Grant allows Harding opportunity to study Buddhism in Canada

Dr. John Harding (Religious Studies, Principal Investigator) has received a five-year, $258,659 Social sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight grant – the largest-ever grant received by the Department of Religious Studies – to study Buddhism in Canada and around the world.

With colleagues Dr. Victor Hori (McGill University) and Dr. Alexander Soucy (Saint Mary’s University), Harding, the Principal Investigator and coordinator of the U of L’s new Asian Studies program, will develop a better understanding of how Buddhism, like many other religions, is modernizing itself worldwide. He will also look at how it is changing more rapidly as immigration influences the different forms of Buddhism being practiced in Canada.

With an estimated population of more than 365,000 and a strong presence in southern Alberta, Canadian Buddhists have more than a century of religious practice to their credit.

Raymond, Alta. housed the first Buddhist temple in Canada east of the Rocky Mountains (1929) and was in some ways the centre of Buddhism in Canada as significant numbers of Canadians of Japanese descent were relocated to the area during WWII.

Today, the southern Alberta region is still an important hub for members of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist community as a new Buddhist Temple was recently built in Lethbridge, Alberta.