Religions in Costa Rica: Buddhism
Catholicism is not the only religion adopted by Costa Ricans. Learn about Buddhism in Costa Rica.
In Costa Rica there are different religious communities of oriental origin. The most prevalent is Buddhism.
Buddhism in Costa Rica
The first Buddhists to arrive in Costa Rica were immigrants of Chinese origin, who came to participate in the construction of the Atlantic Railroad at the beginning of the 20th century.
Most of these immigrants gradually converted to Catholicism, due to the great influence of this religion in the country. However, Buddhism was not completely rejected in Costa Rica.
Indeed, the aristocratic and intellectual elite sector received Buddhism positively. In fact, in the country there was the Theosophical Society in Costa Rica, which operated in the country and was popular among the intellectual sector. Some poets who belonged to this group wrote poetry dedicated to Buddha, such as Roberto Brenes Mesén and José Basileo Acuña Zeledón.
What is the Theosophical Society?
The Theosophical Society is an international organization or fraternity founded in 1875 and related to theosophy. The reference figure of this movement is Helena Blavatsky, who, according to her, the society seeks divine wisdom, the occult or spiritual wisdom.
It had as its objective the study and explanation of phenomena related to mediums and spiritualism, together with the methodical study of oriental occultism and comparative religions.
Some time later, the first Buddhist centers were built. One of them was the Casa Zen of Costa Rica, sponsored by the Japanese Embassy in 1974.
Then, the Costa Rican Tibetan Cultural Association (ACTC) was founded after the first visit of the Dalai Lama to the country in 1989. In fact, the spiritual leader visited Costa Rica twice: once in 1989 and again in 2004.
In Costa Rica, there are Buddhist centers of the five main Tibetan schools: Gelug, Kagyu, Nyyingma, Sakya and Bön, the Soka Gakkai International, Theravada, Shaolin and a Chinese Buddhist pagoda.