Continuity and Change in Canadian Buddhism, 1970 – 2021: The Geographical Context

Chandima Gangodawila


This article focuses on studying published literature on Buddhism in Canada. The research analyzed the different factors attributed to the continuity of Buddhism and change from the hostile era when the Japanese were physically displaced to the period where more people can express their Buddhist faith freely in the public sphere. Some of the major contributing factors to the growth of Buddhism include the adoption of multicultural policy, ease of access to the internet, emergence of secular Buddhism, decrease in faith in religious leaders, and the increase in agnostics and atheists. The continuity of change is evaluated using the census data from 1971- 2011, an oral history from a person who has been at the center stage of Buddhism’s changes in Canada, and an evaluation of Buddhism in the different provinces in Canada. The study found that the number of Buddhists in Canada has been increasing gradually with the development of various schools, which form the branches that portray the nature of Buddhism in the country. Buddhism has evolved into different schools in different regions depending on the immigrants that first settled in those areas. New interest has been on the rise as secular Buddhist practices have taken form in the Canadian population, such as mindfulness meditation which has helped various people to live in peace and harmony. Buddhism has grown to be a religion deeply rooted in the multiculturalism of Canada, with adherents being both natives and immigrants. An area for future study is a subsequent research after the release of the 2021 census statistic to continue mapping the progress and the future of Buddhism in Canada.


Canadian Buddhism; Atheism; Geography; Continuity; Change

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