Buddhism in the Czech Republic

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Czech Buddhists

With a rough estimate of fifty thousand Buddhists, Buddhism is practiced by around 0.5% of the Czech population. The World Buddhist Directory lists 70 Buddhist places in the Czech Republic.[1]

The Vietnamese-speaking communities form the mainstay of the Buddhist population in the Czech Republic. The Vietnamese practice mainly Mahayana Buddhism with some syncretism of ancestor worship, Confucianism and Taoism. They represent roughly from two thirds to three quarters of the Buddhist community alongside being the largest Asian community in the Czech Republic, numbering over 60,000.[2] The remainder consists of a significant number of Czechs who have converted (mainly to Theravada or Vajrayana Buddhism) and the smaller communities of overseas Chinese and Koreans.

Buddhism is found mainly where the Vietnamese-speaking people reside, notably in the cities of Prague and Cheb. Thien An Buddhist Pagoda in the northern province of Varnsdorf was the first Vietnamese style temple to be consecrated in the Czech Republic, in January 2008. The pagoda was completed in September 2007 and now serves as a center of Vietnamese culture and teaching Vietnamese language.[3] There are also ten Korean Buddhist temples in the Czech Republic, with three each in Prague and Brno.[4]

The Vajrayana practitioners are mainly centered on the Nyingma and Kagyu schools. The Karma Kagyu tradition has established about 50 centers and meditation groups. The Diamond Way tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism, founded and directed by Ole Nydahl is active in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

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