Buddhism is “enjoying an unprecedented boom in Germany,” reports the German newspaper Deutsche Welle (June 9).
The number of Buddhist groups is rising along with Eastern religious teachings being popularized by best-selling books and even in the secular media. Although the German government does not keep statistics on Buddhism, the German Buddhist Union estimates that there are 100,000 Buddhists of German origin and an additional 120,000 immigrants–mainly Vietnamese and Thai–practicing the religion.
“What is clear, however, is that the number of Buddhist communities in the country is steadily rising: from 15 groups at the beginning of the 1970s to over 600 today,” reports the newspaper. German celebrities, such as actor Ralf Bauer, singer Nina Hagen and soccer player Mehmet Scholl, have embraced Buddhism. Hamburg-based German indologist Hans Gruber says that “Buddhism is becoming increasingly attractive as an alternative to materialism.
It is the subtle unease about a culture, about a progressive economic and lifestyle system that has conclusive answers to everything, but can’t do anything about inner turmoil.”