There is a general awareness that in recent years there has been a rapid, almost exponential, increase in Buddhist Studies throughout the scholarly world. What is perhaps not so well known is how much work is being done in Buddhist Studies in universities in the Australasian region. Some of us became aware of this when a seminar series on Buddhist topics was started in 2004 at the University of Western Sydney. We were amazed at how many academics attended and how many were doing research in some aspect of Buddhism.
It was noteworthy that none of the academics coming to the seminars were affiliated with a department of Buddhist Studies, but were working in a wide range of disciplines and in comparative isolation, sometimes unaware that there were others, even in their own universities, who shared an interest in the study of Buddhism.
This being so, it became apparent that there was a need for an organization to focus the activities of these academics and to sponsor some feeling of community among them. Thus there arose the idea of setting up an Australasian Association of Buddhist Studies (AABS). As a result of the energetic activities of a group of enthusiasts, the organization was inaugurated at its first general meeting in October 2005.
The Association aims to establish links between scholars and students of Buddhism working in Australasia, between different disciplines working in the field of Buddhist Studies, and between local and overseas scholars. To these ends it will organize seminars, conferences, public lectures, and discussion and study groups. It will also work to establish liaison with other academic organizations in related scholarly fields. It is hoped that it will eventually publish a journal of Buddhist Studies.
The executive committee extends a warm welcome to any academic or student who wishes to become a member.
Professor Adrian Snodgrass
Former President and Honorary Life Member, AABS