Buddhism and the Arts
Buddhism influenced a number of Victorian writers and naturalists at the turn of the 20th Century, notably Bernard O’Dowd and E.J. Banfield, who had grown up in lived in Victoria before moving to Queensland. Buddhism appealed to these Australians, firstly due to its emphasis on rationality, but also its pacifist reverence for all life and realisation of its interdependent nature (Croucher 1989: 13-16).
Later many Victorian painters and poets including Godfrey Miller, who was actually from New Zealand but lived mostly in Victoria, Ethel Carrick Fox, Lionel Lindsay, Margaret Preston, Harold Stewart and Max Dunn were all influenced directly or indirectly by Buddhism (Croucher 1989: 28-29, 49-51).
Beat Zen had an even greater impact on the art scene in Australia, as many Victorian painters and poets were inspired by Jack Kerouac and his contemporaries, including Peter Carey, Peter Upward, Fred Williams, and Sidney Nolan (Croucher 1989: 63-65, 118).