Welcome Speech 2012 - Dr. Jake Mitra

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Venerable’s Vello Vaartnou, Ajahn Brahm, Tenzin Dhamchoe (Drepung Gomang),
Venerable Ashin Ketu, (State Pariyatti Sāsana University in Yangon, Myanmar). Venerable Dr Wei Shan, (Renmin University of China, China)
Venerable Dr Yuan Liu, (The Buddhist Academy of China, China PR), Dr Bikshuni Jampa.
Distinguished Sangha and lay supporters of the international Buddhist Community,
Members of Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls.

We acknowledge the traditional West Australian indigenous Aboriginal communities and their Culture, as the original Australian residents, who migrated here around 40,000 years ago. On behalf of the Management Committee of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils Incorporated (FABC), we welcome you one and all too sunny Perth, Western Australia.

Today’s multi-cultural and multi-faith Australia, with a population of over 22 million people, is home to peoples from a wide range of international countries. There are now approximately 500,000 Buddhists living and working in every Australian state and territory. Following the publication of the 2006 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census, the figures showed 77% of the population resided in towns and cities of over 1000 people, and live within 50km of our coast line.

The 2006 census also revealed the Buddhist population had doubled from the previous census taken in 1996. These figures were confirmed for the first time, after census forms were changed to give our citizens the opportunity to “tick” a box declaring they were followers of the Buddha Dharma.

Buddhism is the largest non-Christian religion in Australia; and is the fastest growing faith group, comprising around 2.1% of our total population.

The FABC, incorporated in 2003, is composed of delegates from each of the five mainland state. Our councils committee consists of male & female, ordained and lay practitioners, from all of the mainstream Buddhist traditions in Australia.

Anglo-Australian Buddhists have benefited from the establishment of the many Mahayana and Theravada tradition temples, monasteries and dharma centres; that have integrated and flourished within our communities, following the influx of new immigrants from Asia, South East Asia, Sri Lanka, Tibet, China, Taiwan and Japan.

The real challenge for Australian Buddhists is how to best disseminate the Dharma and simple Buddhist philosophy, that is acceptable and relevant to our free, open and democratic Oz society.

The growth of Buddhism has no doubt increased due to the questioning nature of its many Australian residents, who have embrace the notion, that we should accept responsibility of our own actions, and understand “we have to be the change we want to see in the world” (thanks to Mahatma Gandhi)

So, where do we go from here? As an Australian Buddhist, I ask that you simply join and support your state Buddhist Council that will in turn give our entire Buddhist community a voice within government, through our resourceful and dedicated FABC committee.

In conclusion, we wish this esteemed group of delegates and participants involved in the 2012 Buddhism & Australia Conference... peace, health and happiness in the Buddha Dharma.

With enduring Metta,
Kim Hollow

Mr K. A. Hollow
President,
Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils Incorporated.
Post Office Box 6479
Footscray West, Victoria 3012, Australia
Email: president@buddhistcouncil.org.au
Mobile: 0432 408 756


Presented 2nd February, 2012 by Dr. Jake Mitra, on behalf of the FABC