Real, Relevant or Redundant: Positioning and Re-Positioning Buddhism in Australia as an Education Paradigm


This paper explores the development of a Buddhist religious education program conducted in state primary schools in Australia. It considers the positioning of Buddhism as pedagogy as constructed from multiple perspectives: a historicity that includes voices from the diaspora of Buddhist immigrants, white conversions and a mindful subset decoupled from the ‘religion'. These perspectives are set against a backdrop of a democratic state schooling system that is seeking to include personal development capabilities and Asian perspectives across the curriculum, but struggles to find a coherent place for teaching from religion, philosophy and ethics. These religion classes, although an optional a half hour per week adjunct to the core curriculum, have provided insights into students learning from meditation experiences and learning from ethical stories. From these student representations questions can be raised about the future of Buddhism in Australia and what Buddhism might offer plural and democratic education.

Author Information
Sue Smith, Charles Darwin University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2014
Stream: Psychology

This paper is part of the ACP2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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