A Western Australian Buddhist community: charisma in continuity and change

Maureen Roberts

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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Abstract

Today the religion of Buddhism is enjoying much worldwide attention. In Asia,
movements of reform are gaining strength and in Western society different
forms of Buddhism are emerging.

This research records the establishment of a Theravada Buddhist community
in Western Australia. Migrants and refugees from traditional Buddhist
countries join together with many Westerners 'new' to Buddhism to support an
ordained community.

My central argument in this thesis is that this monastic leadership is the
principal element of continuity of the religion. As Western monks, they are
largely responsible for the transmission of the practice of Buddhism from one
culture to another. They have the language, societal knowledge, education and
expertise of Western society into which Buddhism is being introduced and
hence preserve the teaching and practice of the religion in a new society.

I further argue that the leadership of the Western monks not only ensures
continuity of tradition but also cohesiveness within a diverse community. The
ordained community acts as a pivot around which contrasting forces converge.
The interaction that occurs between ordained/non-ordained, male/female,
East/West, traditional and 'new' Buddhists, creates a vibrant living community.

A quality of 'charisma1 manifest in the ordained leadership is identified as the
catalyst that enables Buddhism to take root in a new society. As Buddhist
teaching is transferred from master to disciple, personal charisma, charisma of
office and lineage charisma result in the establishment of a forest monastery in
Western Australia. Charisma persists because of the monastic adherence to
the austere and rigorous practice of this tradition.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMasters
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Western Australia
DOIs
Publication statusUnpublished - 1992

Fingerprint

Buddhist
Buddhism
Continuity
Charisma
Religion
Monks
Western Societies
Disciples
Refugees
Migrants
Monastery
Theravāda
Interaction
Teaching
Asia
Adherence
Education
Language
Western Australia
Westerners

Bibliographical note

This thesis has been made available in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository as part of a UWA Library project to digitise and make available theses completed before 2003. If you are the author of this thesis and would like it removed from the UWA Profiles and Research Repository, please contact digitaltheses-lib@uwa.edu.au

Cite this

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title = "A Western Australian Buddhist community: charisma in continuity and change",
abstract = "Today the religion of Buddhism is enjoying much worldwide attention. In Asia,movements of reform are gaining strength and in Western society differentforms of Buddhism are emerging.This research records the establishment of a Theravada Buddhist communityin Western Australia. Migrants and refugees from traditional Buddhistcountries join together with many Westerners 'new' to Buddhism to support anordained community.My central argument in this thesis is that this monastic leadership is theprincipal element of continuity of the religion. As Western monks, they arelargely responsible for the transmission of the practice of Buddhism from oneculture to another. They have the language, societal knowledge, education andexpertise of Western society into which Buddhism is being introduced andhence preserve the teaching and practice of the religion in a new society.I further argue that the leadership of the Western monks not only ensurescontinuity of tradition but also cohesiveness within a diverse community. Theordained community acts as a pivot around which contrasting forces converge.The interaction that occurs between ordained/non-ordained, male/female,East/West, traditional and 'new' Buddhists, creates a vibrant living community.A quality of 'charisma1 manifest in the ordained leadership is identified as thecatalyst that enables Buddhism to take root in a new society. As Buddhistteaching is transferred from master to disciple, personal charisma, charisma ofoffice and lineage charisma result in the establishment of a forest monastery inWestern Australia. Charisma persists because of the monastic adherence tothe austere and rigorous practice of this tradition.",
author = "Maureen Roberts",
note = "This thesis has been made available in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository as part of a UWA Library project to digitise and make available theses completed before 2003. If you are the author of this thesis and would like it removed from the UWA Profiles and Research Repository, please contact digitaltheses-lib@uwa.edu.au",
year = "1992",
doi = "10.26182/5c6b9cf4d96fb",
language = "English",
school = "The University of Western Australia",

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A Western Australian Buddhist community: charisma in continuity and change. / Roberts, Maureen.

1992.

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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N1 - This thesis has been made available in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository as part of a UWA Library project to digitise and make available theses completed before 2003. If you are the author of this thesis and would like it removed from the UWA Profiles and Research Repository, please contact digitaltheses-lib@uwa.edu.au

PY - 1992

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AB - Today the religion of Buddhism is enjoying much worldwide attention. In Asia,movements of reform are gaining strength and in Western society differentforms of Buddhism are emerging.This research records the establishment of a Theravada Buddhist communityin Western Australia. Migrants and refugees from traditional Buddhistcountries join together with many Westerners 'new' to Buddhism to support anordained community.My central argument in this thesis is that this monastic leadership is theprincipal element of continuity of the religion. As Western monks, they arelargely responsible for the transmission of the practice of Buddhism from oneculture to another. They have the language, societal knowledge, education andexpertise of Western society into which Buddhism is being introduced andhence preserve the teaching and practice of the religion in a new society.I further argue that the leadership of the Western monks not only ensurescontinuity of tradition but also cohesiveness within a diverse community. Theordained community acts as a pivot around which contrasting forces converge.The interaction that occurs between ordained/non-ordained, male/female,East/West, traditional and 'new' Buddhists, creates a vibrant living community.A quality of 'charisma1 manifest in the ordained leadership is identified as thecatalyst that enables Buddhism to take root in a new society. As Buddhistteaching is transferred from master to disciple, personal charisma, charisma ofoffice and lineage charisma result in the establishment of a forest monastery inWestern Australia. Charisma persists because of the monastic adherence tothe austere and rigorous practice of this tradition.

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