eurel     Données sociologiques et juridiques sur la religion en Europe et au-delà


According to the 2018 report of the Observatory of Religions and Secularism concerning Belgium, the religious currents from Asia and especially Buddhism are increasingly appreciated by Belgians. Buddhism is represented by thirty associations which are listed by the Belgian Buddhist Union (UBB, federation of Buddhist associations in Belgium) belonging to the great traditions of Buddhism or more contemporary schools. All three streams of Buddhism are represented : the Theravada stream (six associations offer various practices such as vipassana or other practices from the Burmese, Thai or Indian traditions), the Mahayana stream (ten associations offer Zen Buddhist teachings from the Japanese and Vietnamese traditions) and the Vajrayana stream (thirteen associations whose practices mostly come from one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism). Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism appear to be more particularly practised by the Belgian public.

Each of these associations offers a variety of activities such as meditation, philosophy workshops, permaculture, or Chinese gymnastics such as Qi Gong. Some of them have become major centres of welcome in Belgium such as the vast spiritual retreat centre Les jardins de méditation de Samyé, run by the Kagyu Samye Ling Belgium group since 2016 (Tibetan Buddhism).

On 20 March 2006, the Belgian Buddhist Union submitted an application for official recognition of Buddhism in Belgium on the basis of Article 181 § 2. On 2 April 2019, a bill to this end was tabled in the House of Representatives. The intention of the UBB is to represent the practising community and position itself as an intermediary between its members, the Belgian public and Belgian institutions. The UBB already organises training courses for the Buddhist counsellor certificate in correctional and hospital environments.

A study carried out in 2008 by the company Phonecom reveals that Buddhism in Belgium is a source of inspiration for 5% of the population and that the number of people who seek moral support in accordance with a Buddhist vision is estimated at more than 100,000. There are more than 20,000 practising Buddhists in Brussels alone.

Pour plus d’information :
 DE BRACKER, Bernard, « Bouddhismes en Belgique », Courrier Hebdomadaire du CRISP, n° 1768-1769, 2002.
 FRANKEN Leni, "La reconnaissance du bouddhisme : le chemin de l’illumination ?", ORELA, 2 avril 2021

D 3 mars 2020    AStéphanie Conrad

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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