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


The history of Buddhist influences in Finland and Scandinavia can most probably be tracked to far back in time of the culture contacts made by Vikings. The Buddhist cultural heritage was, however, spread into a public knowledge in Finland at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Collections of Buddhist teachings were translated into Finnish in 1906 and around the same time Buddhist influences of theravāda school were spread with the local branches of the Theosophical Society. Interest in Theosophy had risen especially among the labour movement and among some significant Finnish artist of the time. The first registered Buddhist community was established in 1947, when the Friends of Buddhism was originated. At the first decades, an important part of the public work of the association was publishing books and translations. While there have been some more quiet periods, the association is still continuing as Bodhidharma. By the end of the 1980s there were five established Buddhist communities. In the 21st century, there has been a significant increase in the number of Buddhist groups and people engaged in Buddhism. At the same time, the Buddhist cultural field has become fragmented to numerous small communities. The increase of people practising Buddhism is particularly due to immigrants with Buddhist backgrounds who have come to Finland. There has also been increased interest of Finnish people to the Buddhist thinking and specifically to meditation.

By the end of 2019, there were 13 Buddhist communities and altogether 1792 members in those communities, but the number of people practising Buddhism is significantly bigger. The biggest community is the Vietnamese Buddhist community in Finland with 676 members. Geographically the Buddhist communities are located mainly in the cities and especially at the metropolitan area.

D 24 juin 2021    AAnita Sipilä

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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