And everyone will come away thoroughly entertained!’