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Enchanted Parklands

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What is the religious or spiritual significance of the Australian natural environment to non-Indigenous Australians? This question is asked in relation to the parklands along the Georges River, in south-western Sydney, and some of the ethnic groups who live in the ‘social catchment' of these parklands. The post-Reformation rationalist Christianity of Anglo-Celtic migrants led to a degree of institutional religious disengagement with nature, a disenchantment of places, that may tend to obscure the spiritual tone of the relationship that many Anglo-Australians clearly do have with the natural environment. Migrants from East Asia can be seen to be drawing their cultural links closer to the natural landscape as it exists in and around Sydney by engaging this landscape with wider narratives of emplaced spiritual presence. This situation is evident in the construction of Buddhist forest monasteries, the practice of meditation in the bush and in the mapping of geomantic forces and flows.
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Keywords: Aboriginal; Buddhism; Christianity; Vietnamese; migrant; national park; nature; religion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW), Australia University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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