Buddhism in Costa Rica
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Costa Rica has more Buddhists than the other countries in Central America with almost 100,000 (2.34% of total population), followed closely by Panama, with almost 70,000 (2.1% of total population). Buddhism was primarily driven by the presence of Chinese immigrants during the earlier part of the 19th century. Nowadays, it is also driven by the very minor presence of Buddhist missionary groups, such as Soka Gakkai International., which has establish a community center at San Jose. It is now also driven by the influence of the Japanese culture, especially manga and anime which sometimes have Buddhist-related stories.
But mostly, in recent years there has been a tendency for growing dissatisfaction with Catholicism, the dominant religion. Some convert to other branches of Christianity, most notably Protestantism (with a growing number of Protestant centers throughout Costa Rica). But others stay as agnostics, atheists or "free thinkers". It is these latter groups, especially if already interested or practicing some form of meditation, that can become influenced or inspired by "exotic religions" (in Costa Rica) such as Buddhism and therefore convert to it, or adopt it as a philosophy.
In Costa Rica there are a few centers of Tibetan Buddhism; the best known is the "Asociación Cultural Tibetano-Costarricense" (Tibetan-Costarrican Cultural Association), which was established in 1989 CE after the first visit of the XIV Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso in Latin America. Years later, in 2004 CE the XIV Dalai Lama revisited Costa Rica. He gave some discourses, including one in the University of Costa Rica.
There is also a Diamond Way Buddhist Center in Curridabat San José (Karma Kagyu lineage).
There is a zen buddhist center in Santo Domingo, Heredia called Casa Zen.
- tibet in costa rica (official website, in spanish)
- Visit of H.H. the XIV Dalai Lama - 2004 Archived September 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. (in spanish)
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