Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

This is a broad, catch-all category of works that fit best here and not elsewhere. If you haven't found it someplace else, you might want to look here.

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:27 pm

Buddhism in London
by Diamond Way Buddhism: Karma Kagyu Lineage
Accessed: 10/29/19



Did you know that Buddhism has had a presence in London for over 120 years? This article overviews the historical context of our current London Buddhist Centre at the Beaufoy.

Early Buddhist influences on London

Japanese Pure Land Buddhists (1840–1907) established the first Buddhist “mission” in the West in 1889 in the central London home of a pioneering Irish Buddhist, Charles Pfoundes. The mission however was short-lived, as Pfoundes emigrated to Japan three years later.

Around 1863, newly arrived in Japan, Charles changed his surname to Pfoundes, learned Japanese and developed a passion for studying Japanese customs and culture. He subsequently made a career for himself as an East-West middleman, based mainly in Japan but with a thirteen-year period (1879-1892) in London where he gave innumerable talks on Japan and other topics and in 1889 founded the ‘Buddhist Propagation Society’; the first-ever Buddhist mission to the West (Bocking et al. 2014). As far as we know Charles never met, nor indeed wanted to contact, his brother Elam or his father James after he left them in Ireland in 1854. He did however spend time, though hardly quality time, with his mother on several occasions. In 1874 Caroline travelled to Tokyo, where Pfoundes held a responsible position in a major shipping company. That visit ended, according to Caroline’s later testimony in a Dublin courtroom in 1877, with Charles forcibly taking from her all the money she had brought with her to Japan, so that she was obliged to rely on the assistance of friends to get home. Caroline was in court because Charles, who in 1877 was travelling the world prior to settling, as he planned, in London, had visited Caroline in her own home in Dublin in May 1877 when she was in her early 60s and physically assaulted her when she did not give him back some Japanese ornaments he wanted. In October he returned and threatened to attack her again if she did not give him some papers. Pfoundes only avoided jail by paying sureties to keep the peace towards his mother for 12 months (‘A Strange Case’ 1877; ‘Extraordinary case’ 1877).

-- Mrs Pounds and Mrs Pfoundes: A Futuristic Historical Essay in Honour of Professor Ursula King [Charles James William Pounds Pfoundes] [Excerpt], by Brian Bocking

The next figure in the introduction of Buddhism in London was Allan Bennett (1872–1923). He was the second Englishman to become a Buddhist monk in the Theravada tradition (the first died shortly after his ordination in 1899). Bennett inspired many Londoners to explore Buddhism. A former occultist, he was a friend of Aleister Crowley, with whom he shared an interest in Buddhism. Bennett lived in a poor area of London. He was tormented by illness, which compelled him to use morphine and other drugs. He stayed with Crowley for a short time at a flat in Chancery Lane in central London, where they pursued their passion for mysticism.

After falling out with Crowley, in 1900 Bennett took a ship to Asia to dedicate himself to Buddhism. First he travelled to Ceylon, and later Burma where he received monastic vows and the name Ananda Metteyya “Bliss of Loving Kindness”. After returning to London, in 1908 Bennett started to promote Buddhism. He faced difficulties in upholding monastic rules in London, for example he was not allowed to ride behind a horse but London’s public transport was horse-drawn; he could not handle money so could never travel alone; and couldn’t share a house with a woman. However he managed to generate much attention.

Transport in London in the early 1900s

Another key figure in Buddhism making its mark on London was Christmas Humphreys, QC (1901–1983), considered the most eminent of all 20th Century British Buddhists. A barrister, he prosecuted several controversial cases in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and later became a judge at London’s Old Bailey. Humphreys’ interest in Buddhism developed at Cambridge University, where he joined the Theosophical Society. He was influenced by Ananda Metteya [Charles Henry Allan Bennett] and other early British Buddhists, such as the Pali Text Society’s founder, T. W. Rhys Davids. Humphreys organised a group that developed into the “Buddhist Lodge” of the Theosophical Society, which by 1926 had seceded to become the Buddhist Society in London, which is now the UK’s longest-standing Buddhist institution. In Humphrey’s spirit of non-sectarianism, the Buddhist Society has promoted the teachings of all Eastern Buddhist traditions, supported the development of Buddhism in London and the UK, and has hosted many prominent teachers. Of particular relevance to the history of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism was the welcoming of H.H. the 16th Karmapa at the Buddhist Society on his visit to London in 1977.

The 16th Karmapa and Christmas Humphreys in London, 1977

Proliferation of Buddhist Centres in London

In the latter half of the 20th Century a number of actual and nominal Buddhist organisations appeared and made their mark on London’s Buddhist landscape. Theravada Buddhist institutions such as Chithurst and Amaravati Monasteries in north London gradually emerged from the fledgling English Sangha Trust, founded in London in 1956 by the English monk Bhikkhu Kapilavaddho (William Purfurst) to provide residences for monks and establish an authentically British monastic community. Temples catering predominantly for ex-patriot Buddhist communities of Sri Lanka and Thailand took shape respectively with the London Buddhist Vihara (West London) and Buddhapadipa Temple (Wimbledon). Other smaller temples and centres have similar offerings for London’s diverse Eastern Buddhist communities.

Chronology [of the English Sangha Trust]

1879 Edwin Arnold published a biographical poem about the Buddha called The Light of Asia

1881 Founding of The Pali Text Society by Dr Rhys Davids

1907 The Buddhist society of Great Britain and Ireland was formed (3rd November) in order to facilitate a visit by Ananda Metteyya [Charles Henry Allan Bennett]

1908 Ananda Metteyya arrived on 23rd April, creating the first recorded Buddhist mission to England

1909 The Buddhist Review was published on the 1st January; it was the first Buddhist periodical to appear in this country (Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland)

1923 From 8th Jan to the 28th May Francis Payne gave a series of lectures at the Old Essex Hall, Strand, London, in an attempt to revive a flagging Buddhist Society

June 1924 The Buddhist Centre within the Theosophical Society was started by Christmas Humphreys later to become The [Buddhist] Lodge and then the present Buddhist Society (CH p17)

1926 On the 25th October the Buddhist Lodge within the Theosophical Society “divorced” the Theosophical Society and became independent (CH p27)

Nov 1926 The Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland was dissolved (CH p28)

1928 The first Vihara connected with the birth of the British Maha Bodhi Society was founded by the Anagarika Dharmapala in Regents Park

1947 Venerable U Ṭhittila became librarian of the Buddhist Society and a leading exponent of Buddhism (CH p46)

1948 On 18th April 1948, certain members of the Buddhist Society and others founded the Buddhist Vihara Society in England with the object of expediting the founding of a Vihara in London where bhikkhus might live, teach and form a nucleus of the Theravada Sangha (CH p51) (see Sri Lankan Buddhism)

1951 The inaugural meeting of the Manchester Buddhist Society (27th May) (MBS)

Aug 1952 First Buddhist Summer School at St Anne’s College, Oxford (CH p53)

Nov 52 Samaṇera Dhammananda helped start Birmingham Buddhist Society (MBS) (MW 54/55)

Aug 1953 3 Grosvenor Square became the permanent home of the Manchester Buddhist Society (MBS)

Aug 1953 Samaṇera Dhammananda helped form Cambridge and Brighton Buddhist Societies (MBS)

May 1954 On the 17th the Sri Lankan Temple was opened at 10 Ovington Gds, Knightsbridge. The Venerable Narada Mahathera was the first incumbent

Aug 1954 Summer school held at Roehampton. Miss Horner and the Venerable Narada Mahathera attended (MBS)

Nov 1954 Venerable Kapilavaddho returned to England on the 12th, and stayed briefly in Manchester. He then moved to the London Buddhist Vihara (Sri Lankan temple) in Ovington Gds, Knightsbridge on the 15th. He was joined by Bhikkhus Guṇasiri and Mahanama, the Venerable Narada having already left. He set up the Dana fund (for the use of members in distress, for the maintenance of bhikkhus and for the expenses of lecturers) and the Buddhist summer school both of which were later taken over by the Buddhist Society (R&B)

April 55 On the 8-11th the first intensive practice course lead by Venerable Kapilavaddho. 15 attended held at Milton hall, Buxton (MBS)

Sept/Oct 55 A two week course was held at Ipping (AP)

Aug 1956 “The English Sangha Association is a new formation. It was founded at Oxford on 11/18 August 1956 by a group of sixteen people who had just completed a strenuous and continuous course in the practice of samadhi (concentration) and vipassana (insight) lasting a week under instruction of the Venerable Kapilavaddho.” (MW Nov 56) (M-EST First annual report by Dir. 30 April 57)

10 Oct 56 Buddhist Society moves to 58 Eccleston Sq (MW-55/56) (CH p59)

Oct 1956 EST leased 50 Alexandra Rd, London N.W.8. (M-EST First annual report by Dir. 30 April 57)

Dec 1956 First Sangha Magazine produced (S Dec 56)

28 Oct 62 131 Haverstock Hill was inaugurated. Mr Walshe, Chairman of EST (S Dec 62)

May 1963 Between February and May, Biddulph Old Hall was bought (S May and June 63)

1963 129 Haverstock Hill was purchased. The property was rented to provide an income for the Vihara

April 1964 Ananda Bodhi returned and went to Biddulph and taught samadhi and vipassana, Wat Paknam method. (S Mar 64)

April 1964 London Buddhist Vihara moved from 10 Ovington Gds, Knightsbridge to 5 Heathfield Gds, Chiswick. Venerable Saddhatissa Mahathera was the incumbent

1964 Lease of Sangha House, Alexandra Street finished

[1965/1966/1967] Venerable Ananda Bodhi returned to England in the Fall of 1961, at the invitation of the English Sangha Trust, becoming the Resident Teacher of the Camden Town Vihara. He was a special guest speaker at the Fifth International Congress of Psychotherapists in London, where he met Julian Huxley, Anna Freud and R.D.Laing, among others. For the next three years he taught extensively throughout the UK, founding the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara in London and the Johnstone House Contemplative Community—a retreat centre in southern Scotland. During this period he also joined a Masonic lodge. In 1965, when he decided to move to Toronto with two of his British students, Johnstone House was entrusted to Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Akong Tulku, becoming Kagyu Samye Ling—the first Vajrayana centre to be established in the West.

-- Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche [Venerable Ananda Bodhi/Leslie George Dawson], by Dharma Centre of Winnipeg

Ananda Bodhi, senior incumbent of the English Sangha Vihara and founder of a Buddhist contemplative centre in Scotland called Johnstone House, proposed turning the direction of the House over to myself and Akong. At once the fresh air and beautiful rolling hills of Dumfriesshire invigorated me and filled me with joyous expectation. After a series of further visits, Johnstone House was finally turned over to us and we moved in, giving it the name of Samye-Ling Meditation Centre.

-- Epilogue: Planting the Dharma in the West, from "Born in Tibet," "by" Chogyam Trungpa

To celebrate 50 years of Chogyam Trungpa's arrival in the UK Rigdzin Shikpo visited Biddulph Old Hall where he received many precious teachings from Trungpa Rinpoche.

-- A Tour of Biddulph Old Hall: Rigdzin Shikpo takes us on a tour of Biddulph Old Hall in Staffordshire, England. Biddulph Old Hall is the site of some of Trungpa Rinpoche's early teachings in the UK, by Rigdzin Shikpo

Biddulph Old Hall. Source: Sangha Magazine, May 1963

May 1963 Between February and May, Biddulph Old Hall was bought (S May and June 63)
Nov 1963 Ananda Bodhi to Thailand
1963 129 Haverstock Hill was purchased. The property was rented to provide an income for the Vihāra
April 1964 Ananda Bodhi returned and went to Biddulph and taught samadhi and vipassana, Wat Paknam method. (S Mar 64)
10 Jan 67 Maurice Walshe asked John Garry to manage Biddulph. He also found Richard Randall (previously Mr Purfurst and Venerable Kapilavaddho) and asked him to return
Biddulph Old Hall sold (S Nov 69)

-- Honour Thy Fathers: A Tribute to the Venerable Kapilavaddho ... And brief History of the Development of Theravāda Buddhism in the UK, by Terry Shine

Well, I met him in 1966. And at that time I was married to an Irish actress named Jacqueline Ryan, or Jackie. We had rather a stormy relationship....

I began making the aspiration in my mind, “May I connect with a realized master in the practice lineage.”...

So one day in my mind I was making this aspiration, and I had this sudden thought come to my mind, “Go to the phone book and look up ‘Tibet.’” And I thought, “That’s crazy. What’s that going to do?” And I thought, “Yeah, yeah, but what have you got to lose?” So I went to the phone book, and I looked up “Tibet.” Now in London, there’s 12 million people, the phone book is in four volumes, but I looked up in the “T’s,” and there was only one entry that began with the word “Tibet.” And that was “The Tibet Society of the United Kingdom ... and noted down the address -- I think it was 58 Eccleston Square.” ...

[S]o I got in the car, and I knew where Eccleston Square was, and I managed to find a parking place there without having to use the reverse. And it was sort of a Victorian townhome. And I went up the steps and there was a brass plate that said, “Buddhist Society.” And I thought, “Ha, that’s a good sign.” And underneath it it said, “Tibet Society.” So I pressed that bell push, the buzzer sounded, the door opened, and I went in.

And there was an arrow pointing down to the basement. So I went down to the basement, full of anticipation that there was going to be something very esoteric -- I was sure about that – “Tibet Society!” And there was this middle-aged English woman with her hair in a bun, typing away on an old manual typewriter, looking at me at the top of her glasses and saying, “How can we help you?” And I said, “Well, tell me about the Tibet Society.” And she said, “Oh, it’s a charitable organization, raising money for Tibetan refugees in India. Would you care to make a donation?” I thought, “This is crazy.” And I think I gave her 10 shillings, and I was about to leave, thinking that this was a total waste of time. And at that moment, a young woman came in the door, and she kind of pulled me aside and she said, “If you don’t mind me asking, ‘what are you doing here’?” I said, “Well, it’s really hard to explain, but I’m really interested in the teachings of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism.” She said, “Oh, you know there are two Tibetan lamas in this country, and they belong to that Kagyu order.” And then she reached into her purse and she pulled out a photo, and she pointed to the one on the left and she said, “That’s Trungpa. That’s the one you want to meet.” I said, “Yes. Okay.” And then she proceeded to give me the address and phone number. They were living in Oxford....

And I rushed home, and I phoned the number in Oxford, and asked to speak to Venerable Trungpa, and someone with a weird foreign accent said, “Oh, he no here right now. Better you write to him.” And then they gave me an address of some place called Biddulph in Staffordshire, Biddulph Old Hall in Staffordshire.

And so I sat down and wrote a letter, “Dear Venerable Trungpa. I’d very much like to come and meet you, and study under your guidance. And I’d be willing to meet you any time or place that would be suitable to you.”...

So I sent off the letter, and of course, the first day there’s no response. The second day there’s no response. The third day, now by that time you could get an answer, because in England you could send a letter one day and it would get there the next day, and you could get a reply the day after that. But on the third day there was still no answer. On the fourth day there was still no answer. Now I was getting antsy. And on the fifth day still no answer. And I thought, “Well, I can’t wait any longer. I’m just going to go.” And I had the address of this place, The Biddulph Old Hall, Biddulph, Staffordshire. And I had a road atlas. So I found this place Biddulph. It was like a dot on the map, it was just this little village. And I decided I was going to go....

And I finally found this little village called “Biddulph” in Staffordshire. It’s kind of in the middle of England. And then I stopped in the village, and got directions to the Old Hall. And it’s a beautiful stone manor house....

And this place had a kind of iron knocker on the door. And I knocked, and a young man came to the door and said, “How can we help you?” And I said, “Well, I came to see the Venerable Trungpa.” And he said, “Ah, you must be Richard. He told us you’d be arriving today.” And I said, “What?,” because I had not had any answer to my letter....

So I stayed there for a week, and I met with him regularly on a one-to-one basis....

So at the end of the week, I went back to London. And a day or two afterwards I was having dinner – I was with my wife Jackie – and she said to me, “I have a feeling you don’t really need me anymore.” And I said, “Yeah, maybe you’re right.” And she said, “I’m going to be leaving you.” And I said, “What?” And I didn’t really say much about it. But when I woke up the next morning – we had this big king-size bed, and there was this big empty space next to me -- she was gone. And I was kind of surprised, although she had said that, because it was so sort of sudden. And I remember calling up Trungpa Rinpoche in Oxford and saying, “You’ll never guess what happened. My wife left me.” He said, “Oh, yes.” And I said, “I have the feeling that if I contacted her, and asked her to come back, she probably would.” And he said, “Well, I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” And I said, “No, I’m not going to.”....

And then a couple of days later we set out for Scotland.

-- Richard Arthure on Meeting Chogyam Trungpa, by The Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

In 1967, the two Rinpoches named their centre after Samye, the first successful Buddhist establishment in Tibet. They were soon joined by master-artist Sherapalden Beru and the monk Samten. By 1970, Trungpa Rinpoche had departed for the USA and His Holiness the 16th Karmapa firmly encouraged Akong Rinpoche to take a leadership role in developing Samye Ling.

-- A Brief History of Kagyu Samye Ling, by Kagyu Samye Ling

1 Aug 1966 The Thai temple opened at 99 Christchurch Road, East Sheen (S-Feb 72). Venerable Chao Khun Sobhana Dammasuddhi was the first incumbent. The King and Queen of Thailand attended, as did Bhikkhu Khantipalo (A) (CH p68)

10 Jan 67 Maurice Walshe asked John Garry to manage Biddulph. He also found Richard Randall (previously Mr Purfurst and Venerable Kapilavaddho) and asked him to return

Nov 1969 A meditation block comprising three “cells” and a shower room in the rear garden of 131 Haverstock Hill are nearly completed. In addition there is a wooden shed also used as a Kuṭi.

Biddulph Old Hall sold (S Nov 69)

4 Dec 71 “Oaken Holt Buddhist centre, Farmoor, near Oxford, opened by owner U Myat Saw: - A Buddhist Centre has been opened at Oaken Holt, Farmoor, near Oxford. The first public event, on 4th December 1971, was a lecture entitled “What Buddhism has to Offer to the West”, by V.R. Dhiravaṃsa (the former Chao Khun Sobhana Dhammasudhi) of the Vipassana Centre at Hindhead. The lecture was preceded by a religious ceremony when seven bhikkhus chanted the scriptures; there was also a Dana ceremony. Over a hundred people came for the opening day, and of these more than a half came from London and places further away.

The centre has meditation facilities for those wishing to undertake strict practice. There is also a retreat house for those who wish to spend varying periods observing Sila in a religious atmosphere and quiet country surroundings. There is a Vihara nearby, where Buddhist monks will be in residence. Those who are interested may communicate with the Secretary, The Buddhist Centre, Oaken Holt, Farmoor, near Oxford.” (MW 71/72)

“It is with great pleasure that we can now announce that Dhammapadipa (Hampstead Vihara) will shortly assume its original status as a Vihara — a place of residence of bhikkhus in the dispensation of the Buddha. Our Administrator and Meditation Master Dr Michael Clark will shortly be returning from Thailand, where he will take up residence at Wat Dhammapadipa.” (S Vol. 4 No 6 -74)

April 1979 Haverstock Hill properties were sold at auction (26th)

June 1979 The Sangha moved to Chithurst (22nd)

-- Honour Thy Fathers: A Tribute to the Venerable Kapilavaddho ... And brief History of the Development of Theravada Buddhism in the UK, by Terry Shine

The Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon, south London

Other Western or “modern” Buddhist organisations emerged in the late 20th Century and established their centres in London, some attracting attention to Buddhism for unfortunate reasons.

Tibetan Buddhism in London

By the early 21st Century, the popularity of Buddhism amongst those from both ethnically Buddhist cultures and Western practitioners had led to a proliferation of centres, temples and groups in and around London, offering access to virtually every brand, tradition, school or lineage of Buddhism, with Eastern roots or otherwise. Among this expansion, all of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism found representation. The Gelug School of the Dalai Lama is established in the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition’s (FPMT) Jamyang Centre in Lambeth; the teachings of the Sakya School are accessible through the Sakya Dechen Ling centre in Notting Hill of the British Buddhist master, Lama Jampa Thaye; the Nyingma School may be encountered at the Palyul Centre in Islington; and the Karma Kagyu School in the London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre in Lambeth.
Site Admin
Posts: 33501
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:28 pm

Mrs Pounds and Mrs Pfoundes: A Futuristic Historical Essay in Honour of Professor Ursula King
[Charles James William Pounds Pfoundes] [Excerpt]

by Brian Bocking
University College Cork



Mrs Pounds

Caroline Pounds, (née Elam) married James Baker Pounds, apothecary, in Ireland in 1836 when she was twenty. Her first child, Joseph Elam Pounds (known as Elam) was born in 1838, followed two years later by Charles James William Pounds, who in adult life changed his surname to Pfoundes. Another brother, George St Ledger Pounds, died at six months in the Autumn of 1843. Some time in the 1840s, Caroline separated from her husband James and left home, leaving the two surviving boys in their father’s care. [FN: Two newspaper court accounts differ; one says the marriage ended in 1840, the other (partly unreadable) says 18?9. 1839 was before George St Ledger was born, so probably 1849 is meant, but both may be inaccurate.] Caroline subsequently remained in Ireland, supporting herself as a governess and then as a companion and housekeeper. She died in 1898 at the age of eighty-two. By contrast first Charles (in 1854), then Elam (in 1855) and finally their father James (around 1856) emigrated to Australia. Charles’ father James and elder brother Elam made new lives for themselves in Australia, but almost immediately upon landing at Melbourne in 1854 Charles had run away to sea.

Around 1863, newly arrived in Japan, Charles changed his surname to Pfoundes, learned Japanese and developed a passion for studying Japanese customs and culture. He subsequently made a career for himself as an East-West middleman, based mainly in Japan but with a thirteen-year period (1879-1892) in London where he gave innumerable talks on Japan and other topics and in 1889 founded the ‘Buddhist Propagation Society’; the first-ever Buddhist mission to the West (Bocking et al. 2014). As far as we know Charles never met, nor indeed wanted to contact, his brother Elam or his father James after he left them in Ireland in 1854. He did however spend time, though hardly quality time, with his mother on several occasions. In 1874 Caroline travelled to Tokyo, where Pfoundes held a responsible position in a major shipping company. That visit ended, according to Caroline’s later testimony in a Dublin courtroom in 1877, with Charles forcibly taking from her all the money she had brought with her to Japan, so that she was obliged to rely on the assistance of friends to get home. Caroline was in court because Charles, who in 1877 was travelling the world prior to settling, as he planned, in London, had visited Caroline in her own home in Dublin in May 1877 when she was in her early 60s and physically assaulted her when she did not give him back some Japanese ornaments he wanted. In October he returned and threatened to attack her again if she did not give him some papers. Pfoundes only avoided jail by paying sureties to keep the peace towards his mother for 12 months (‘A Strange Case’ 1877; ‘Extraordinary case’ 1877).

With these facts in mind, it is remarkable to note that Caroline Pounds is usually regarded as one of the pioneer female artists of Australia, her reputation based entirely on a long-lost cache of botanical, bird and other paintings found in an attic in Geelong, Victoria as recently as the 1980s, some showing oriental influences. Until very recently it was thought that around 1846 (based on an inscription on one of the paintings) Caroline had accompanied her husband to Australia, where by the 1860s he had become a quite well-known coroner, and that the long-married couple had at some point visited their son Charles, an orientalist, in Japan -- this connection accounting for the ‘oriental’ elements in Caroline’s pictures. It is only with the help of recently-available digital databases offering searchable versions of books, newspapers, shipping records, gazetteers, archival materials, family trees and all manner of otherwise un-findable (because we don’t know where to look) published and unpublished data, that we have been able to build up a more reliable picture of Caroline’s life and, for example, to observe that if the lost pictures were indeed produced in 1846, the oriental influences could have little to do with Charles’ career in Japan, for he was only six years old at the time. Moreover, there is no evidence, beyond an inscription on one painting, to suggest that Caroline ever was in Australia, and in court in Ireland in 1877 she categorically denied that she had accompanied her husband there. Whether she should be regarded as a pioneering Australian woman artist is, therefore, a moot point! [FN: The current (July 29 2017) Wikipedia entry on Caroline Pounds provides an up-to-date overview of what is known, including my own research with Laurence Cox and YOSHINAGA Shin’ichi . A comparison with the much earlier (1992) Design and Art Australia Online entry on Caroline Pounds, which remains on the web at, illustrates just how much more, and more accurate, information has emerged as a result of digital search capabilities developed since 1992.]

There is much more about Caroline Pounds that is intriguing and elusive. Her own father, Joseph Elam (1782-1829) was a military officer, the errant son of a Quaker merchant of Leeds. Elam was by all accounts a negligent father of the three children (Caroline and two brothers) he had with his first wife, Anne Elam. Of Anne, virtually nothing is known – she may be the Anne Elam who died in a London workhouse in 1833, quite possibly still legally married to Joseph Elam. Her erstwhile husband was, in the late 1820s, involved in some way in a scandalous intrigue involving the two mistresses (mother and daughter Eliza Elam and Phoebe Blakeney) of a wealthy London-based Irish rake, Lord Portarlington. In 1827 Joseph Elam contracted what seems to have been a marriage of convenience with Lord Portarlingon’s senior mistress, Eliza (formerly Blakeney). Two years later, in 1829, Joseph died, and in 1833 Eliza herself passed away while on a visit to Manchester with Lord Portarlington. Portalington himself died in 1845, and in a sensational London fraud trial, which gripped the press and public at home and overseas during late 1853 and 1854, it was alleged that, while Eliza Elam had produced a child and claimed her as Lord Portarlington’s heir, the child was neither Joseph Elam’s nor Lord Portarlington’s; Eliza, it was argued, was beyond childbearing age and had bought the child from a peasant woman before convincing Lord Portarlington that the girl was his and thus deserved a £5,000 inheritance. It was the dispute over this inheritance that brought the matter into the open. [FN: The above brief summary of the case is based on multiple newspaper reports of the time from 1953-4.]

Caroline Pounds, whose mother was Elam Pounds’ estranged wife, Anne Elam, grew up in this evidently rather volatile social milieu; she was eleven years old when her father died. It is possible that she benefited from the kind of education provided for Lord Portarlington’s own privileged children and this is where she learned to draw and paint with such style, and perhaps why she had the kind of friends who could rescue her from faraway Japan in 1874, but so far it has proved impossible to fill in many more details of her life. Caroline Pounds remains an enigmatic figure, evidently well-educated, strong-willed and able for much of her life to live independently in Dublin, where in 1877 she still maintained a house and a maidservant, had sufficient resources to make a trip to distant Japan to see her estranged son, and was prepared to take him to court when he misbehaved.

Mrs Pfoundes

Rosa Alice Pfoundes (née Hill, 1856-1936) was one of the daughters of the governor of Sandwich gaol on the South coast of England. In 1878, at the age of 22, Rosa was staying in Liverpool with her recently-married sister Kate when Charles Pfoundes arrived in England to stay. Pfoundes was 38, seemingly with a good deal of money behind him and an ambition to establish himself in London society. The couple were married by the Liverpool Registrar in March 1878 and had set up house in London by the following year. Pfoundes was a regular attendee and sometimes speaker at various literary, geographical and orientalist gatherings around London and in the early 1880s the presence of Mrs Pfoundes is sometimes noted in the audience. As time went on, Charles Pfoundes, who had been able to secure only a humble clerking job at the Admiralty despite his expensive maritime experience in the Far East, enjoyed dwindling acceptance and support from the higher echelons of London society. The couple remained childless and towards the end of the 1880s a Japanese Buddhist who had come to the U.K. to study with Max Müller at Oxford reported back to his Buddhist colleagues in Japan that Pfoundes, who lived in very modest circumstances in London, albeit surrounded by thousands of books and papers, was interested in returning to Japan and that perhaps a position as an English-language teacher could be found for his wife Rosa. It is evident however that the marriage failed; in 1892 Pfoundes sailed for Japan alone (Bocking et al. 2014) and we have found no evidence of contact between Pfoundes and his wife, nor indeed mention of her, from the time of Pfoundes’ arrival in Japan in early 1893 until his death in Kobe in 1907. Back in England Rosa Pfoundes remained in London, working as a civil servant (and eventually thereby qualified to vote), living either alone or sharing accommodation with other single or married women. In 1921, presumably still working at the age of 57, she is listed in the electoral roll at an apartment in the pleasant environment of Bessborough Gardens, Pimlico. However, in November 1936, at the age of 80, she died in a hospital for the poor in Sussex and was shortly afterwards buried in a pauper’s (unmarked) grave in Hove cemetery. Even in comparison with the mother-in-law she probably never met, the independent and cultured Caroline Pounds, there is a paucity of evidence about the life, character and opinions of Rosa Alice Pfoundes which renders her (so far) virtually invisible to history.

Back in the Future

In the futuristic part of this essay, I want to suggest some ways in which emerging technologies ̶ and, perhaps more importantly, their accessibility and their manner of use ̶ might in future help us to learn and thereby understand far more than we can currently know about ‘lost’ figures in history such as Caroline Pounds and Rosa Pfoundes. Their lives – like the lives of many women in history and unlike the lives of many men – cannot readily be accessed through published texts and records of public events because they did not live public lives in the way that Caroline’s son, Rosa’s husband, did throughout his life. There were of course prominent and powerful women who were recognised as leaders in the field of religion in late 19th century London. In the late 1880s, Pfoundes vigorously denounced the ‘Buddhist’ pretensions of the Theosophical Society (to which he had once belonged), and in doing so attracted the ire of its leading figures who included Helena Blavatsky and Annie Besant. However, powerful and well-documented female figures in the public sphere are the exception rather than the rule in this period.


‘A Strange Case’ Freeman’s Journal, 3 Nov 1877, p.2.

Bocking, B., Laurence Cox & YOSHINAGA Shin’ichi (2014) “The First Buddhist Mission to the West: Charles Pfoundes and the London Buddhist mission of 1889 – 1892.” DISKUS 16 (3): 1 – 33. Online at ... view/51/44 (accessed 29 July 2017)

Bornet, P. (ed.) (2018) Translocal Lives and Religion: Connections between Asia and Europe in the Late Modern World, Sheffield: Equinox (forthcoming) ... on-bornet/

Cheshire, Tom ‘You’re being watched and you should worry.’ Sky News, accessed 29 July 2017 ... y-10962074

‘Extraordinary Case’ Irish Times, 3 Nov 1877, p.3.

Jones, L. (ed.) (2005) The Encyclopedia of Religion (Second edition). New York, Gale Macmillan.

King, U. (2005) ‘Gender and Religion: an overview’ in Lindsay Jones (ed.) The Encyclopedia of Religion (Second edition). New York, Gale Macmillan, Vol. V, pp.3296-3310.

Weeks, J. (2017) ‘”Keeping Grandpa alive”: the internet’s photographic treasure hunt’ 26 July 2017, accessed 29 July 2017 ... asure-hunt
Site Admin
Posts: 33501
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:54 pm

The hidden history of Buddhism in the West [Charles Pfoundes]
by Bhante Dhammika of Australia
June 17, 2016, 9:26 pm



Charles Pfoundes in Japanese eccleastical garb.

The establishment of a previously alien religion in a new environment is bound to be one of fits and starts, successes and dead ends, and so it has been with Buddhism in the West. Until fairly recently the beginnings of Western Buddhism was thought to be fairly clear and well-known, but recent research has shed new and unexpected light on this phenomena.

It seems certain now that the first Westerner to ordain as a monk, remain so for an extended period, and have at least some influence, was Bhikkhu Dhammaloka. His early life and given name are uncertain. He reportedly gave at least three names for himself at different times; Laurence Carroll, Laurence O'Rourke and William Colvin. Born in Dublin in the 1850s, he emigrated to the United States, worked his way across the US as a migrant labourer before finding work on a trans-Pacific liner. Leaving the ship in Japan, he made his way to Rangoon arriving in the late 1870s or early 1880s, around the time of the British annexation of Upper Burma. He became a monk sometime before 1899 and started giving public talks a year later. As with some other early Western monks in Asia Dhammaloka urged Buddhists to remain true to the faith of their fathers and not be seduced by the enticements of Christian missionaries. He told the Burmese that their religion was as coherent and as valid as Christianity, if not more so. Being Irish, Dhammaloka was also decidedly anti-British and he attacked the colonial government at every opportunity, making him something of a hero to the Burmese and an irritation to the British. Touring the country huge crowds flocked to listen to the European who lauded rather than disparages the Burmese and their religion. In 1907 Dhammaloka founded The Buddhist Tract Society which during its existence published numerous books and booklets on the Dhamma. His anti-British comments eventually led to Dhammaloka and some of his supporters being charged with sedition, found guilty and fined Rupees 1000 each. Dhammaloka’s numerous Burmese admirers had no problem raising the money to pay his and the other’s fines. Dhammaloka left Burma sometime after this and disappeared from history. He is thought to have died in 1914.

Bhikkhu Dhammaloka in the early 20th century.

More well-known successors to Dhammaloka were H. Gordon Douglas (Bhikkhu Asoka) formerly head of Mahinda College in Ceylon who ordained in February 1899 and died of cholera in Burma in April 1900; the Scotsman Allan Bennett (Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya) ordained in Burma in May 1902 and founder of the International Buddhist Association and Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland. He died in 1923; Anton Gueth (Ven. Nyanatiloka) of German who was ordained in Burma in 1904 by Ananda Metteyya and lived much of the rest of his life in Ceylon; and J. F. McKechnie (Bhikkhu Silacara) who ordained as a novice in July 1907 in Rangoon. After disrobing in 1925 he continued as editor of The British Buddhist for many years.

However, recent research has uncovered a surprising number of other Westerners who were drawn to the Buddhist monkhood before these pioneers. In the 1870s a destitute Russian became a monk in Bangkok and in 1878 an Austrian man is reported to have ordained in Bangkok. Nothing more is known about these two individuals. In June 1892 a Mr. MacMillan arrived in Ceylon from Scotland and ordained under the name Sumangala. Records from Japan show that a Dr. Norman, "a well-known Englishman" became a monk there in 1900. A Jewish man named Arnold Abraham or Abrams who had lived in the Straits Settlements in Malaya ordained in Rangoon in June 1904 and took the name Dhammawanga. M. T. de la Courneuve was ordained as a novice by Dhammaloka under the name Dhammaratanain Singapore October 2nd 1904. He was an ex-Inspector of Police, Pahang, Straits Settlements in Malaya and his father had been a Deputy Commissioner in the Burmese Civil Service. An individual named C. Roberts, a Welshman who is said to have spoken with an American accent, ordained as a novice probably in Rangoon in 1904. He disrobed in October 1904 after receiving a remittance from parents. He may have put on the robe simply because he was without money. An American sailor whose name has not been recorded ordained in Burma and in 1905 was residing in the Tavoy Monastery in Rangoon.

Others who have come to light include Frans Bergendahl (Sunno),a 20-year-old son of a wealthy Amsterdam merchant and a German Stange (Sumano) were both ordained by Nyanatiloka in 1906. Sumano died in 1910 and Sunno died in 1915. An Irishman whose lay name is unknown took the name Bhikkhu Visuddha and was involved in mass conversions of untouchable mine-workers in Marikuppam in India in 1907-8. Nothing else is known of him. A Mr. Solomon became a novice in Burma in 1907 but was disrobed shortly after for breaking rule about drinking alcohol. The German Walter Markgraf became a novice under Nyanatiloka in 1907 and disrobed half a year later. E. H. Stevenson born in the UK in 1863 ordained under the name Sasanadhajain Burma in September 1908 and is mentioned as giving lectures in Australia on a tour as a missionary for Buddhism in 1910.

As with most of these others we have only the barest information about these pioneers, mainly from incidental sources. Because of lack of information it is difficult to know why these men took, what then was such an unusual step and why they eventually disrobed. No doubt some were at a loose end or were eccentrics, others may have developed a fascination for Asian culture and wanted to experience it from the inside. Certainly all of them would have found the climate and food in the tropics challenging, and Asian Buddhist norms so different from their own, and this probably explains why so few of them lasted in the robes for long. One who did survive and indeed flourish was Captain Charles Pfoundes.

Theosophist A. P. Sinnett, author of Esoteric Buddhism

Up until recently it has been widely accepted that the British monk Ananda Metteyya’s (Allan Bennett) founded and organized the first Buddhist mission to the West in London in 1908. Recent collaborative research by historians in Japan and Ireland however has shown that this assumption needs to be revised. In fact it was not Theravadian but rather Japanese Mahayana Buddhists who were the first to try to teach Buddhism in the West. In 1889 the Japanese-sponsored Buddhist Propagation Society (BPS) of Japan launched a mission to London led for three years by the Irish-born Buddhist Captain Charles Pfoundes. The Buddhist Propagation Society had chosen a particularly opportune time to send its mission. Gilbert and Sullivan’s Japanese-themed opera The Mikado was running to record crowds in London and several exhibitions of Japanese art in London and Paris had created a fascination in things Japanese.

Charles Pfoundes was born 1840 in Waterford in Ireland in 1840 to Protestant parents who had been bankrupted during the great Famine of 1845-50. Immigrating alone to Australia in 1854 he joined the colonial navy and later captained a Siamese ship and ever after usually prefixed his name with Captain. He came into contact first in Thailand and seems to have been fascinated by it. His travels led him to Japan in 1863 where, having quickly learned Japanese he worked in shipping, as a cultural mediator, interpreter, guide and later as a newspaper columnist. He returned to Europe in 1878 via the US, married, worked at various jobs and began giving lectures on oriental subjects, mainly Japanese culture and Buddhism. On his return to Japan 10 years later without his wife he ordained as a priest in Kobe. Throughout the 1870 the Japanese government pressured monks to marry in the belief that it would weaken Buddhism and aid to modernise the country, and many monks gave into this pressure. Thus most Japanese clergy became and remain today technically priests rather than monks. Pfoundes died in Kobe in 1907 at the age of 67.

During his three year mission in London and elsewhere in the UK starting in 1888 Pfoundes’ lectures were well attended given that he was apparently an engaging and interesting speaker. A photograph of him at this time shows him in the full regalia of a Japanese prelate, accoutrements that must have increased his authority and made him appear even more interesting. Newspaper reports of the time show that Pfoundes’ two main subjects were Buddhist doctrine and criticisms of Theosophy which he dismissed as nonsense masquerading as Buddhism.

In 1883 the Theosophist A. P. Sinnett had published his book Esoteric Buddhism which became and remains even today a seminal text of Theosophy. Sinnett claimed that his book was the gist of "psychic communication" he had had with Mahatma Koot Hoomi, one of the supposed "Great White Masters in the Himalayas". It should be kept in mind that the general public at the time knew little of genuine Buddhism and Madame Blavatsky and Sinnett’s "esoteric Buddhism", actually a mish-mash of late Victorian spiritualism and occultism with a smattering of Buddhism and Hindu, was attracting a great deal of attention. In his lectures, Pfoundes made it clear that Buddhism and Theosophy had nothing in common. Notices in newspapers of the time show that Pfoundes was determined to clarify Buddhism and distinguish it from Theosophy.

Stratford, Enterprise Hall, Great Eastern Road. Sun. December 6th, at 7, Captain Pfoundes, ‘Theosophy: Its frauds and follies.’

Progressive Association, Penton Hall, 81 Pentonville Rd, Sun December 13 that 7, Captain Pfoundes, ‘Theosophy: Is it true? – An exposé of a dangerous fallacy.’

Progressive Association, Penton Hall, 81 Pentonville Rd,–January 31st, at 7, Captain Pfoundes, ‘Buddhism not Theosophy: the two critically contrasted’, preceded by vocal and instrumental music.

The grave of Charles Pfoundes in Kobe, Japan

However, on several occasions Pfoundes went beyond criticizing Theosophy to pointing out the dubious behaviour of some Theosophists, calling Madame Blavatsky a charlatan, Sinnett either delusional or a liar, and Charles Webster Leadbeater a pederast. All these claims have since been shown to have some substance to them but not at that time and Pfoundes was sued for libel. He settled out of court for 550 Pounds.

Having said all this, it is right to point out that while the early Theosophists had a scant understanding of the Buddha’s Dhamma and the "Great White Masters in the Himalayas" were non-existent, they had an important role to play in the revival of Buddhism in Ceylon and elsewhere, and energised the independence movements in various Asian countries. Their esoteric Buddhism owed almost everything to Blavatsky and Sinnett’s fanciful claims and almost nothing to the Buddha. As Colonel Olcott learned more about genuine Dhamma during his stay in Ceylon he quietly distanced himself from Madame Blavatsky and her followers.

Western monks such as Ananda Metteyya and Silacara helped give Asian Buddhists a renewed confidence in their religion while at the same time explaining it to European readers. Captain Charles Pfoundes went to the West to promote it and to help distinguish it from other forms of spirituality. Buddhists both East and West owe a debt of gratitude to them all.
Site Admin
Posts: 33501
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:43 am

Part 1 of 3

The First Buddhist Mission to the West: Charles Pfoundes and the London Buddhist mission of 1889 – 1892
by Brian Bocking, University College Cork; Laurence Cox, National University of Ireland Maynooth; and Shin‘ichi Yoshinaga, Maizuru National College of Technology
The Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions (




This article challenges two general assumptions shared by scholars of Western Buddhism: (1) that the earliest Buddhist missions to the West were those established in California from 1899 onwards; and (2) that Ananda Metteyya‘s (Allan Bennett‘s) London mission of 1908 was the first Buddhist mission to London and thus to Europe. Recent collaborative research by scholars in Ireland and Japan demonstrates instead that the Japanese-sponsored 'Buddhist Propagation Society' (BPS) launched in London in 1889 and led for three years by the Irish-born Japanese Buddhist Charles Pfoundes predates both of the above-mentioned 'first' Buddhist missions. In this article we offer a first attempt to document the nature, activities and significance of the London BPS, drawing on Japanese and UK sources to examine Pfoundes' role and that of his Japanese sponsors. We discuss the nature of Pfoundes' Buddhism, the strategy and activities of the London BPS and the reasons for its eventual demise. The conclusion examines the links between the BPS and the later 'first' Japanese Buddhist missions in California and asks what hidden connection there might be between Pfoundes' missionary campaign in London in 1889-92 and Ananda Metteyya‘s return from Burma as the 'first' Buddhist missionary to London, almost two decades later.

* * *

Early Buddhist missions to the West: the conventional history

In April 1908 the Rangoon-ordained Buddhist monk Ananda Metteyya (Allan Bennett, 1872-1923) arrived in London with a party of Burmese sponsors. Ananda Metteyya‘s very presence in the capital, as a yellow-robed, shaven-headed monk demonstrating by example that it was (just) possible for a European to follow the strict vinaya regime in Edwardian London, aroused a good deal of interest in the press and among the public. In addition to preaching by example, Ananda Metteyya -- not a gifted orator -- delivered some talks on Buddhist thought and practice and gave interviews to the press.1 Within six months he was en route back to Burma.2 This visit is commonly regarded as the epochal first Buddhist mission to Europe, and for many writers marks the 'real' beginning of Buddhism-as-a-lived-religion in the UK.3

While Ananda Metteyya‘s 1908 mission to London has long been identified as a starting-point for the story of 'Buddhism in Britain', students of Western Buddhism are by now well aware that it was not the first Buddhist mission to the West. Japanese Buddhist missions, oriented mainly towards expatriate Japanese but with active Western adherents, had developed in California from 1899 onwards4 and these West Coast missions are now considered by scholars to be the earliest Buddhist missions to the West (Tweed 2000).

In this article, we set out to demonstrate that the first London Buddhist mission was in fact established in 1889, predating even the Californian missions by a decade. From 1889 to 1892, the Irish-born Japanese Buddhist Charles J. W. Pfoundes (1840-1907) headed an official Buddhist mission known as the 'Buddhist Propagation Society'. This was based in Westminster, operated throughout London and its suburbs and was the first and indeed only foreign outpost of the Kaigai Senkyo Kai (lit. 'Overseas Propagation Society' but normally translated 'Buddhist Propagation Society'), an initiative of a group of reformist Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) Buddhists based in Kyoto.

The Buddhist Propagation Society in London and Pfoundes' role in it were of course known to, and publicised by, his Buddhist sponsors in Japan at the time5 and at least one contemporary Japanese account6 was available to Notto Thelle, who in 1987 wrote:

The Society for Communication with Western Buddhists (Obei Bukkyo Tsushinkai) was founded in 1887; it was later reorganized as the Buddhist Propagation Society (Kaigai Senkyo Kai, literally Overseas Missionary Society), under the leadership of Akamatsu Renjo. Its purpose was to propagate Buddhism in the West, through missionaries and publications. A branch office was established in London in 1890, and a journal was published, entitled Bijou of Asia [Ajia no hōshu].

…[a]nother Western Buddhist, C. Pfoundes, also supported Japanese Buddhists against Christianity. He had first come to Japan in the 1860s as an officer in the British navy and remained for about twelve years, of which he reportedly spent seven or eight years in Buddhist temples. As an admirer of the ancient Japanese civilization and of Buddhism, he had dedicated much of his time to lecturing on Buddhism in the United States (1876-1878) and in England (1878-1893). He served as secretary of the London branch of the Buddhist Propagation Society and came to Japan again in 1893 at the invitation of his Buddhist friends. In his many meetings he appealed to the national sentiment and attacked Christian missionaries for slighting Buddhism and despising Japan as a barbarian country. Both Olcott and Pfoundes left Japan after controversies with their Japanese sponsors.

Thelle deserves credit for drawing attention to Pfoundes, who had remained unnoticed by other scholars, but Thelle had only limited information, some of which has been superseded by recent discoveries. For example, Pfoundes did not leave Japan after his return from London in early 1893 but remained there, resident and working in a variety of roles in the port city of Kobe where he died in 1907 and is buried in the foreigner‘s cemetery.7 Thelle portrays Pfoundes as little more than a transient foreigner, a pale version of the exotic Theosophical 'White Buddhist' Olcott, but in fact by 1890 Pfoundes had become a fierce opponent of Theosophy. Far from being a transient visitor like Olcott, Pfoundes spent a total of 26 years of his life in Japan and in 1899 even applied for Japanese nationality (Ruxton 2008, Bocking 2013). Ironically, it is because Pfoundes did not return to London but instead died alone in Kobe that his pioneering activities on behalf of Buddhism in the West were forgotten, while Ananda Metteyya‘s brief visit almost two decades later came to be remembered, through his later colleagues in London, as the 'first' Buddhist mission to the capital.

Beyond Thelle‘s brief depiction, Pfoundes' name has been remembered elsewhere but for a quite different reason. A collection of his newspaper columns on diverse aspects of Japanese art, folklore and customs was published by The Japan Herald in Yokohama in 1875 under the title Fuso mimi bukuro or A Budget of Japanese Notes. This work, similar to and subsequently overshadowed by Basil Hall Chamberlain's Things Japanese: Being Notes on Various Subjects Connected with Japan (1890), remains widely available and is still cited occasionally in modern scholarship, for example by Hendry (1981).

With the very recent advent of digital technologies which enable searches for lost fragments of information across thousands of local newspapers, popular magazines and archive collections, many new details of Pfoundes' remarkable life have now come to light.8 In 2013, Bocking offered a first brief biography, based on some of this new evidence (Bocking 2013). That article was however concerned mainly with Pfoundes' activities between his return to Japan from London in 1893 and his death in 1907. Of the putative 'London Buddhist Mission' Bocking could say at the time only that:

[a]bout this time [the early 1890s] Pfoundes became the London representative of the modern Jodo Shinshu-backed Japanese Buddhist missionary society the Kaigai Senkyo Kai, in which role he reportedly warned the young scholar Takakusu Junjiro away from the London Theosophists and hence towards Max Muller (Akai 2009, 190); a significant Weberian moment in the history of Japanese Buddhology, if so. The other activities, if there were any, of Pfoundes' London Japanese Buddhist outpost remain undocumented; perhaps an unwritten - and very early - chapter in the history of Buddhism in the UK.

Further research since 2013 has generated a great deal of new material specifically on the BPS in London, and the present article attempts to write that 'unwritten‘ chapter, at least in outline9.

The role of Mr Okazaki Hideki, a researcher from Matsue who had become interested in Pfoundes' connections with that city, should be acknowledged here. Mr Okazaki first found (in Nakanishi, 1892) a reproduction of the decorative 2-sided leaflet in Japanese and English used by Pfoundes in London to advertise the 'Buddhist Propagation Society‘.10 With confirmation that the English name of Pfoundes' London organisation was simply the 'Buddhist Propagation Society‘ and with his name and address indicating that the BPS had more than a nominal presence in London, we began searching new sources and were able to unearth numerous fragmentary references to the BPS in newspapers and magazines of the time and to uncover the remarkable extent of Pfoundes‘ engagement in Buddhist missionary work in London.

The main sources of information on Pfoundes' London Buddhist mission are:

• Reports from London in the magazine Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo (a journal published in Kyoto which reported on Buddhism in the West for Japanese Buddhists);
• Articles by Pfoundes and announcements and reports of his lecture meetings in The Two Worlds (UK weekly spiritualist newspaper);
• Announcements in The National Reformer (weekly secularist / radical newspaper);
• Notices in Reynolds’ Weekly Newspaper, published each Sunday with news of forthcoming public talks and events across London;
• Other local London and provincial newspapers;
• Material submitted by Pfoundes in 1902-3 to the organisers of the Lewis & Clark centennial exposition planned for Portland, 1905 ('President‘s Office Correspondence').

Who was Charles Pfoundes?

In letters written after his return to Japan, Pfoundes described himself as follows:

"Captain Charles James William Pfoundes F.R.G.S., Rl. U. Service Inst., Corr. Memb. Geog. Soc. Japan, Hon. Fel. Soc. Sc. Lit. & Art, Fel. Rl. Asiatic Soc., Fel. Rl. Historical Soc., Fel. Rl. Colonial Soc., Founder, Orientalists‘ International Union of the Pacific Hemisphere, Author, Orientalist, Lecturer, Initiated to Buddhist Sects, by Executive at Chief Monasteries, Esoteric &c., &c., Author of Fu-so mimi bukuro, Contributor to Current Literature in Japan and Abroad, Europe, America, &c., Specialist in Japanese History, Religion, Art, Literature, Olden Time Customs, Life of the People, &c."

The Royal British Colonial Society of Artists (RBC)[1] was founded in 1887 as the Royal Anglo Australian Society of Artists[2] and received its royal charter under its later name in 1907.[3]

Its members were artists from Britain (notably members of the Newlyn School), South Africa, Canada, India, New Zealand and Australia.[2]

It is known to have held an exhibition at the Royal Institute Galleries in London in 1937[4] and this is believed to have been its last.[2]


1. Dale, Rodney (1997). The Wordsworth Dictionary of Abbreviations and Acronyms. Wordsworth. p. 136. ISBN 9781853263859.
2. "Royal British Colonial Society of Artists". Artist Biographies. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
3. "News in Brief: Royal British Colonial Society of Artists". The Times. 27 September 1909. p. 10. Retrieved 5 June 2016. The King has been graciously pleased to grant a charter and diploma to ... The Society, which has now been in existence 21 years ...
4. "Art Within the Empire: Characteristic examples". The Times. 8 May 1937. Retrieved 5 June 2016.

-- Royal British Colonial Society of Artists, by Wikipedia

Pfoundes' life can be divided into four fairly distinct periods: (1) early life up to age 23 when he landed in Japan; (2) his first period of residence in Japan, 1863-1876; (3) the London years, 1878-1892 and (4) return to Japan, 1893 to his death in 1907.11

Pfoundes was born Charles James William Pounds in 1840 in Waterford or Wexford, Ireland, to Irish Anglican parents bankrupted during the 1845 Famine. His father James Pounds and mother Caroline Elam separated in 1846 when Charles was 6, leaving him motherless. He emigrated alone to Australia in 1854 aged about 14 and promptly joined the colonial (Australian) navy, subsequently captaining a Siamese naval sailing ship and spending some time in China.

Pounds changed his name to 'Pfoundes', which reflects the Japanese spelling of 'Pounds'12 soon after arriving in Japan in 1863, five years before the epochal Meiji Restoration. For employment reasons he may have added some years to his age.13 He quickly became fluent in Japanese and was fascinated by Japanese customs and culture, topics that preoccupied him for the rest of his life. He also began collecting Japanese art and sculpture. Beginning as a (British) policeman in Nagasaki port, he worked in a variety of roles in different parts of Japan, finding a niche as a cultural mediator between the Japanese and foreign diplomats and as an interpreter/guide, newspaper columnist, importer and lecturer.

In 1870-71 Pfoundes accompanied some high-ranking Japanese government and business figures to Europe and America.
This was part of a wider wave of early Meijiera missions to the West, which played an important role in Japanese reflections on religion and society and relationships between Buddhism and Christianity (Hayashi et al. 2014). By the early 1870s, capitalising on his naval experience, he had been appointed to a senior (Director‘s Office) position in the embryonic native Japanese steamship industry. He lived in several parts of Japan, later listing these as ―Nagasaki 1863-4-6; Yedo (Tokyo) 1866 & 8, 71-6. Hakodate 1865 &c.; …" 14

Pfoundes left Japan in 1876, tasked with setting up an exhibition of Japanese art in America, later writing that:

I assisted in purchasing and had charge of the packing and shipping, of a very large quantity of valuable goods chiefly fabricated for Exhibition at the Philadelphia Centennial; and went with them to New York, managing their exhibition in Old Chickering Hall &c. and subsequent disposal. …15

The 'disposal' took the form of a substantial auction of 627 items16 which made Pfoundes a significant amount of money, though not enough to buy property or relieve him of the need to earn a living. By his own account Pfoundes travelled extensively in Europe during 1877-8. In March 1878 he married 22-year old Rosa Alice Hill in the Liverpool Registry Office and the newlyweds set up home in London. He secured a lowly clerical position at the Admiralty; an appropriate employer but a far lower position than he might have hoped for, given his colonial navy background and experience in the Japanese shipping industry (Bocking 2013, Cox 2013). For the next fourteen years Pfoundes worked in London as an Admiralty scribe or clerk but in his private capacity gained admission to a wide range of London‘s learned societies and made a considerable name for himself as a prolific speaker on mainly Japanese and Oriental topics and would-be organiser of various cultural projects, including a Nipon (sic) Institute or Japan Society that began promisingly in 1879 but failed to flourish.

How Captain Pfoundes became a Buddhist

Thelle says that Pfoundes 'reportedly' lived 7-8 years in Buddhist monasteries in his first period in Japan, but gives no source. This may rely on Madame Blavatsky, whose Secret Doctrine (1881) quotes Pfoundes‘ account of the Shinto creation story and asserts that "Captain C. Pfoundes studied for nearly nine years in the monasteries of Japan the religion underlying the various sects of the land. ...".17 Writing from London in 1889, Pfoundes told his potential Japanese sponsors that he had stayed in at least three monasteries ('Tozenji, Sengakuji, and Daichuji‘) in the Shiba area during his residence in Japan. However, while he may have stayed in monasteries there is no evidence that he became a Buddhist in any meaningful sense before 1875, nor indeed that he took any formal Buddhist ordination or initiation before his return to Japan in 1893.18 He did study the history of Buddhism and current religious practices during his first period in Japan, as reflected in his Japan Mail articles republished in Fuso mimi bukuro. However, there is nothing in Fuso mimi bukuro to suggest anything but the view of an attentive and curious outsider who has read up on Japanese Buddhist history and observed at first hand the day-to-day customs and practices of different classes. Pfoundes‘ approach to Buddhism in these early pieces is neutral and descriptive when talking about the past, and condescending when he refers to the condition of Buddhism amidst Japan‘s rapid modernisation. The very first item in Fuso mimi bukuro is entitled 'Superstitions‘ and includes Pfoundes‘ opinion of modern Buddhism and Buddhist priests.

A full description of the superstitions of any nation involves no easy task, and the delineation of those of such a nation as this, in such a manner as to enable the reader to realize their hold over the native mind, is more than we can expect to accomplish. In giving a sketch of some of the most common, we are only selecting exemplars from a thousand forms that are either local, temporary or of but slight consideration. An instructive and amusing essay on this subject might be written, which would throw no little light on the real depth of the religious feeling of the Japanese and of their capacity for entertaining a higher form of faith than any they now possess. There is a large class of young students growing up who sneer at anything and everything native; but the great majority still resort, as did their ancestors, to all kinds of charms, prayers, incantations, amulets &c. to bring good luck, or ward off evil. In Sintooism [sic], as we term it, there is but little room for superstition or ghost stories, so that we are thrown upon the conclusion that the Buddhist priesthood are more or less the supporters of the gross follies which, in the form of superstitions, exist among all classes in this country. (Pfoundes 1875, 1-2)

Inoue did not attempt to deny that Buddhism as it could be observed in contemporary Japan was in a degraded state and in dire need of reform. Rather, in the mode of all rhetoricians attempting to stir outrage and action, the picture he painted was exaggerated. “Present-day Buddhism is practiced among foolish laymen, it is handed down by foolish clergy, and it is full of depravities; in short it is not free of becoming a barbaric doctrine.”43 This was “nothing intrinsic to Buddhism”; Buddhism simply reflected the “corrupt customs of society.”44 Inoue’s own efforts to effect change included promoting Buddhist philanthropy and campaigning against non-Buddhist superstition, folk belief in ghosts and the supernatural.45

-- Chapter 6. Buddhist Revival and Japanese Nationalism, from "Presenting Japanese Buddhism to the West: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and the Columbian Exposition," by Judith Snodgrass

He recognises that Buddhism had suffered egregiously in the process of Japan‘s modernisation, with multiple reforms designed to disestablish Buddhism and marginalise the role of the clergy in the modern state:

'Until the last few years the priests drew large revenues from the Government and from high officials – latterly they have been thrown on their own resources and become beggars literally‘ (Pfoundes 1875, 132)

The old-fashioned institutional Japanese Buddhism that Pfoundes encountered at first hand before 1868 thus seems to have held little personal attraction for him and it is not until 1888, when he had been living in London for almost 10 years, that we find any suggestion of a personal engagement with Buddhist texts, ideas and practices. In an article headed 'Divyatchakchus: The "Infinite Perception" of Japanese Esotericism by C. Pfoundes (OMOIE)‘19 published in the first (May 1888) issue of the journal Theosophical Siftings, he argues that modern science has its role, but true wisdom does not change through the ages. It can be attained only by those few advanced truth-seekers who are prepared to look beyond the narrow confines of their own religious tradition and pursue a higher path.

… Passing through the stages of scientific teaching of modern times, we learn minor details, unknown of yore, it is true; but the great principles still remain absolutely unchanged. The merely mechanical sciences, chemistry, geology, and other branches give us details; of matter we have a little more knowledge, but of LIFE we have learned absolutely nothing, while of psychology we know less than the ancients.

Will it therefore not well repay the true sincere student to hearken to the wisdom of old? The attainment of Transcendent Intuitiveness is not utterly beyond the capability of some, though to many so high an ideal may be hopeless.

From the Amitabah [sic] (Sutra) we learn that there are five faculties of intellectual power. …

A comparison of the 1888 'Divyatchakchus' article with his writings on Buddhism over the following summer of 1889 throws some light on the stages in Pfoundes' transition over a 12-month period from his fairly conventional position during the 1880s, as peripatetic speaker on Japanese and other topics, to his self-declaration as an officially appointed Buddhist missionary in October 1889. 'Divyatchakchus' shows that Pfoundes did engage positively, if briefly, with Theosophical thought during the late 1880s and presumably knew some of the leading Theosophists in London.20 In fact during 1888 he contributed half a dozen other articles on topics including Genghis Khan and Japanese folklore to the Theosophical journal Lucifer. However, a final Lucifer letter on 'Is the Bud(d)hist an Atheist?‘ (June 1889, Vol. 4, 351), marked the end of any friendly relations with the Theosophist camp.

'Divyatchakchus‘ is markedly different in tone and content from Pfoundes' next significant publication on Buddhism for an English audience, produced a year later. 'Buddhism, What it was, and is‘ appeared in three parts between May and August 1889 in the Spiritualist periodical The Two Worlds and can be regarded as Pfoundes' Buddhist manifesto. The Two Worlds, a nationwide magazine owned and edited since 1887 by the renowned spiritualist Emma Hardinge Britten described itself as 'A Journal Devoted to Spiritualism, Occult Science, Ethics, Religion and Reform' and had a negative view of Theosophy from the outset.21 There is no evidence that Pfoundes was an active spiritualist himself, but evidently he found a sympathetic editor in Hardinge Britten22 and as we shall see he later used Spiritualist venues in London for talks on Buddhism which were advertised in TTW alongside the regular notices of spiritualist meetings.

In 'Divyatchakchus', Buddhism had been presented in characteristically Theosophical fashion as but one expression of a larger abstract and universalist conception of wisdom or enlightenment for which Buddhism provides a conduit. By contrast, the following year‘s TTW article seeks with increasing urgency to clarify those features of Buddhism which distinguish it from other traditions. In the first part, titled 'Buddhism, What it was, and is‘, Pfoundes argues that:

BUDHISM23 is not a religion in the strict sense of the word, though it is religious, and in many of the sects, so numerous, there is much admixture of religion. It is now so frequently alluded to by writers and speakers amongst spiritualistic circles to a very large extent, that some brief account of this ancient and wide-spread faith is offered to our readers.

Pfoundes then offers a brief historical account, with the proviso that what matters is the practical use to which Buddhism may be put today:

Buddhism must be considered a successful effort to restore the purity of religious thought, the freedom of human action in spiritual matters, and we are more concerned in knowing what has come down to us for our use, than in the discussion of the exact dates. (TTW 17 May 1889 p326)

He goes on to make a special appeal to the sympathy of ordinary Spiritualists, who constituted the readership of the journal and whose belief in ‗the two worlds‘ was for the most part conditioned by a Christian world-view.24

To spiritualists it will be of interest to know that much of what is now openly advocated by their leaders is BUDHISM pure and simple - temperance in diet, abstinence from stimulants and coarse food, vegetarianism, kindness, gentleness, courtesy, charity, all the Christian virtues included. (TTW 17 May 1889 p326)

The second part of Pfoundes' TTW article appeared in July, under the simple title 'Buddhism'. It was this time prefaced by an enthusiastic note from the editor of The Two Worlds positioning Pfoundes as a learned authority on Buddhism, uniquely placed to refute spurious representations of the tradition. This is evidently a reference to Theosophy‘s controversial presentation of itself as 'Esoteric Buddhism' and the TTW’s editorial comment reflects the widening rift with the growing body of Theosophists whose belief in reincarnation was particularly offensive to Spiritualists.

Of course, the teaching about the members of man's being, the doctrine of karma and reincarnation, are truths. But materialism has here been woven into all these truths. In Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism a genuinely spiritual outlook is combined with an eminently materialistic tendency — a combination that it was not easy to detect because there was scarcely anyone who could discern that something entirely materialistic had insinuated itself into a spiritual teaching — something that was materialistic not merely in the intellectual sense but materialistic as opposed to a spiritual view of the world. — I refer to what is said in Esoteric Buddhism about the “Eighth Sphere”. [note 3]

Here, then, are teachings which contain a great deal that is correct and into which this utterly materialistic and misleading statement about the Eighth Sphere has been woven. This culminates in the assertion made in Esoteric Buddhism that the Eighth Sphere is the Moon. Owing to its journalistic qualities and the good style in which it is written, the book was a tremendous draw and captivated many hearts. Consequently these readers imbibed, not the true teaching concerning the Eighth Sphere, but the strange assertion made by Sinnett that the Moon is the Eighth Sphere.

So there was Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism. The book was written at the time when Blavatsky, after all the happenings of which I have told you, had already been driven into the one-sided sphere of influence of those Indian occultists who belonged to the left and had special aims of their own. Hence teachings relating to the constitution of man and to reincarnation and karma are given in Esoteric Buddhism. It is therefore written in opposition to those who wanted the knowledge of reincarnation to be allowed to disappear. This will also show you how vehemently the conflict was being waged.

Blavatsky was connected with American spiritualists who wanted to let the teaching of reincarnation disappear. Mediumship was a means to this end and so that method was adopted.
As Blavatsky revolted, she was expelled and came more and more under the sway of the Indian occultists; she was driven into their hands. This led to a conflict between American and Indian views in the sphere of occultism. On the one side there was the strong tendency to let the teaching of reincarnation vanish from the scene, and on the other, the urge to bring this teaching into the world but in a form that took advantage of the materialistic leanings of the nineteenth century.

This was a possibility if the teaching about the Eighth Sphere was presented as Sinnett presented it in the book Esoteric Buddhism.
There are a certain number of other facts which are perhaps of sufficient importance to be at least indicated — because I do not want to shock you by what I am saying but to explain the spiritual principle upon which our own standpoint is based.

Two difficulties had arisen as a result of the way in which the teaching about the Eighth Sphere had been presented in Sinnett's book. One of the difficulties had been created by Blavatsky herself. She knew that what Sinnett had written on this subject was false [note 4] but on the other hand she was in the hands of those who desired that the false teaching should be inculcated into humanity. Therefore she tried — as you can read in The Secret Doctrineshe tried to correct in a certain way this conception of the Eighth Sphere and matters relevant to it. But she did this in such a way as to cause confusion. Hence there is a certain discrepancy between Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine. Blavatsky corrected in a way that actually reinforced the bias of the left-wing Indian occultists. She tried by very peculiar means, as we shall presently see, to let more of the truth come to light in order to overshadow the error. She was therefore obliged, in turn, to create a counterweight, for from the standpoint of the Indian occultists it would have been very dangerous to allow the truth to be revealed in this way.

She set out to create this counterweight — we shall gradually understand it — by pursuing a definite course. She came nearer to the truth about the Eighth Sphere than Sinnett had done but she created the counterweight by giving vent in The Secret Doctrine to a volley of abuse on the subjects of Judaism and Christianity, interwoven with certain teaching about the nature of Jehovah. In this way, what she had put right on the one side she tried to balance out on the other, so that too much harm should not be done to the stream of Indian occultism. She knew that such truths do not remain theory or without effect as do other theories relating to the physical plane. Theories such as those of which we are speaking penetrate into the life of soul and colour the perceptions and feelings of men; indeed they were calculated to turn souls in a certain direction. — The whole affair is an inextricable jumble of fallacies.

H. P. Blavatsky did not, of course, know that the driving forces behind both tendencies were directed towards a special aim, namely, to foster this particular kind of error instead of the truth, to foster errors of a type that would be advantageous to the materialism of the nineteenth century — errors such as could be possible only at the high tide of materialism. — There you have one side of the situation.

On the other side, Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and, in a certain respect, Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine too, had made a great impression, especially upon those who were really intent upon seeking the spiritual world. And that again naturally alarmed those who had cause to be alarmed at the possibility that an Occult Movement with such an oriental trend would appear.

Now a number of senseless polemics have been levelled against Blavatsky, against Sinnett, against the Theosophical Movement, and so forth. But among the different attacks made upon the Theosophical Movement in the course of time there have been some which emanated from well-informed but biased quarters. The tendency of Anglican spiritual life was that as little as possible of oriental teaching, as little as possible of any teaching concerning repeated Earth-lives, should be allowed to come to the knowledge of the public.

There is no doubt that among those who, from the standpoint that here lay a danger to Christianity in Europe, set themselves in opposition to the oriental teachings, were people who may be called “Christian esotericists”. Christian esotericists connected with the High Church party set themselves in opposition with this in mind. [note 5] And from that quarter came declarations calculated to stem the current of oriental thought proceeding from Blavatsky and Sinnett, but on the other hand to foster in the outside world esotericism of a kind calculated to conceal the teaching of repeated Earth-lives. To amalgamate a certain trend of thought with the form of Christianity customary in Europe — such was the aim of this group.
It desired that the teaching of repeated Earth-lives — which it was essential to make known — should be left out of account. And a method similar to that used in the case of Sinnett was put into operation.

I must emphasise once again that those who made the corresponding preparations were probably not fully aware that they were tools of the individuality who stood behind them. Just as Sinnett knew nothing of the real tendency of those who stood behind him, neither did those who were connected with the High Church party know much of what lay behind the whole affair. But they realised that what they were doing could not fail to make a great impression upon the occultists and that determined them to lend force to the trend of those who were intent upon eliminating the teaching of repeated Earth-lives.

If after these preliminary indications we turn to consider the particular fallacy contained in Sinnett's book, we find that it is the teaching that the Eighth Sphere makes itself manifest paramountly in the Moon; that the Moon with its influences and effects upon man is, in fact, the Eighth Sphere. Expressed in this form, this is a fallacy. — Here is the essential point. If in investigating the influences of the Moon we were to start from Sinnett's assumption, we should be trapped in a grave error arising from materialistic thinking and not easily fathomed. — What, then, was necessary if the truth were to be fostered? It was necessary to point out the true state of things in regard to the Moon as opposed to the erroneous presentation in Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism.

Read Chapter IV dealing with this subject in the book Occult Science: an Outline. It was my purpose there to describe how the Moon left the Earth. I attached particular importance to the fact that the exit of the Moon should be described with the utmost clarity. It was essential to indicate the truth here as opposed to the fallacy. Thus in order to counter the Indian influence it was necessary to describe in all clarity the function of the Moon in the evolution of the Earth. That was one of the things that had to be done in my book Occult Science: an Outline.

The other thing that was necessary will be clear to you if you think of the people of whom I have just spoken, people who were also under a certain leadership and who did not wish the teaching of repeated Earth-lives to be spread among men as a truth because they considered that it would alter the form of Christianity customary in Europe and America. They went to work in a particular way, a way which we can clearly discern if we picture how these occultists set about refuting Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism. The occultists who were connected with the High Church party took upon themselves the task of refuting Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine.

In point of fact a great deal of good was done in regard to Sinnett's statement about the Eighth Sphere, for the falsity of the indications about the Eighth Sphere and the Moon was emphasised very poignantly from that side. But at the same time this was combined with another teaching. It was stated from that quarter that man is not connected with the Moon in the way described by Sinnett, but in a different way. True, this different way was not specifically described, but it could be perceived that these people had realised something about the process of the Moon's departure from the Earth as I have presented it in the book Occult Science. But now they laid great stress on the following. — They said: The Earth — and above all, man — was never connected with the other planets of the solar system ... therefore man could never have lived on Mercury, Venus, Mars or Jupiter. From that side, therefore, it was sharply emphasised that there is no connection between man and the other planets of the solar system. But this is the best way to instil yet another fallacy into the world, and to spread the greatest possible obscurity over the teaching of reincarnation. The other fallacy, Sinnett's fallacy, actually furthers the teaching of reincarnation in a sense, but in a materialistic form. The fallacy which consists in the assertion that during his Earth-evolution man has never had any connection with Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and so forth — this fallacy was not actually spread abroad by those who gave it publicity, but by those who stood behind them. It was they who worked upon the souls of men in such a way that these souls could never seriously believe in reincarnation. What, therefore, was strongly emphasised from this quarter was that man had never been connected with any planet other than the Earth nor had ever had anything to do with the other planets of the solar system.

-- The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Relation to Modern Culture, by Rudolf Steiner

Hardinge Britten wrote:

We have once more the pleasure of welcoming an article by our honoured contributor, Cpt. Pfoundes, long a resident in Japan and other Eastern lands: the present paper being a brief supplement to his former treatise on the TRUTHS of original Buddhism. Capt. Pfoundes (a member of several learned societies, whose chief object is the correction of error, as well as the diffusion of knowledge) is a high authority on the real primary teachings of Buddhism, and in this day, when all sorts of vague fantastic theories and spurious doctrines are being foisted on the public under the synonyn (sic) of "Buddhism," Capt. Pfoundes' timely papers cannot be too carefully studied, or thankfully accepted by the Editor and readers of The Two Worlds.

In the first part of the article, back in May, Pfoundes had sought to find commonalities between Buddhism and Spiritualism. In the second instalment he draws the two even closer, reinforcing the main Spiritualist objection to Theosophy by stating that in Buddhism

'(t)he doctrines of transmigration and re-incarnation, were some of the mistaken ideas that true enlightenment tended to dissipate.' (TTW July 26 1889, 447)

By August 1889, when the third part of the article appeared, the title had pointedly changed to 'BUDDHISM: WHAT IT IS NOT.' Here Pfoundes is explicit in his rejection of Theosophy, but also distances himself from Christianity 'or anything else' (which, since it is diplomatically unspecified, probably includes Spiritualism). He says:

BUDDHISM is not identical with the Esoteric Buddhism, of which so much has been said and written of late, much less is Theosophy of the day Buddhism pure and simple. It is Buddhism, and that alone, that we are now dealing with, and allusion is made to Christianity, or to anything else, no more than is absolutely necessary to the elucidation of the matter in hand. The writer is neither a Buddhist, nor a Theosophist;25 certainly not a follower of the individuals now most prominent in these movements; and it may be just as well to make it clear also that he is not a hostile critic to what is true and admirable in anything put forward under these, or any other, distinctive titles. The task will be essayed, however, to present the truth, if not exhaustively as to detail, certainly not mutilated or garbled, like so much that has been put forward on these subjects. (TTW 23 Aug 1889, 494)

In closing, Pfoundes sets out his stall as someone who has Buddhist truths to impart to those who are genuinely interested and eligible. This seems to be the point at which Pfoundes, realising that he possessed a knowledge of Buddhism exceeding that of the Theosophists, first decided to make a stand for Buddhism 'pure and simple‘, perhaps even making a dig at spiritualism by distinguishing between 'the trained spiritualist' and 'mere spiritist':

… "The great Master" gathered in his hand a few withered leaves, and asked his disciples: "Are these in my hand few, and those of the forest many?"

"True, oh great teacher; the leaves in the Bhagavat's hand are few, those of the forest are innumerable," answered they.

Then said the Tathagate (sic), "My words are but as the leaves in my hand. What you have yet to learn are as the leaves of the forest."

These gleanings are but the crude ore, and the rough pebbles, bright from the inexhaustible mines, are yet to be explored. In fitting hands, the pebbles become brilliant gems; the ore precious metal wherewith to make suitable settings.

To those who seek will come knowledge; to the worthy ENLIGHTENMENT. (TTW Aug 23 1889, vol 2 n.93, p495)

In less than twelve months, then, Pfoundes had moved from publishing in Theosophical magazines through endorsing Spiritualism and finally to criticising Theosophy and distancing himself from any other tradition than Buddhism 'pure and simple'. Yet Pfoundes knew that Buddhism as actually practised in Japan or anywhere else was by no means 'pure and simple'; he identified even in his TTW articles the malign influence of both 'a theocratic class' and excessive mystification of the teachings shading into 'superstition' (TTW Aug 23 1889, vol. 2, n.93, p494). Now, as a potential apostle of Buddhism 'pure and simple', Pfoundes had to decide, like every discerning missionary, what was core and what was peripheral to the Buddhism he would propagate to a new audience and, equally, how to lend authority to the core teachings.26

The Japanese roots of Buddhist globalisation

In the history of Meiji Buddhism, the years 1885-1899 are those of "Buddhist revival", in that many Buddhist societies, journals and schools appeared, most of which were trans-sectarian and anti-Christian in their character (Yoshinaga 2009). In effect, the common enemy, Christianity, forced Buddhists to unite without regard to sectarianism. The period from 1887-1893 was distinguished by the rise of "international communication", when Japanese Buddhists came into direct contact with European or American ―Buddhists‖ or Theosophists. Numerous Theosophical articles were published in Buddhist outlets and at least three ―white‖ Buddhists or sympathisers, Henry Steel Olcott (in 1889), Lafcadio Hearn (1890) and Pfoundes (1893), came to Japan. This "globalizing" tendency was related to one of the earliest modernizing movements, the Temperance organisation Hansei kai. Hansei kai was established in Futsū Kyōkō ('Normal School'), the Western-style middle school opened by the Nishi Honganji True Pure Land sect in 1885. The Kaigai Senkyō Kai was born of this modernizing and globalizing element within Japanese Buddhism. In March 1887, Matsuyama Matsutarō, a teacher of English at the Futsū Kyōkō, and two others wrote a letter of inquiry to the Aryan Theosophical Society, USA, to ascertain the truth of a Russian newspaper article report that "Buddhism has lately been introduced into New York and Brooklyn, and its followers are increasingly in number very rapidly"27. In response to this inquiry, the Theosophist William Q. Judge wrote as follows:

"I am a Buddhist but am not of a particular sect. I was made a Buddhist by Col. H.S. Olcott, in India, under the authority of the High Priest of Ceylon, and I try in every way to spread Buddhism… The account you read in the newspaper was in part true. There is no temple in this country. But there are many Buddhists. They do not properly understand it however, because there are no teachers, and many wicked lies are told against Buddhism by Missionaries and other people. The people need that religion because their own has not succeeded in making them honest or kind to each other. They are always fighting and going to law with each other although Jesus their prophet told them not to do so, but to love one another, and although they are not very happy, because the illusions of life make them slaves of the senses. So do tell your young men not to desert the law of Buddha for this religion but to try to spread Buddhism again over the face of the world."28

Through the network of the Theosophical Society, Matsuyama‘s letter evoked responses from America, Europe, Australia, and India. The number of letters from abroad reaching Matsuyama was large enough to encourage him and some of the staff of his school to organize a new group called Ōbei Tsūshin Kai (Society for Corresponding with Americans and Europeans ) to deal with those letters, many of which asked for some guidance on Buddhism. Matsuyama contributed a series of articles from the first issue onwards of the group‘s magazine Hansei Kai Zasshi. The Ōbei Tsūshin Kai seems to have been run on its members‘ own money. On Aug 11, 1888, they enlarged their small group into the Kaigai Senkyō Kai. Though its founding members - Matsuyama Matsutaro, Dōtsu Kojiro (editor-in-chief), Hino Gien (secretary) and others - were all from Futsū Kyoko, it proclaimed itself to be a nonsectarian organization. Its aim was "to propagate Japanese Buddhism abroad"29, not just the teachings of the Jodo Shin sect. Akamatsu Renjō, a high priest of Nishi Honganji, was the society‘s first president but his role seems to have been little more than nominal as he did not contribute an article to their organ, Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo which reported on the state of Buddhism overseas.

The first issue of the association‘s English/French language magazine The Bijou of Asia was distributed in 1888 to 270 locations in America, Britain, India, Siam30 and France31. The parallel Japanese-language journal, Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo, had started in December 1888, its first issue reprinted at least three times. The early issues of Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo contained articles and letters by Buddhists and sympathisers in America, Europe, Australia and Southern Asia such as Philangi Dasa (Carl Herman Vetterling), Francesca Arundale, Charles Johnston, Laura C. Holloway, Josephine W. Cables, Elliot B. Page, Edward Wolleb, Alexander Russell Webb, Dharmapala, and so on. Over the life of the journal Philangi Dasa was the most prolific contributor; second was Charles Pfoundes.

The founders of the Kaigai Senkyo Kai were inexperienced in missionary work. "As to the propagation of our faith, we think, it would be best for us to make our friends in Europe and America, and this could be performed by correspondence and the publication of tracts and books regarding our religion"32. Sometime in the summer of 1889, Matsuyama and his colleagues received an interesting proposal from Pfoundes in London and a sample of his articles on Buddhism. The Kaigai Senkyo Kai, it seemed, had a Japanese-speaking British missionary ready and willing to set to work propagating Buddhism in London.
Site Admin
Posts: 33501
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:43 am

Part 2 of 3

The London Buddhist mission is born

For Pfoundes, a solution to the twin problems of what constituted 'Buddhism Pure and Simple' and how to lend authority to a non-Theosophical version of Buddhism providentially appeared in the form of the reformist Buddhist Propagation Society. Bijou of Asia's 1888 appearance was noted in both the Japanese and English press33 and welcomed, initially at least, by Theosophists. The Theosophical magazine Lucifer in March 1889 had:

… great pleasure in recommending to such of our readers as are interested in Buddhism, the Bijou of Asia, particulars of which we give below. It is an encouraging sign for the future of Buddhism in Japan that it already possesses an organ of its own in English.—[Ed.]

Lucifer went on to provide readers with subscription and contact details for Bijou of Asia. Pfoundes may already have known of the founding of the BPS in Japan or himself submitted the notice to Lucifer, in which he had published half a dozen articles during 1888.34 At any rate, news of the BPS and Bijou of Asia came at just the right time to remedy his growing despair over the existing channels of communication and quality of information available for Londoners interested in Buddhism, of whom there were many.35 He was particularly concerned about the misrepresentation of Buddhism by leading Theosophists.

This growing discontent is reflected in his three-part TTW article, published over the ensuing summer of 1889. The timing is significant: Pfoundes' frustration with Theosophy‘s distortion of Buddhist teachings coincided with the launch in Japan of the BPS which, since it had no overseas agents of its own, in turn suggested the possibility that he might become its official London representative. Pfoundes seized the initiative and during the summer of 1889 wrote to Matsuyama introducing himself36 and enclosing copies of his TTW pieces on Buddhism37 in time to receive a reply by October 4th, when he wrote to Matsuyama thanking him for sending books and confirming that he wished to be the representative of the Kaigai Senkyō Kai. This letter, subsequently published in KBJ, also asked for guidance:

"I would like to start missionary work immediately, but it would be more convenient to act with the right to be the representative of your society than to do the work privately by myself. If you would give me the right to be your representative, I will immediately set up the British branch of your society here. And I will give a lecture on the prospects and the teachings you approve. If you agree with this, would you please let me know what task you think is appropriate for me."38

This letter suggests that the Japanese side had not specified the nature of any missionary work, in keeping with Matsuyama‘s comments above. There seems to have been no plan for placing missionaries overseas and this was understandable, considering how little of Japanese Buddhism was known to the West. Before Pfoundes made himself known, the idea of setting up an organized missionary society in London run by a British person must have seemed inconceivable. The London mission was 'immediately set up', as we shall see. On Saturday October 12th 188939 Pfoundes wrote to TTW to announce his new missionary role - evidently omitting, in his excitement, to provide his address:

Saturday. Dear Editor,-You will, I am sure, be pleased to hear that I have received letters from abroad where I sent copies of your paper with my articles. The Buddhists are very much pleased with my views, and like your paper; indeed, the leaders of the Buddhist revival have made very complimentary remarks, and express surprise that a foreigner has grasped the native ideas so like what they appreciate. I am desired to stand forward as a representative of Eastern (extreme Oriental) Buddhism, and to actively proceed with the propaganda. The societies of Buddhists' priests, &c., also cordially approve, so I shall take the platform as an exponent of "Pure Buddhism, the doctrine of enlightenment," and will be glad to hear from societies wishing a lecture, or individuals anxious to enquire. Buddhism has so much in common with spiritualism on the higher planes of thought, that I feel I am doing both causes good by bringing them together.

I am, truly yours, C. PFOUNDES.

[NOTE BY EDITOR.-Capt. Pfoundes, to make his offer available to societies, should send his address. Some societies, at least, might be glad of the opportunity to place a highly intelligent and travelled gentleman on their platform, if they knew where to address him.]

By the time he launched the London branch of the BPS in October 1889, Charles Pfoundes had acquired a wealth of experience and skills useful to his new role as the first Buddhist missionary to London. He had lived in Japan for more than a decade and was fluent in Japanese. Due to his undoubted intellectual curiosity and passion for Japanese culture he possessed a deep fund of knowledge about Japan, its religions, history, art and customs. He had extensive experience as a cultural mediator; the 1870-71 delegation‘s exploration of how Japan should relate to the West was paralleled by his more mundane work as a Western maritime specialist in the modernising Thai navy and the developing Japanese merchant fleet. He had written for very different publishers and audiences40 and was a seasoned public speaker, well used to lecturing either at the invitation of artistic, spiritualist, progressive, freethinking, mercantile or orientalist etc. organisations, or through planning and advertising his own lectures at one of the many public meeting halls around London which could be hired for the purpose.

If not exactly famous, Pfoundes had certainly proved himself capable of holding the attention of fairly large London audiences on a great variety of topics. While he did not completely abandon his wider role as lecturer on Japanese culture and other topics after the launch of the London BPS in October 1889, he focused his skills and energies on the propagation of Buddhism, increasingly from March 1891 onwards in the form of a criticism of Theosophy.

Visiting Pfoundes in April 1890, by which time he had been settled in London for twelve years and the BPS had been in operation for six months, the young Japanese Buddhist scholar Kobayashi [=Takakusu] Junjiro offers, in a letter published in KBJ 11 (June 1890), a rare glimpse into the home life and daily habits of the Kaigai Senkyo Kai’s sole representative in London. Takakusu reports that Pfoundes is about 50 years old and his wife 30 years and more41 and that Pfoundes is not a man of property and lives only with his wife; meaning presumably in rented accommodation with no children, servants or lodgers. Takakusu is impressed that Pfoundes not only can speak Japanese fluently and use French, Dutch and German but has in his home around 3,000 books in Japanese and more than a decade‘s worth of his own lectures.42 Relying no doubt on conversations with Pfoundes, Takakusu reports that Pfoundes is a respected authority on Japan and had attended the opening ceremony of the School of Oriental languages.43

Although Pfoundes tells Takakusu that he does not criticise Theosophy, London sources show that Pfoundes was already well known as an energetic and hostile critic of Theosophy and its leading representatives. On the vexed issue of Theosophy‘s relationship with Buddhism, Takakusu reveals that Blavatsky herself has written to Pfoundes, arguing that her thought is not Buddhism but 'esoteric Buddhism', while Pfoundes takes the different view that 'Theosophy is Theosophy, Buddhism is Buddhism' (ibid. p26). The relationship between Theosophy and Buddhism was also a live issue for the nascent Kaigai Senkyo Kai in Japan. While in the second issue of Bijou of Asia (November 1888) Matsuyama had strongly advocated setting up a Theosophical Society in Japan to foster Buddhist unity44, Pfoundes wrote to Matsuyama on 25 October 1889 advising that Buddhism should dissociate from Theosophy, adding that he himself wished to come to Japan where he could - unlike Olcott - lecture without a Japanese interpreter and promote the cause of Buddhist unity (KBJ No.8, 1890, p.25).

Pfoundes‘ effort to convince his sponsors in Japan to reject any association between Buddhism and Theosophy was an attempt to influence the (Kyoto) centre from the (London) periphery. It shows that while Pfoundes was in one sense 'merely‘ the agent of the BPS in the capital he had an agenda of his own, arising from the specific circumstances of the mission field of 1890s London, namely to counter the influence of 'the Theosophic boom', as he described it in 189145. Moreover, while Pfoundes was in formal terms only the 'secretary' or 'organising agent' of a branch office of the Japanese Kaigai Senkyō Kai, the founders of the Senkyō Kai had no experience of running foreign missions. In London, a vast, sophisticated city and the hub of a global empire, the BPS was in practice largely Pfoundes' own creation – and evidently funded by his own efforts, no doubt largely through the voluntary collections which were a normal feature of public meetings. More than once, while requesting books or materials only available in Japan, Pfoundes reminds his Japanese sponsors that he does not ask for any funds.46

The world of the Buddhist Propagation Society

The London BPS leaflet has survived in at least two versions.

Fig 1 below, reproduced in Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo, shows the more decorative version, printed to Pfoundes' specification, the text surrounded by juzu rosary beads with the Buddhist swastika symbol at the top.47 It can be dated to late 1889 or early 1890. Both versions of the leaflet which have survived give Pfoundes' home address of 7, Artillery Buildings, Victoria Street, Westminster as the'Bureau‘ of the BPS. Two years later, in November 1891, Pfoundes would issue a public invitation to anyone interested in his ideas to invite him to speak on the subject, giving as his address 29 Doughty Street. This was the address of 'The Fellowship of the New Life‘, a radical communitarian group with which Pfoundes was temporarily associated, probably after separating from his wife. The BPS therefore had an address, but no headquarters building beyond Pfoundes' home. For the most part the Buddhist Propagation Society, in the person of Pfoundes, engaged face-to-face with its intended audience through public lectures, followed by discussion, at well-known public venues around London. An (upmarket) example of such venues was the 'Zephyr Hall' in Kensington, West London, advertised in The Morning Post of 2 May 1888 as follows:

ZEPHYR HALL, 9, Bedford Gardens, Kensington, W., is a fashionable Private Assembly Room, to LET, with every convenience for Concerts, Balls, Bazaars, Exhibitions, Clubs, Religious Services, &c. Terms on application.

We have so far traced at least 26 venues throughout the capital used by Pfoundes, often on multiple occasions, for lectures delivered during his time as BPS missionary. Many of the engagements we have been able to trace took place in Spiritualist meeting halls, reflecting Pfoundes' continuing engagement with a Spiritualist audience. Others were on the freethinking (atheist) circuit, such as branches of the National Secular Society (NSS) and the South Place Ethical Society. Pfoundes also mentions Socialist audiences and by this period such an audience certainly existed; we have not yet however found the relevant listings comparable to the National Reformer’s for freethought and TTW for spiritualism. In some cases the venues appear to have been 'neutral' spaces available to anyone who wished to hire them for any kind of political, religious, artistic etc. meeting. Each venue would have attracted a different clientele48 and Pfoundes' comments show his awareness of this in seeking to build an audience for Buddhism:49 "Spiritualists, socialists, free thinkers, and secularists respect me. Even some Christians agree with me." (Letter to Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo 18 November 1889; elsewhere he added Unitarians to the list).

Fig 1. Bilingual leaflet of the Buddhist Propagation Society, London, produced in Kyoto about December 1889 and used by Pfoundes from 1890. Photo from KBJ courtesy of Prof Nakanishi Naoki


B. P. S.

This Society has been established for the purpose of propagating Buddhism.

For carrying out this primary purpose, the Society takes the following work on itself: --

1. To establish Buddhist missionary work in foreign lands.

2. To publish Buddhistic books, tracts, and journals; and to translate the S__ and S__.

3. To correspond with foreign Buddhists, and all those who are interested in Buddhism; and to answer questions.

This Society does not desire to spread any special form of Buddhism, but to proclaim the great truths to the whole world.

Address ---

Honorary (Local) Secretary,
Organising Agent,
Authored Lecturer,
Care of Lecture Bureau
7, Artillery Buildings
Victoria Street,
London, S.W.

The culture of public talks was extremely widespread in the London of this day, part of a very broad process of popular self-organisation, social movements and self-education (Thompson 1968, Rose 2001; see Cox 2010). On October 27 1889, the National Reformer listed eight branches of the NSS, nine ―open-air propaganda‖ (this was the end of the open-air season) and eleven lectures. In June 1890, at the height of the outdoor season, it listed 17 outdoors events (not all NSS ones). This wide range of entertainment, education or debate was paralleled by the relatively tight organisations of spiritualists, socialists and other religious and political groups, but also by a looser world which we would today think of in terms of adult or popular education.

Shipley (1971) has examined the related world of working men‘s clubs in this period, characterised by wide reading and a culture where polemic and debate were art forms as well as participatory entertainment. Secularism and socialism were popular here: the atheist Charles Bradlaugh was elected vice-president of the national Club and Institute Union in the 1880s (Taylor 1972: 47), with a turn to socialism developing during this decade and mass working-class audiences: the NSS' central venue, the Hall of Science, had roughly 1000 members in the 1870s, while the Hackney Secular Association had 800 (Shipley 1971: 37-8). Spiritualism too was not restricted to the middle classes but had a broad working-class attraction (Barrow 1986).

Further up the social ladder, Gandhi (2006) has noted

"For those whose heterodoxy manifested itself expressly against mainstream Christianity, Theosophy and its contiguous offshoots offered a spiritual alternative in eastern religions, one that demanded a corresponding disavowal of the claims of "modern" western civilization. It was this tendency that brought the movement and its largely middle-class adherents into intimate commerce with parallel, secular, avant-garde critiques of western civilization, exemplified in the linked projects of dress and sexual reform, and homosexual exceptionalism; dietary politics, anti-vivisectionism, and vegetarianism and aestheticism, or the repudiation of bourgeois materialism and philistinism in the form of class or colonial avarice." (2006: 122).

Along with these and other social movements (most obviously the "New Unions" from the 1880s, left organisations such as the Social Democratic Federation and the Fabian Society, and organisations geared towards exile politics), London at this period also included a vast range of public talks of a more familiar kind. Pfoundes, with his substantial experience of lecturing and public speaking, had much to offer. The BPS 'propagandist' could address some important concerns for many of the thoughtful, often self-taught people who were seeking to make sense of the world in this context: how to think about religion in a changing age – in particular, how to be ethical without fear of divine retribution; how to understand the relationship between western culture and the sophisticated Asian cultures then being colonised; and how other ways of living might be possible.

What did the Buddhist Propagation Society propagate?

On 14 October 1889, just after launching himself as an apostle of 'Buddhism pure and simple', Pfoundes wrote to Matsuyama that he had been lecturing recently on the differences between Buddhism and Theosophy because Theosophy was becoming unpopular. The title of a lecture he was about to deliver shows that the 'hook' used to attract his audiences in the weeks just before the London BPS was launched was the promise of a critique of Theosophy.50 In the very same issue (Friday 18th October) of TTW in which Pfoundes announced his appointment as BPS representative, TTW gave notice of a Sunday lecture two days later:

"The Occult Society, Carlyle Hall, Church Street, Edgware Road.- Oct. 20th, at 7 p.m., Capt. Pfoundes will lecture on ―Theosophy: its follies and fallacies." (TTW 1889-10-18 p.596).

The same lecture had been given on the previous Sunday 13th at the Spiritualist hall at King‘s Cross. (TTW 1889-10-11 p.ii).

The next Pfoundes lecture advertised in TTW reflects a change in approach, following his appointment to head the BPS. There is no reference to Theosophy in the title; the talk is entitled simply 'Buddhism‘. This lecture, delivered in the Beaumont Rooms, Mile End Road51 at 7pm on Sunday November 10, 1889, may be considered the very first public talk given in London – or for that matter the west - by a Buddhist missionary.

The emphasis on 'Buddhism pure and simple' was continued in a subsequent lecture delivered on the following Sunday evening:

Progressive Association, Penton Hall, 81 Pentonville Road. - November 17, at 8, Captain Pfoundes, F.R.G.S., "Buddhism: the doctrine of enlightenment". (NR 1889-11-17 p. 318)

By the following weekend Pfoundes‘ restraint in regard to Theosophy appears already to have weakened, for TTW announced two successive Sunday evening lectures in

LONDON (Notting Hill Gate, Zephyr Hall): …Nov. 24,Captain Pfoundes, on "Theosophy-the truth about it" and Dec. 1st, "Buddhism-what it is and is not;" ….

Back in the East End on December 8th, Pfoundes delivered another 'Buddhism pure and simple' lecture on behalf of the BPS. The TTW reported favourably as follows:

LONDON. Mile End. Assembly Rooms, Beaumont Street. Capt. Pfoundes lectured upon "Buddhism-the doctrine of enlightenment." A most interesting lecture. He showed that Buddhism was a direct appeal to common sense, disclaiming all inspiration from a personal God. There were many points upon which Spiritualism and Buddhism were in perfect agreement - both teaching that it was impossible to escape from the consequences of any act, good or evil. Buddhists refused to dogmatize upon any subject whatever, recognizing liberty and respect of opinion as a fundamental principle of their ethical system. -a TTW reporter. (TTW 1889-12-18 p.53)

As this sample of lectures and discussions offered between October and December 1889 indicates, Pfoundes usually lectured weekly, typically on Sunday evenings, at a variety of locations. He seems to have kept up this rate steadily until January 1892, a period of over two years, while also speaking from the floor at other events and distributing (or at least requesting hundreds of copies of) Bijou of Asia. While audiences were known to fluctuate according to speakers, it seems that Pfoundes was a reasonable draw and he was often invited back. He wrote to KBJ "Every Sunday I give a lecture. The audience is sometimes over hundreds [more than 100] in number. Respectable citizens, scholars, workers with culture."52 Even allowing for some exaggeration and a fair number of repeat listeners, the BPS must have succeeded in reaching thousands of people in this way. His talks lasted for an hour and were followed by questions and answers which could run to two further hours (undated letter reprinted in KBJ, 27 May 1890, p. 32).

On 12 November 1889, a month after his appointment as BPS representative, Pfoundes wrote to Matsuyama that he had already lectured in the following venues:

Zephyr Hall, Kensington; … Sydney Hall, Wandsworth Road; … Spiritualist Hall, Kings Cross Road; … Beaumont Hall, Mile End Road; … Carlyle Hall, Edgware Road; … Progress Hall, Islington53

TTW announcements or reports offer more detail on the lectures given at all but the last, the Progressive Hall, which was a Secularist rather than Spiritualist venue. In December 1889 Pfoundes again delivered Sunday evening lectures at the Zephyr and Beaumont halls, and at the Winchester Hall, Peckham High Street. On Sunday 22 December the TWW was disappointed that Pfoundes had failed to turn up at the King‘s Cross Spiritualist hall but reported that '[ i]n his absence Dr. [Bowles] Daly54 gave an interesting sketch of Buddhism‘.

Pfoundes‘ lecturing campaign continued in the new year, with a run of Sunday evening talks at NSS venues. On January 5th 1890 the National Reformer advertised at the "Woolwich branch of the N.S.S. 'Sussex Arms‘ Assembly Rooms, 60 Plumstead Road. – … at 7.30, Captain C. Pfoundes, 'The gospel of Buddhism‘.", On 19th January at 7.30 Pfoundes addressed the "North-West London Branch of the N.S.S., Milton Hall, Hawley Crescent, Kentish Town Road" on 'Buddhism'. On 26th at the "Battersea Branch of the N.S.S., 'The Shed of Truth,' Prince of Wales‘ Road, the speaker at 7.15 was Captain Pfoundes, 'Buddhism'.

About this time, Pfoundes wrote to Matsuyama describing a typical London BPS lecture as consisting of 1) the purpose of the B.P.S., 2) the difference between Buddhism and Christianity, 3) the ancient religions of Persia, India, China etc, and the going eastward of Buddhism, 4) the application of Buddhist truth to everyday lives, 5) purity of its morals and 6) the merits to all people. 55

Pfoundes probably lectured during February 1890 but we have no record of his engagements. On March 9th at the "Progressive Association, Penton Hall, 81 Pentonville Road" at 7pm, Mrs. Frederika Macdonald (a gifted writer, intellectual and exponent of Indian philosophy who three years later publicly debated Theosophy vs Buddhism with Annie Besant and then donated her share of the evening‘s takings to a poor children‘s charity)56 spoke on 'Buddhism'. Since Sunday evening at the Penton Hall was one of Pfoundes' regular slots, MacDonald may have been that rara avis, a close ally of Pfoundes and a Buddhist co-propagandist.57 On Sunday 16th March the "Ball‘s Pond Branch of the N.S.S. Secular Hall 36 Newington Green Road" heard a lecture on "Buddhism or enlightenment: its gospel and doctrines". The speaker on this occasion was identified only as "the Representative of the Propaganda‖, so could have been either Pfoundes or MacDonald. On 23 Pfoundes returned to the Beaumont Rooms, Mile End Road to expatiate on 'Theosophy; its facts, fallacies, and false pretences'.58

In late April Reynolds’ Newspaper gave notice of a lecture on 27th at the "Buddhist Propagation Society Hall, Newington-Green Road, 7.30". This might suggest the BPS had taken the significant step of investing in its own property, but an announcement for the same lecture in the NR makes clear this was really the ―Ball‘s Pond Branch of the N.S.S. at the Secular Hall, 36 Newington Green Road.‖ The speaker is described as 'An Orientalist', and the topic "Theosophy of the day: its autopsy and obsequies". Takakusu Junjiro, who was staying with the Pfoundes' during that month, confirms in a letter to the BPS in Japan that three Theosophists verbally attacked Pfoundes after the lecture, but by 11pm he had won the argument. Takakusu also reported that Pfoundes was booked up until late June. 59 The frequency of engagements and level of repeat bookings again indicate that Pfoundes was in considerable demand as a lecturer.

On May 11th, according to the NR, at the East London Branch of the N.S.S., Swaby‘s Coffee House, 103 Mile End Road, Capt. Pfoundes, F.R.G.S., was due to speak on 'Philosophic Buddhism‘." On May 25th at the "West Ham Branch of the N.S.S., West Ham Secular Hall, 121 Broadway, Plaistow," Pfoundes spoke on 'The ethics of Buddhism‘ and back in the Beaumont Assembly Rooms, Mile End Road on Sunday June 1st 'Captain Pfoundes. Member Rl. U. Service Inst., Corr. Memb. Geogr. Soc. Japan, Hon. Fel. Soc. Sc. Lit. & Art., London, Representitive [sic] of Bud(d)hist Propagation Society, etc., etc.‘ spoke on 'Ancient & modern centres of spiritual activity. Admission was free, and 'Courteous discussion invited‘ (see Fig 2 below).

On June 15, in an unusual departure from his usual London lecture circuit, Pfoundes gave three lectures in a single Sunday in the Northern industrial town of Sheffield, presumably at the invitation of the local NSS. The advertisement read:

Sheffield: HALL of science, to-morrow (SUNDAY). LECTURES by CAPTAIN PFOUNDES, F.R.G.S., Mem. Rl.U. S. Inst., Cor. Mem. Geogr. Soc. Japan, Fel. Soc. Lit and Art, Lond., etc., etc. Subjects: At 11, "The Science of Religious Philosophies and Ethics"; at 3, "Theosophy : Its Follies, Fallacies, and False Pretences"; at 7, "Bud(d)hism: What it Was, Is, and Is Not." Admission: Front Seats, 6d. (tickets for all the lectures 1s.) Back Seats, 3d.60

Fig 2. Flyer for Pfoundes‘ lecture on 1 June 1890. Reproduced by kind permission of the Oregon Historical Society (President‘s office correspondence. Mss 1609, Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition Records. © Oregon Historical Society Research Library).

Beaumont Assembly Rooms,
On Sunday, 1st June,
at 8 P.M.
Member R1. U. Service Inst., Corr. Memb. Geogr. Soc. Japan., Hon. Fel. Soc. Sc. Lit. & Art, Lond., Representitive of Buddhist Propagation Society, etc., etc.

Pfoundes' missionary work in the capital resumed in September with lectures followed by discussion. Throughout the autumn of 1890 and the winter and early spring of 1891 talks were delivered, almost invariably on Sunday evenings, at the venues mentioned above and others throughout London. On October 5th Pfoundes spoke on 'Bud(d)hist Ethics‘ at the Penton Hall (below).

Fig 3. Flyer for Pfoundes‘ lecture on October 5 1890 at the Penton Hall. Reproduced by kind permission of the Oregon Historical Society (President‘s office correspondence. Mss 1609, Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition Records. © Oregon Historical Society Research Library).

A Society for Ethical Culture,
Memb. R.U.S. Ins.; Cor. Mem. Geo. Soc. Japan; Hony. Fell. Soc. Sc. Lit. and Art; etc., on
Questions after Lecture, invited.
The Committee earnestly invite those who are in sympathy with the Ethical Movement to become Members. Minimum Subscription is per annum.
Admission Free. A Collection to defray Expenses.
Hon. Secretaries: George Margerison, 4, Titchfield Terrace, N.W.; Walter Wilde, 41 Canonbury Road, N.

On occasion there was visual spectacle; in January 11th 1891 the audience at the NSS 'Secular Hall‘ near Battersea Park station looked forward to:

'Captain Pfoundes (accompanied by a Buddhist Priest in his robes), a Buddhist sermon.‘61

As well as announcements of talks, we find occasional brief reports of BPS meetings, such as this for a lecture delivered the following Sunday, January 18th 1891:

LONDON. King's Cross. 182, Caledonian Road. Evening: Capt. Pfoundes gave a Buddhist sermon. There were many noteworthy points, but space does not permit as full a report as the subject and the lecturer deserve. The following precepts, known in Buddhism as "The Five Steps," must serve as a sample: "Respect for Life," "Honesty-the protection of property," "Truthfulness," "Chastity-equal purity being required of both sexes," "Temperance - total abstinence from intoxicants and injurious drugs."

For reasons unclear, Pfoundes‘ lectures on Buddhism in 1891 were suspended, after a March 18th 'Buddhist Sermon by the Propagandist‘ at the Woolwich branch of the NSS, in favour of lectures from April to the end of June devoted to India, with titles such as 'India‘s Rights and England‘s Duty' or, on June 7th, at a newly established Marylebone Spiritualist venue, a lecture on "India, 'tracing its development from 1499 under the East India Company to the present time, its invaluable literature, the population, and their rights Spiritually'."62

In August, Lloyds Weekly Newspaper, in its report on a meeting of the Bread and Food Reform League63, singled out Pfoundes‘ contribution for special mention:

BREAD AND FOOD REFORM. The closing meeting of the Reform League took place on Friday night, at the Memorial Hall, and during the three days the meetings have been largely and influentially attended. There were 34 stalls, presided over by various ladies and among the promoters were Lady Mount-Temple, Sir Spencer Wells, Mr. J.R. Diggle, and a number of medical gentlemen. Various addresses were given, among them one by Captain Pfoundes on "Food in Many Lands." In the course of his remarks he said that as the chairman had introduced him as one who had travelled in many lands, he would just say that in contrasting the people who lived on carnivorous food with those who were restricted to vegetarian diet he could testify to the amount of the physical and intellectual activity of the latter. The colonists of Australia were largely a meat-eating people, but they were not superior in endurance to some of the Oriental peoples who abhorred flesh, and among whom he would mention certain of the Chinese, Indians, and Arabs. He concluded by recommending his hearers to consider the question of food reform and cooking.64

From late September to December of 1891, there is no mention of Buddhism in the titles that have come down to us of Pfoundes‘ lectures; all are badged as criticisms of Theosophy, as discussed further below. However, we may safely assume that one of Pfoundes‘ key arguments was that Theosophy was not authentic Buddhism. After a short break in January 1892, allegedly due to a health breakdown, Pfoundes once again referred to Buddhism in the title of a lecture (this time with music) hosted by the Progressive Association at Penton Hall, one of his regular BPS venues:

January 31, at 7, Captain Pfoundes, 'Bud(d)hism not theosophy: critically contrasted‘; preceded by vocal and instrumental music."

This is the last record we have of a ‗missionary‘ lecture by Pfoundes on Buddhism. A few days later he gave a general lecture on life and customs in East Asia, no doubt similar to dozens he had delivered to audiences of all kinds between his arrival in London in 1878 and the launch of the London BPS in 1889:

Recreative Evening. –One of the numerous interesting lectures organised by the Recreative Evening School association was delivered on Tuesday evening at Mowlem schools, Bishops-road, Hackney. Captain Pfoundes gave some of his experiences of China and Japan, the lecture being illustrated with dissolving views. It was said to be a mistake to suppose Orientals illiterate – on the contrary, there is a very high ideal of intellectual life; and practical ethical standards that would do credit to the highest type of society are closely followed by a large percentage of the people.65

After this, we have no record of any public lecture by Pfoundes until September 1892, when he presented a paper on 'Buddhism in Japan' at the prestigious Oriental Congress held at London University.66 True to form, Pfoundes displayed his detailed knowledge of East Asian Buddhism partly in order to show that:

'[a]nyone who studied the teachings of the Esoteric school would see the gross mistakes made by people who called themselves Esoteric Buddhists, and professed the hotch-potch misnamed Theosophy.'67

How did the BPS propagate Buddhism?

The name of Pfoundes' mission, the 'Buddhist Propagation Society‘, was derived directly from the senkyo in Kaigai Senkyo Kai and highlights the importance of the idea of 'propagation‘ (or sometimes 'propaganda', then a term without negative connotations) as a key religious activity.68 While Western audiences today generally expect Buddhist teachers to convey teachings derived from Buddhist scriptures and to provide authoritative instruction in meditational techniques, Buddhist ethics and ritual deportment with, perhaps, some emphasis on social engagement, Pfoundes' immediate aim, like that of his Japanese sponsors, was to propagate Buddhism; to multiply its influence. The BPS leaflet identifies three ways in which the Society intended to bring this about: (1) to establish Buddhist missionary work in foreign lands, (2) to publish books, tracts and journals and to translate the scriptures and (3) to correspond and answer questions from foreign Buddhists and those interested in Buddhism. Like U Dhammaloka, who around 1904 from his Japanese-inspired 'English Buddhist Mission‘ in Singapore planned to send newly-ordained Western monks to multiply his impact in various parts of Asia (Bocking 2010), Pfoundes hoped to ignite sufficient zeal for propagating Buddhism among his hearers in London that some would become, like him, propagandists in foreign parts.69 Shortly after starting the BPS in October 1889, he wrote to Matsuyama in Japan:

"I am instructing some young men. They will go to Europe and America to teach Buddhism. And I will send them to China, Siam, Burma, Ceylon, India to do missionary work." (KBJ no.7, 25 Feb 1890. p.29)

From a historical perspective, this "propagandist" approach to Buddhism in fact aligns it more closely with an international movement like freethought, whose basic activity consisted in publications and talks. Spiritualism and socialism, the other movements Pfoundes piggy-backed on in London, both added a practical component (albeit of very different kinds), while what we would now expect to be "religious" activities played a very limited and tentative role in Pfoundes' activities. This reflected contemporary Japanese debates around Buddhist reform as well as Pfoundes' own assessment of what was feasible or even meaningful in the London context.

In any case, "propagation" did not work as hoped. There is nothing surprising about this: the Buddhists of the Kaigai Senkyo Kai were confident that the Westerners would be converted to Mahayana Buddhism without great effort because the Southeast Asian form of Buddhism – which they thought of as Hinayana and theoretically inferior to Mahayana – was apparently prevalent in Europe.70 Pfoundes observed at one point "We should learn from the failures of Christian missions" (letter to KBJ, 14 Oct 1889, p. 30). This probably refers to his earlier first-hand observations of Christian missions in Japan.71 It is perhaps unsurprising that Pfoundes could comment "There is no one who is openly committed to our movement. [However] there are many who regularly attend my meeting" (letter to KBJ, 25 October 1889).

How could interest be turned into commitment? Pfoundes attempted various strategies. On 27 July 1890 he offered lectures in "practical philanthropy" (meaning first aid), apparently in association with the St. John‘s Ambulance Brigade. On 13 November 1891 he offered a class in "spiritualist ethics". There was apparently little take-up for this: from 3 December he was offering a free Thursday class in "psychology". These could perhaps be read as attempts to translate traditional Buddhist concerns around ethics and right action into western contexts.

Another strategy was to offer ritual: as early as 25 October 1889 he wrote "At least every Sunday, we want to have Buddhist services. We want Buddhist ceremonies which satisfy those people accustomed to the ceremonies here". Later in the same letter he requested "Buddhist ceremony modified for Britain" (letter to KBJ, p. 22). In January 1891 he was able to put this into practice: on the 4th he appeared in the "Monarch" Coffee House under the auspices of the Bethnal Green branch of the NSS "accompanied by a Buddhist Priest in his robes", presumably the same individual previously mentioned with whom he appeared at the Battersea Park branch a week later on the 11th, offering "a Buddhist sermon".

Yet Pfoundes‘ mission lacked both the migrant base of the later missions to California and the BSGBI‘s later orientation towards ordination (of course neither was much more successful long-term). It would be decades before the modernist meditation trainings developed by Asian reformers for lay, urban contexts would become available in the west (e.g. Christmas Humphrey‘s 1935 manual).
Site Admin
Posts: 33501
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:44 am

Part 3 of 3

What kind of Buddhism did the BPS propagate?

We might also want to ask, in the spirit of Tweed‘s American encounter with Buddhism, how to interpret Pfoundes‘ own engagement with Buddhism. The discussion of Fuso mimi bukuro above suggests that he was not able to relate effectively to existing Japanese Buddhism in the 1860s and first half of the 1870s. The combination of disestablishment, reform and Theosophy perhaps made it possible to renegotiate his relationship with Buddhism and identify as a Buddhist in the late 1880s. The sequence of events between 1888-1889 which led to his emergence as Buddhist missionary suggests that at some point it dawned on him that he knew more about Buddhism – and was himself by experience and inclination more Buddhist - than the self-styled 'esoteric Buddhists‘ of the Theosophical Society and that he could (and being Pfoundes, therefore should) confront them in defence of 'Buddhism pure and simple‘. It is probably also significant in this period that he could approach Buddhism in his familiar role as cultural mediator – Orientalist interpreter of Japan for Western audiences, but also expert provider of practical services to Japanese organisations engaging with the West. By the late 1880s, with the declining power of the traditionalist Buddhism he had once decried, he could express his undoubted love for Japanese culture through a claim to knowledge of "old Japan" grounded in his pre-Meiji experience and long residence72. It was only after his return to Japan that he would claim esoteric knowledge by virtue of the initiations and ranks he collected after 1893 in a variety of sects (Bocking 2013).

This perspective may explain some of the apparent contradictions in his own approach, in particular how a hostility to priestly superstition, claim to textual knowledge and appreciation for modernist / rational readings of Buddhism73 could coexist with a later ecclesiastical positioning (in Japan) and orientation to Japanese authenticity and esoteric knowledge. However this eclecticism may also represent his position as an active mediator: rather than simply reading Buddhism within one of several pre-existing western frames, he was actively seeking in this period to engage with potential converts. Just as he explored multiple (spiritualist, freethinking, socialist, general) audiences for his talks and tried out various (lecture, polemic, practical, ritual) strategies, so too perhaps he explored different "takes" on Buddhism to see what might work in the west.74

Conclusion: Charles Pfoundes, the London BPS and the history of global Buddhism

Crisis and return to Japan

Pfoundes‘ mission proved harder than anticipated. This appears most clearly in his personal life: while in the 1880s Mrs Pfoundes was recorded as accompanying him to various cultural events, by June 1891 they were seemingly separated (the 1891 census shows her 'visiting' a female relative on the South coast) while he was living in the Doughty Street commune.75 On 15 January 1892 The Two Worlds carried the following notice:

"CAPTAIN PFOUNDES' LECTURES. - We are requested to announce that all engagements must be cancelled for the present, in consequence of breakdown of health, our climate being very trying to one who has travelled and resided so much abroad." (p.36).

By Autumn 1892 Pfoundes had lost or perhaps resigned from his Admiralty job and he left for Kobe on the Monmouthshire on November 28th, never to return to Europe. The Buddhist Propagation Society‘s mission to London was over.

Pfoundes‘ personal crisis and the failure of the BPS mission went hand in hand. The real challenge, it seems, was Theosophy; and in particular Annie Besant. This brilliant, beautiful and dramatic figure had been a leading light of freethought, feminism and socialism (she is recorded as "de-arresting" a banner during a police attack on an 1877 demonstration) before encountering Theosophy in 1890 – 91, parallel to Pfoundes‘ mission. Her future role as President of the Theosophical Society (from 1907) and Indian nationalist leader was yet to come: in this period she was using her close friendship with the NSS' leader Charles Bradlaugh to enable her to speak on Theosophy at secularist venues and use his National Reformer (of which she was temporary editor in early 1890) to publicise her books. Opposition to Theosophy remained muted within the NSS until Bradlaugh‘s death in January 1891, at which point her opponents within the Society were able to attack Theosophy publicly. She finally broke with the "Secular Platform" in September (National Reformer 13 Sept 1891, p. 164). The same issue of the Reformer carried a notice of a meeting in the NSS' main venue where Mr G W Foote spoke on "What does Mrs Besant mean?"; there were other, similarly personalised titles.

As noted, Pfoundes had already spoken against Theosophy‘s claim to represent Buddhism in 1889 but he became prolific on the subject from 1891, giving at least 17 talks with titles like "Theosophy, theology and sophistry: dangerous humbugs". On 5 November 1891, for example, he ―treated largely on the many questionable acts of the leaders of Theosophy, having much personal knowledge of them. He completely deprived Theosophy of any attractions it may have previously possessed for any of his hearers. Our [spiritualist] rooms were filled, many persons being present who do not usually attend." (TTW 13 Nov 1891, p. 629). Annie Besant was a tough opponent and present in the same networks as Pfoundes (spiritualist and socialist even after she had broken with secularism); she was also an extraordinarily popular public speaker, and an extended polemic with her was likely to be exhausting at best. However delighted Pfoundes may have been in 1891 to see Besant leave the freethought circuit, the developing conflict between Theosophy and secularism in 1891 posed a problem for Pfoundes‘ Buddhist work, which entailed carving out a "third space", one neither Theosophist nor non-religious. He remained welcome at secularist venues as an anti-Theosophical speaker as the split developed, but it is hard to imagine that many of those remaining would have been attracted to Buddhism in this context. In some ways, perhaps, the ignorance of what Buddhism really was, which he inveighed against, carried the day, with Londoners mostly content to accept either Besant‘s version or reject all such follies on secularist or socialist grounds.

Failure and continuity

The BPS certainly "failed" in a number of senses. Most obviously, Pfoundes was unable to find a mechanism to convert his audiences into "Buddhists" in any sense he, or the Kaigai Senkyo Kai, were happy with. He was also unable to break through the more powerful arguments between Annie Besant‘s Theosophy, freethinkers, socialists, and scholarly Orientalists. Secondly, of course, the BPS did not continue after Pfoundes left for Japan and it has been omitted from the "official" history of UK Buddhism for precisely this reason (Turner, Cox and Bocking 2010 and 2013): organisational survivors projected back their own history as the history, and researchers until now have largely started from these organisational sources.

This reliance on internal histories has considerably skewed our understanding of the early years of global Buddhism. Because most studies look at organisations which 'succeeded‘, in the sense of continuing, the explanations offered for this success are rarely based on any systematic comparison with those which did not continue76. On the face of it, Pfoundes' mission was better-organised than either Ananda Metteyya‘s or even Dharmapala‘s (leading to the foundation of the BSGBI and the London Maha-Bodhi societies respectively). Pfoundes was able to draw effectively on existing networks (spiritualist, secularist, socialist); he understood the world of London public meetings and was an experienced and evidently successful speaker. He had a clear strategic direction and his topics spoke to key issues of the day (Theosophy vs rationality and ethics without God). Furthermore, he put in a consistent and substantial effort over a significant period. An organisational explanation for his failure does not seem convincing.

However, the institutional lack of continuity does not mean that the BPS had no influence on UK Buddhism. There was widespread popular (Franklin 2008) as well as scholarly (Almond 1988) interest in Buddhism in this period, which also saw a number of individual converts to Buddhism and Buddhist sympathisers (see Cox 2013 for Ireland, at this point part of the UK). It is not impossible that some of these – even some who subsequently supported Ananda Metteyya‘s 1908 visit – had heard Pfoundes speak.

Pfoundes‘ own larger point – that Buddhism could not be understood within Theosophical terms – was, however, certainly forgotten, under the influence not only of Allan Bennett‘s own Theosophical past (Harris 1998) but also the positioning of Christmas Humphrey‘s later Buddhist Society as the Buddhist Lodge of the Theosophical Society. By the 1920s and 1930s, the bitter arguments within Theosophy and between Theosophists and spiritualists, Hermeticists and others (Cox 2013 ch 4) were largely forgotten and Theosophy stood as a surviving organisation, from which a new generation of Buddhists was formed.

Nonetheless, the London branch of the BPS should now be firmly reinstated in the history of Western Buddhism. Its existence is significant in itself. It also sheds light on the immense difficulties faced in developing what with hindsight seems like the 'obvious‘ structure of any Buddhist mission to the west; a focus on practice (whether meditation, chanting or ritual) rather than doctrine as a point of entry, which underpins the development of a global Buddhism in the post-WWII period. The BPS also shows the complex interactions between Buddhism and atheism, spiritualism, Theosophy and socialism in a period before Buddhism‘s identification within the categories of "world religion" was an automatic one.

From the Kaigai Senkyo Kai to the 1899 California missions

Pfoundes' mission to London is linked, indirectly at least, to the later 'first' Western Buddhist missions of 1899 in California. As it turned out, the London BPS was the only overseas operation successfully established by the Kaigai Senkyo Kai. Shimaji Mokurai, a leading intellectual in the modernisation of Jodo Shinshu, took over its presidency between August 1891 and March 1892,77 but the society had already started to decline. Nakanishi Naoki points out that the rapid demise of Kaigai Senkyo Kai had three main causes. Firstly, because it was, at least nominally, a transsectarian enterprise, Nishi Honganji could not take full responsibility for it. Secondly, the decline of Christian influence in Japan made it unnecessary for the sects to cooperate in such trans-sectarian missionary organizations. Thirdly, the Japanese economy experienced a panic in 1890 and when Kaigai Senkyo Kai faced economic difficulties it did not get enough financial support, either from the different sects or from Nishi Honganji.78

In addition, the favourable atmosphere toward foreign Buddhists turned hostile after 1890. This is clearly seen in the editorial articles of a leading Buddhist newspaper, Meikyo Shinshi, no. 3197 (1893-02-20) and no.3198 (1893-02-22) entitled "Gaikoku Bussha" (Foreign Buddhists). These severely criticised 'worship of the West' and claimed that all the Japanese needed to do for Westerners was give them the chance to learn Buddhism. In 1893 the last issue of Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo was published, and the final project was to send English books on Buddhism to the World‘s Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Matsuyama seems to have left Kyoto after the Kaigai Senkyo Kai was closed; he was killed in the March 1906 Meishan earthquake in Taiwan. But if it failed as an organisation, the Kaigai Senkyo Kai was certainly a success as a hub of the networks linking Japanese and foreign Buddhists. Even after the Senkyo Kai was closed down and the related Kyoto Theosophical lodge - if it was ever more than a paper organisation - ceased to be active, personal relationships would continue, such as that between Dharmapala and young Japanese Buddhists. In addition, imported Theosophical ideas influenced some reforming Buddhists connected with Hansei Kai.79

Moreover, although the Kaigai Senkyo Kai as such had declined by 1893, the Nishi Honganji subsequently resumed the spirit and work of Buddhist propagation under new leadership, supporting not only the Hawaiian Japanese community and the later West Coast American missions but operating or planning other - as yet largely undocumented - overseas Buddhist missions elsewhere, including in Singapore where, as we know from research on Dhammaloka,80 the Japanese mission in the colony was led from ca. 1899 to at least 1904 by a 'Reverend Ocha'.81 As late as December 1902, Shimaji Mokurai and others from Nishi Honganji (by now operating from Takanawa University as the short-lived 'International Young Men‘s Buddhist Association') were envisaging missions for the Philippines (Pinan), Hong Kong, China and Australia (Brisbane) which, if successful, might have matched Pfoundes‘ achievements in London.82 It is significant that the priests who were sent abroad during this period were mostly related to, or graduated from, Futsu Kyoko (or its successor Bungaku ryo) and shared the global perspective of the Kaigai Senkyo Kai. The best example here is Imamura Emyo, who propagated Buddhism in Hawaii. He was a nephew of Satomi Ryonen and a son-in-law of Hino Gien, both of whom were founding members of Kaigai Senkyo Kai.

Afterword: Charles Pfoundes and Ananda Metteyya?

On the surface, there seems to be no connection at all between Pfoundes' 1889-92 Japanese-sponsored mission and Ananda Metteyya‘s much later Burmese-supported visit from Rangoon to London between May and October 1908. However, an analysis of the venues at which Pfoundes propagated 'Buddhism pure and simple‘ in the early 1890s shows that he lectured on Buddhism in at least three locations very close to Clapham Junction, a major railway station in South London. According to surviving records of the Theosophical Society of 1893, the youthful Allan Bennett was then living in London, in Dorothy Road, close to Clapham Junction and within easy walking distance of any one of Pfoundes' three venues (Crow 2009: 24). We have no direct evidence of Bennett being present at one of Pfoundes' BPS lectures but it seems almost inconceivable, given Bennett‘s well-documented interest in Eastern religions, that he would not have attended at least one talk by Pfoundes, whose name was well known to Theosophists. It may even be that Bennett was one of the 'young men' whom, Pfoundes reported to Matsuyama, he was instructing in Buddhism and would he hoped 'go to Europe and America to teach Buddhism. And … to China, Siam, Burma, Ceylon, India to do missionary work."83

Tracing Allan Bennett‘s interest in Buddhism to the Japanese-sponsored BPS may at first appear far-fetched, given that Bennett found Buddhism in Ceylon and was ordained in Burma. However, an intriguing and otherwise inexplicable statement made (and repeated) by Bennett‘s most devoted colleague J. F. McKechnie suddenly acquires relevance in light of Pfoundes' activities on behalf of the BPS in 1890s London. Speaking on Bennett‘s tenth death anniversary in 1933, McKechnie stated that, while he could not himself understand the reasons for it, Bennett was actually intending to go to Japan and only stopped off at Colombo.84 If Bennett first encountered 'Buddhism pure and simple' in the person of Pfoundes, then a latent ambition to visit Japan, the home of an authentic yet modern, pure and global form of Buddhism, makes perfect sense. However, without further evidence we cannot know for certain whether such a concrete link exists between Pfoundes‘ activities on behalf of the BPS and the much later 'first' Buddhist mission to London of Ananda Metteyya.


Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the ISASR (Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions) 'Ireland, America and Transnationalism: studying religions in a globalised world‘ conference in Dublin, May 2013 and at the BASR/EASR/IAHR ‗Religion, Migration, Mutation‘ Conference in Liverpool, September 2013. The authors are grateful for helpful comments made during the anonymous review process for DISKUS.


BPS Buddhist Propagation Society
BSGBI Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland
FMB Pfoundes: Fuso mimi bukuro
KBJ Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo
KS Kaigai Senkyo Kai
NR National Reformer
NSS National Secular Society
TS Theosophical Society
TTW The Two Worlds (online via )


Akai, Toshio (2009) 'Theosophical Accounts in Japanese Buddhist Publications of the Late Nineteenth Century: An Introduction and Select Bibliography‘ Japanese Religions, 34:2, 187-208

Almond, Philip (1988). The British Discovery of Buddhism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Barrow, Logie (1986). Independent Spirits: Spiritualism and English Plebeians, 1850 - 1910. London: History Workshop/Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Bocking, Brian (2010). '"A Man of Work and Few Words"? Dhammaloka Beyond Burma.‘ Contemporary Buddhism, 11/2: 229-80.

Bocking, Brian (2013). 'Flagging up Buddhism: Charles Pfoundes (Omoie Tetzunostzuke) among the international congresses and expositions, 1893-1905‘. Contemporary Buddhism, 14/1.

Bocking, Brian; Choompolpaisal, Phibul; Cox, Laurence and Turner, Alicia (2014) A Buddhist Crossroads: pioneer western Buddhists and Asian networks 1860 - 1960. London: Routledge

Cox, Laurence (2010). 'The Politics of Buddhist Revival: U Dhammaloka as Social Movement Organiser‘. Contemporary Buddhism (11/2): 173-227.

Cox, Laurence (2013) Buddhism and Ireland: from the Celts to the Counter-Culture and Beyond. Sheffield: Equinox.

Crow, John (2009) The White Knight in the Yellow Robe: Allan Bennett’s Search for Truth. Privately Printed

Dettmer, Hans A. with Viktoria Eschbach-Szabo and Vera Schmidt (eds) (2000) Korrespondenz Alexander Von Siebolds: In Den Archiven Des Japanischen Aussenministeriums Und Der Tokyo-universitat 1859-1895. (Acta Sieboldiana) Bochum: Der Ruhr-Universitat

Dolce, Lucia (2006) 'Icons, Scriptures, and Their Ritual Use: Reflections on the Nineteenth-Century European Understandings of Japanese Buddhism.' In: Murakami-Giroux, S., (ed.), La Rencontre du Japon et de l'Europe. Images d'une découverte. Actes du troisième colloque d'études japonaises de l'université Marc Bloch. Aurillac: Publications Orientalistes de France, pp. 57-78.

Franklin, J. Jeffrey (2008). The Lotus and the Lion: Buddhism and the British Empire. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Gandhi, Leela (2006). Affective Communities: anti-colonial thought, fin-de-siècle radicalism, and the politics of friendship. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Harris, Elizabeth (1998) The First British Emissary of Buddhism. Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka. The Wheel Publication No. 420/422 available at

Harris, Elizabeth (2013) 'Ananda Metteyya: controversial networker, passionate critic‘. Contemporary Buddhism 14:1, 78-93

Hendry, Joy (1981) Marriage in Changing Japan: community and society. London: Croom

Hayashi, Makoto, Otani, Eiichi and Swanson, Paul L, eds. (2014) Modern Buddhism in Japan. Nagoya: Nanzan Institute.

Nakanishi, Naoki (forthcoming), Kaigai senkyō kai to sono jidai (The Kaigai Senkyō Kai and its era) Reprint Edition of Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo. Kyoto: Sannin sha

Nakanishi, Ushiro (1892) Shin Bukkyōron (On New Buddhism) Kyoto: Kokyoshoin

Pfoundes, Charles (1875) Fuso mimi bukuro: a Budget of Japanese Notes. Yokohama: Japan Mail

President‘s Office Correspondence. Mss 1609, Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition Records. Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Rose, Jonathan (2001) The intellectual life of the British working classes. New Haven: Yale

Ruxton, Ian (ed.) (2014) Sir Ernest Satow's Private Letters to W.G. Aston and F.V. Dickins: The Correspondence of a Pioneer Japanologist from 1870 to 1918.

Ryukoku Daigaku Shuppanbu (ed.) (1939), Ryukoku Daigaku Sanbyakunenshi [300- year history of Ryukoku University], Kyoto: Ryukoku Daigaku Shuppanbu [Ryukoku University Publications Dept.]

Shipley, Stan (1971) Club life and Socialism in mid-Victorian London. Oxford: History Workshop

Snodgrass, Judith (2003) Presenting Japanese Buddhism to the West: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and the Columbian Exposition. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press.

Taylor, John (1972) From Self-help to Glamour: the Working Man's Club 1860-1972. Oxford: History Workshop

Thelle, Notto R. (1987) Buddhism and Christianity in Japan: from Conflict to Dialogue, 1854 – 1899

Thompson, E.P. (1968). The Making of the English Working Class. Harmondsworth: 2nd edn, Penguin.

Tweed, Thomas (2000). The American Encounter with Buddhism, 1844 – 1912: Victorian Culture and the Limits of Dissent. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Tweed, Thomas (2012) 'Tracing Modernity‘s Flows: Buddhist Currents in the Pacific World‘ The Eastern Buddhist 43/1&2: 35–56 (available at ... ific_World)

Turner, Alicia, Laurence Cox and Brian Bocking (2010) 'Beachcombing, going native and freethinking: rewriting the history of early Western Buddhist monastics', Contemporary Buddhism, 11: 2, 125 - 147

Turner, Alicia, Laurence Cox & Brian Bocking (2013) 'A Buddhist crossroads: pioneer European Buddhists and globalizing Asian networks 1860–1960‘, Contemporary Buddhism, 14:1, 1-16

Yoshinaga Shin‘ichi (2009) "Theosophy and Buddhist Reformers in the Middle of the Meiji Period, An Introduction" Japanese Religions vol.34 no.2 (July).

Yoshinaga Shin‘ichi (2012) "After Olcott Left: Theosophy and "New Buddhists" at the Turn of the Century" Eastern Buddhist, new series vol. 43 no.1-2 (2012), 103-132



1 ‘THE SCOTTISH BUDDHIST: Arrival in London‘ Times of India 9 May 1908,13. ‘BUDDHISM: Its Mission in the West‘ Times of India 19 May 1908, 8 summarises a piece by  Ananda Metteyya in the London Daily Chronicle, while ‘WEST AND EAST‘ Times of India 25  May 1908, 6 reports on his first talk at the Royal Asiatic Society on Wednesday 6th May,  commenting that ‘The Bhikkhu surveyed the principles of Buddhism and traced the life of its  founder in a long address read from typed MSS, in slow, monotonous tones, and with an  entire absence of the force and fire we generally associate with the proclamation of a new  gospel or missionary enterprise‘.
2 Ananda Metteyya returned to London in 1914 with the intention of continuing to America. By  this time ill-health had obliged him to disrobe and he remained in the UK until his death in  1923.
3 See e.g. Harris (1998). The Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland (BSGBI) was  founded by T. W. Rhys-Davids and others in November 1907 solely in anticipation of Bennett‘s  arrival and the BSGBI is similarly regarded as the first of its kind.
4 Tweed (2012) documents an intriguing musical link between the ‘other‘ Irish Buddhist U  Dhammaloka and the earliest Japanese ‘Buddhist Missions of North America‘ established in  California from 1899.
5 And to a wider Japanese public – the national Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper ran an article on  the BPS in London on July 10, 1890. Our thanks to Okazaki Hideki for this and several other  items of information.
6 Nakanishi Ushiro Shin Bukkyoron (On New Buddhism),1892.

7 Okazaki Hideki, "Meiji no airurandojin jukaiso C. Pfoundes ni tsuite" (On C. Pfoundes, an ordained Irish priest") p.6 Sekihō no.19 (Nomi Yutaka Kenkyūkai, March 2014).

8 A signal advantage to the digital researcher is that Pfoundes is the only man ever to have held that surname – he was baptised Charles Pounds but amended his name to Pfoundes soon after 1863 when he first became resident in Japan.

9 See also Cox 2013.
10 There is another version published in KBJ no.10 1890-5-27 (fig 1).
11 See Bocking (2013) for more detail on each phase of Pfoundes‘ life mentioned here.
12 On the name ‘Pfoundes‘ and his Japanese name Omoie Tetsunosuke 重井哲之助 see  Bocking 2013, 32, n.9.
13 Reports of his death in 1907 as Kobe‘s ‘oldest resident‘ put his age at 79 (the British  Consul) or 81 (the Straits Times); in fact he was 67. Bocking (2013) speculated that Pfoundes  added these years in 1893 to explain to his Japanese sponsors his (otherwise premature)  ‘retirement‘ from the Admiralty, but he may simply have been reoccupying his earlier  Japanese persona from the 1860s. Pfoundes‘ 1878 Liverpool marriage certificate shows him  (correctly) aged 38.
14 Lewis and Clark Papers, Pfoundes handbill, ca.1902.
15 Lewis & Clark papers; typescript from Pfoundes headed ‘Pfoundes, Kobe, Japan‘ and  stamped ‘Licensed Guide‘, ca. 1903.
16 Each item catalogued by Pfoundes in Japanese Art Treasures New York, 1876 with an  introduction to the various types of Japanese art (Bronzes, Keramics, Lacquer Ware, Shippo  or Cloisonne) and an appendix comprising an A-Z glossary of Japanese art and culture.
17 Blavatsky presumably got the Shinto creation material from Pfoundes‘ 1875 Fuso-mimi  bukuro (p.79ff ‘Japanese Cosmogony‘). The source of her comment that he ‘studied for nearly  nine years in the monasteries of Japan‘ is unknown.
18 The Shiba monasteries are mentioned in his first letter from London to Matsuyama (dated  Oct 4 1889, published in Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo no.5, 15 December 1889, 15). On 25 October  1889 (letter published in KBJ no.8, 1890) Pfoundes wrote asking if he needed to receive  kanjō (initiation), indicating that he lacked any such qualification.
19 Divyatchakchus (Sanskrit) is the divine eye, the first abhijñā or 'supernatural' knowledge. Omoie refers to Pfoundes‘ honorary Japanese name.
20 TTW 13 Nov 1891, p. 629 talks of Pfoundes ‘having much personal knowledge of [them]‘; see below.
21 For TTW‘s critique of Theosophy see e.g. ‘Theosophy, Occultism and Spiritualism‘ by  ‘Sirius‘ in TTW Vol 1, 13, 10 Feb 1888 pp, 198-199. A stronger refutation is offered in  ‘Spiritualism, Theosophy and Reincarnation No.1‘ in TTW Vol II, 91, 9 August 1889, 470-71.  Hardinge knew her enemy; in 1875 she had been one of the six founder members of the  Theosophical Society in New York.
22 Pfoundes may have known Hardinge Britten from New York days; he auctioned his oriental  art collection there in 1876 only a few months after the TS, initially a Spiritualist society, was  founded.
23 Sic in original; this was originally a Theosophical usage distinguishing ―universal  knowledge‖ from what might be called actually-existing Buddhism.
24 Although Barrow (1986) shows that there were competing freethought ("scientific") and  religious orientations within late C19th spiritualism, most TTW writers saw Spiritualism as  correcting the inadequacies of ‘orthodox‘ Christianity.
25 An interesting claim, given that Pfoundes began his mission to teach ‘pure Buddhism' only  a couple of months later. He probably means that as a proponent of ‘Buddhism pure and  simple‘ he stands above the sectarian fray, Buddhist or Theosophical.
26 In his first letter as BPS London representative to Matsuyama, written on 4 October 1889,  Pfoundes shows a high level of awareness of missiological issues. He identifies his problems  as ‘What part of Buddhism I should take and how to criticize Christianity' (Kaigai Bukkyō Jijō  no.7, 1890-02-25, p.28) and cautions that ‘we should learn from the failures of Christianity‘  (ibid. p.30).
27 Hansei Kai Zasshi no.1, (Aug 1887) p.32.
28 Hansei Kai Zasshi, no.1 (Aug 1887) p.33.
29 Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo, no.1 (3rd edition), 1889-03, p.129
30 In this article country names are as used in the relevant historical period.
31 Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo, no.1 (3rd edition), 1889-03, pp.133, 134
32 Bijou of Asia, no.1, p.2
33 In January 1889 regional newspapers in Birmingham and Bristol commented under the heading ‘A Japanese Buddhist Propaganda‘ on a Japan Weekly News report of the appearance of Bijou of Asia.
34 Six articles by Pfoundes are listed in The Campbell Theosophical Research Library index at
35 On Oct 25 1889 Pfoundes wrote to Matsuyama ‘There are many who don‘t believe in Christianity. It is easy to have large audiences with Buddhism lectures.' Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo no.8, 1890, p.24
36 A profile of Pfoundes presumably based on this letter was published in KBJ no.3, 15 Oct  1889.
37 They were published serially in Japanese in KBJ, starting with no.3, 15 Oct 1889.
38 Letter of Pfoundes Oct. 4, 1889, published in KBJ no. 5, Dec. 15 1889.
39 The letter was published on the 18th.
40 In addition to the Japan Mail, Theosophical and Spiritualist journals, these included The  Folk-Lore Record, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Journal of the Royal  Anthropological Institute and the Young Folks’ Paper. A comprehensive Pfoundes  bibliography has yet to be compiled.
41 Pfoundes was then 50, Rosa 34.
 2 A pamphlet (undated) used by Pfoundes up to the early 1900s lists more than 160 topics on  which he was prepared to lecture. Lewis & Clark Exposition, Oregon papers, pamphlet  entitled ‘C Pfoundes; Kobe, Hiogo, Japan'
 43 Presumably the School for Modern Oriental Studies [or Languages] established by the  Imperial Institute in Union with University College and King‘s College, London, commencing in  Autumn 1889 with ‘practical rather than academic‘ classes deliberately aimed at ICS recruits  and business students. See and T. W. Rhys Davids served  on its first Managing Committee (see 
44 'A Branch Theosophical Society in Japan‘ Bijou of Asia Vol.1, no.2, 1888, p.9.
45 ‘SPIRITUALISTIC ETHICS, &c‘ TTW 1891-11-13 p.631.
46 E.g. letter of Dec. 11 1889, in KBJ no. 9 1890-04-29, p. 29.
47 On Oct 4 1889 Pfoundes wrote to Matsuyama "Please send me the wood block for printing the handbill of BPS and Bijou of Asia. I propose the design of the handbill. Please put"juzu" (prayer beads) around the poster and put the mark of Buddhism on the upper area.…" (KBJ no.5 1889-12-15, p.17)
48 There is little overlap between the meetings announced in The Two Worlds and those  announced in The National Reformer; they seem to have taken their meetings listings from  information supplied by spiritualist and secularist venues respectively.
49 Pfoundes seldom followed other freethought circuit speakers in venturing outside London  (presumably because of his Admiralty job); he also avoided the outdoors venues which were  used during the summer season by those speakers with the voice and personality to handle  such events.
50 A strategy not without its risks. The Theosophical Society sued Pfoundes and several newspapers (at least two of them successfully) for libel over the Bertram Keightley affair. In the Spring of 1890 readers of Lucifer were asked to keep their eyes peeled for any comments on Theosophy and send these to the TS Press section in Harrow; Pfoundes was singled out as having already received a writ for libel. Lucifer, March to August 1890, p.521. Our thanks to Chris Heinhold for this reference.
51 The Stepney/Mile End Road area had a long-established (since the 17th century) and influential Jewish presence, augmented in the 1880s by an influx of Eastern European Jewish refugees.
52 He also noted ―The poor people in the urban area are excluded from Christianity, so it is necessary to propagate Buddhism among them‖ (letter to KBJ 14 October 1889, p. 25).
53 The names are in katakana in KBJ. Islington is rendered ‘Ailington' which suggests Pfoundes wrote to Matsuyama in English. ‘Progress Hall‘ means a venue of the Progressive Association.
54 Another Irish Buddhist in the making; he formally became a Buddhist in Colombo the following July (Birmingham Daily Post, 28 August 1890, p.6). For more on Bowles Daly see Cox (2013) pp.229ff.
55 Letter published in KBJ 10, 1890-05-27, p.32.
56 'London Correspondence: Theosophical debate‘ Coventry Evening Telegraph Friday 16  June 1893.
57 Frederika MacDonald deserves further research; she may be the first female Buddhist  missionary in the West. A report of the summer 1893 debate with Annie Besant describes her  as ‘a lady well-known as an exponent of Buddhism‘. In a lecture delivered on 9 July 1893  MacDonald castigated Theosophy as secretive and backward (Edinburgh Evening News, 11  July 1893), suggesting she may have picked up the baton from Pfoundes when he left  London in late 1892.
58 TTW 1890-03-21 p.221.
59 Takakusu also wrote from the Pfoundes home that ‘A Theosophist in Paris named Barb  (Barbu?) is applying for the Paris branch of B.P.S. but there is a trouble between Gaborieau  and Barb. So you (B.P.S. in Japan) should not take sides' (Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo no.11 1890-06-  30, p.27); a reminder that London was not the only great capital in Europe to be targeted by  the fledgling BPS.
60 Sheffield Daily Telegraph 1890-06-14 p.1. Notice in same paper 1890-05-30 “June 15,  Capt. Pfoundes”.
61 NR 4 Jan 1891, p. 15. Presumably this was one of two travelling Nishi Honganji priests who  a few weeks later on 22 February performed a Buddhist ceremony at the Musée Guimet in  Paris (‘Parisian Topics' The Standard 23 Feb 1891, p.5).
62 TTW 1891-06-12 p.366
63 This was allied to vegetarianism but campaigned in particular for wholemeal bread on  health grounds.
64 Lloyds Weekly Newspaper 1891-08-23, p.9
65 Lloyd‘s Weekly London Newspaper 1892-02-07, p.7
66 This was the start of Pfoundes' interest in oriental congresses (see Bocking 2013)
67 The Bristol Mercury, Fri 1892-09-09 p.8
68 A newspaper account of the first publication of Bijou of Asia was headed ‘A Buddhist Propaganda‘. The Latin term Propaganda originally referred to a committee of cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church responsible for foreign missions, founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. It was used in the sense of foreign missionary activity up to the 1930s when it acquired the meaning of false or biased information.
69 Pfoundes did not appear to think that London needed more missionaries in addition to  himself.
70 See Shimaji Mokurai "Kaigai senkyō kai ni tsugu" (An address to the members of BPS),  KBJ no.24 1892-03-27 pp.7, 8. This assumption was soon to be challenged by the experience  of the Japanese delegates to the Chicago World‘s Parliament of Religions in 1893.
71 Letters sent to the Japan Herald mention missionaries living the good life and the poor calibre of converts. Living modestly himself, Pfoundes valued sincere seekers after truth.
72 There are similarities to Irish Buddhist sympathiser, Lafcadio Hearn. There is as yet no  evidence of any direct connection though the two very likely knew of each other in Japan after  1893.
73 He notes "The stories of yogis or miracles seem not to be liked by people here" (letter to  KBJ 14 October 1889, p. 27).
74 While an earlier generation of scholarship (Almond 1988, Snodgrass 2003) paid particular attention to the influence of western academic interpretations of Buddhism, Tweed (2000) has  shown that even within purely western contexts this "rationalist" approach was but one among  many. Franklin (2008) shows just how ubiquitous the reference to Buddhism was within  Victorian culture (see Dolce (2006) for perceptions of Japanese Buddhism in particular), while  Cox (2013) and Bocking et al. (2014) emphasise the role of Asian agency, and individual  westerners within Asian contexts. It can be seen from the evidence presented here that Pfoundes, who was well acquainted with scholars such as Max Muller and T. W. Rhys Davids  on the London scholarly circuits, was far from simply reproducing a single, western (let alone  academic) frame of interpretation of Buddhism.
75 See Cox (2013, p 224).
76 See Bocking et al. 2014 and Cox 2013, ch 5 for a range of examples of early Buddhist  “might-have-beens”.
77 KBJ no.23 (1891-08) p.40.
78 Nakanishi Naoki, "Kaigai senkyo kai to sono jidai" (Kaigai Senkyō Kai and its era) in Reprint  Edition of Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo (Kyoto, Sannin sha, forthcoming).
79 See Yoshinaga (2012).
80 Bocking 2010
81 Bocking 2010
82 See Bocking 2010 and Ryukoku Daigaku Shuppanbu 1939, p. 822. In 1902 the KS was  superseded by the short-lived ‘International Young Men‘s Buddhist Association' formally  launched at a September 1902 ceremony in Tokyo attended by various Pure Land luminaries  - and the ‘other‘ Irish Buddhist, U Dhammaloka, visiting from Burma.
83 Kaigai Bukkyo Jijo no.7, 25 Feb 1890. p.29
84 Elizabeth Harris, ‘Ananda Metteyya: controversial networker, passionate critic'.  Contemporary Buddhism 14:1, 78-93, p.82, citing Crow 2009, p. 44.
Site Admin
Posts: 33501
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:14 am

Thomas Rhys Davids
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/29/19



Thomas William Rhys Davids
Born 12 May 1843
Colchester, Essex, England
Died 27 December 1922 (aged 79)
Chipstead, Surrey, England
Nationality British
Occupation Pāli language
Known for Founder of the Pāli Text Society.
One of the first translations of early Buddhist texts.

Thomas William Rhys Davids, FBA[1] (12 May 1843 – 27 December 1922) was a British scholar of the Pāli language and founder of the Pāli Text Society. He took an active part in founding the British Academy and London School for Oriental Studies.

Early life and education

Thomas William Rhys Davids was born at Colchester in Essex, England, the eldest son of a Congregational clergyman[2] from Wales, who was affectionately referred to as the Bishop of Essex. His mother, who died at the age of 37 following childbirth, had run the Sunday school at his father's church.

Deciding on a Civil Service career, Rhys Davids studied Sanskrit under A.F. Stenzler, a distinguished scholar at the University of Breslau. He earned money in Breslau by teaching English.

The University of Wrocław (UWr; Polish: Uniwersytet Wrocławski; German: Universität Breslau; Latin: Universitas Wratislaviensis) is a public research university located in Wrocław, Poland. The University of Wrocław was founded in 1945, replacing the previous German University of Breslau. Following the territorial changes of Poland's borders, academics primarily from the Jan Kazimierz University of Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine) restored the university building heavily damaged and split as a result of the Battle of Breslau (1945). Nowadays it is one of the most prominent educational institutions in the region.[1]

The University is currently the largest in Lower Silesian Voivodeship with over 100,000 graduates since 1945 including some 1,900 researchers among whom many received the highest awards for their contribution to the development of scientific scholarship.[1] The University of Wrocław is renowned for its relatively high quality of teaching, placing 44th on the QS University Rankings: EECA 2016,[2] and is located in the same campus as the former University of Breslau, which produced 9 Nobel Prize winners.[3]

University of Wrocław [Breslau], by Wikipedia

Civil service in Sri Lanka

In 1863 Rhys Davids returned to Britain, and on passing his civil service exams was posted to Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon). When he was Magistrate of Galle and a case was brought before him involving questions of ecclesiastical law, he first learned of the Pāli language when a document in that language was brought in as evidence.

In 1871 he was posted as Assistant Government Agent of Nuwarakalaviya, where Anuradhapura was the administrative centre. The governor was Sir Hercules Robinson, who had founded the Archaeological Commission in 1868.

Rhys Davids became involved with the excavation of the ancient Sinhalese city of Anuradhapura, which had been abandoned after an invasion in 993 CE. He began to collect inscriptions and manuscripts, and from 1870-1872 wrote a series of articles for the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Society Journal about them. He learned the local language and spent time with the people.

Rhys Davids' civil service career and his residence in Sri Lanka came to an abrupt end. Personal differences with his superior, C. W. Twynham, caused a formal investigation, resulting a tribunal and Rhys Davids' dismissal for misconduct. A number of minor offences had been discovered, as well as grievances concerning fines improperly exacted both from Rhys Davids' subjects and his employees.

Academic career

He then studied for the bar and briefly practised law, though he continued to publish articles about Sri Lankan inscriptions and translations, notably in Max Müller's monumental Sacred Books of the East.

From 1882 to 1904 Rhys Davids was Professor of Pāli at the University of London, a post which carried no fixed salary other than lecture fees.

In 1905 he took up the Chair of Comparative Religion at the University of Manchester.

Rhys Davids attempted to promote Theravada Buddhism and Pali scholarship in Britain. He actively lobbied the government (in co-operation with the Asiatic Society of Great Britain) to expand funding for the study of Indian languages and literature, using numerous arguments over how this might strengthen the British hold on India. He gave "Historical Lectures" and wrote papers advancing a racial theory of a common "Aryan" ethnicity amongst the peoples of Britain, Sri Lanka, and the Buddha's own clan in ancient times. These were comparable to the racial theories of Max Müller, but were used to a different purpose. Rhys Davids claimed that Britons had a natural, "racial" affinity with Buddhist doctrine. This part of Rhys Davids' career is controversial.

Personal life

In 1894 Rhys Davids married Caroline Augusta Foley, a noted Pāli scholar. Unlike his wife, however, Rhys Davids was a critic and opponent of Theosophy. They had three children. The eldest, Vivien, was involved in the Girl Guide movement and was a friend of Robert Baden-Powell. Their only son, Arthur Rhys Davids, was a Royal Flying Corps 25-victory fighter ace who was killed in World War I.

Rhys Davids died on 27 December 1922 in Chipstead, Surrey.


• Rhys Davids, T. W. (1880). Buddhist Birth Stories (Jataka Tales), London
• Rhys Davids, T. W., trans. (1890–94). Questions of King Milinda, Sacred Books of the East, volumes XXXV & XXXVI, Clarendon/Oxford, reprinted by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi Vol. 1, Vol. 2
• Rhys Davids, T. W. (1903). Buddhist India. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
• Rhys Davids, T. W., Stede, William (eds.) (1921-5). The Pāli Text Society's Pāli–English Dictionary. Chipstead: Pāli Text Society. Search inside the Pāli–English Dictionary, University of Chicago
• Rhys Davids, T. W. (1907). Buddhism Its History And Literature, G. P. Putnam's Sons . New York, Second Edition.
• Rhys Davids, T. W. & C. A., trans. (1899–1921). Dialogues of the Buddha, 3 volumes, Pāli Text Society, Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3.
• Rhys Davids, T. W.; Oldenberg, Hermann, trans. (1881–85). Vinaya Texts, Sacred Books of the East, volumes XIII, XVII & XX, Clarendon/Oxford; reprint: Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi (Dover, New York) Vol. XIII, Mahavagga I-IV, Vol. XVII, Mahavagga V-X, Kullavagga I-III, Vol. XX, Kullavagga IV-XII
• Rhys Davids, T. W. (1891). The Sects of the Buddhists By T. W. Rhys Davids. The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, pp. 409–422
• Rhys Davids, T. W. (1901). Asoka and the Buddha-relics By T. W. Rhys Davids. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, pp. 397–410


1. Lord Chalmers (1923). "Thomas William Rhys Davids". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (2): 323–328. JSTOR 25210065.
2. Ridding, C. Mary; Tin, Pe Maung (1923). "Obituary: Professor T. W. Rhys Davids". Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies University of London. Cambridge University Press. 3: 201–210. JSTOR 607190.


• Anonymous (1920-1923). The passing of the Founder, Journal of the Pāli Text Society 7, 1-21
• Wickremeratne, Ananda (1984). The genesis of an Orientalist: Thomas William Rhys Davids and Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 0836408675

External links

• Lorna S. Dewaraja. Rhys Davids: His contribution to Pāli and Buddhist studies, Daily News, Sri Lanka, 15–17 July 1998


Thomas William Rhys Davids
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 10/29/19

Thomas William Rhys Davids

Thomas William Rhys Davids (May 12, 1843 – December 27, 1922) was a British scholar of the Pāli language and founder of the Pali Text Society. He was closely associated with Max Muller and a friend of the High Priest Sumangala.

References in the Mahatma Letters

Rhys Davids is mentioned in Mahatma Letter No. 111, page 10-12, 14:

Mr. Rhys Davids' "Buddhism" is full of the sparkle of our most important esotericism; but always, as it would seem, beyond not only his reach but apparently even his powers of intellectual perception. To avoid "absurd metaphysics" and its inventions, he creates unnecessary difficulties and falls headlong into inextricable confusion. He is like the Cape Settlers who lived over diamond mines without suspecting it...[1]

In Mahatma Letter No. 85b, page 16:

I will give out for your benefit that which has never been given out before. I will explain to you a whole chapter out of Rhys Davids work on Buddhism, or rather on Lamaism, which, in his natural ignorance he regards as a corruption of Buddhism! Since those gentlemen — the Orientalists — presume to give to the world their soi-disant translations & commentaries on our sacred books, let the theosophists show the great ignorance of those "world" pundits, by giving the public the right doctrines & explanations of what they would regard as an absurd, fancy theory.[2]

In Mahatma Letter No. 68, page 17, writing of Mara (death):

Also, when Beal, or Burnouf, or Rhys Davids in the innocence of their Christian and materialistic souls indulge in such translations as they generally do, we do not bear them malice for their commentaries, since they cannot know any better. [3]

A similar reference is in Mahatma Letter No. 93b, page 25.


Additional resources

• Kannangara, A. P.The Genesis of an Orientalist: Thomas William Rhys Davids and Buddhism in Sri Lanka by Ananda Wickremeratne. The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 10.2 (1987), 161-164. Book review of biography, <pdf>File:Wickremeratne book review.pdf available here</pdf>.
• Wickremeratne, Ananda. The Genesis of an Orientalist: Thomas William Rhys Davids and Buddhism in Sri Lanka. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1985. Biography.


1. Mahatma Letter No. 111, page 10-11
2. Mahatma Letter No. 85b, page 16
3. Mahatma Letter No. 68, page 17
Site Admin
Posts: 33501
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:36 am

Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/29/19



The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
Formation 15 March 1823; 196 years ago
Headquarters 14 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2HD, England, United Kingdom

The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, commonly known as the Royal Asiatic Society (RAS), was established, according to its Royal Charter of 11 August 1824, to further "the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia." From its incorporation the Society has been a forum, through lectures, its journal, and other publications, for scholarship relating to Asian culture and society of the highest level. It is the United Kingdom's senior learned society in the field of Asian studies. Fellows of the Society are elected regularly. Fellows include highly accomplished and notable scholars of Asian Studies. They use the post-nominal letters F.R.A.S.[1][2][3][4]


The society was founded in London in 1823, with the first general meeting being held on 15 March at the Thatched House on St James's Street, London, chaired by Henry Thomas Colebrooke. This meeting elected the officers (including Charles Williams-Wynn as the first president) and council, defined that the name of the society was the Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and that members should be designated Members of the Asiatic Society (M.A.S.). It also empowered the council to frame regulations (these were approved at the next general meeting on 19 April), to look for a suitable site for the society's meetings, and to seek a charter of incorporation. Later that year, at a general meeting held on 7 June, Williams-Wynn announced that King George IV, who had already agreed to be patron of the society, had granted the title of "Royal" to the society, giving it the name of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland and its members the designation Members of the Royal Asiatic Society (M.R.A.S.). The society received its charter under that name on 11 August 1824.[5]

The RAS was established by a group primarily composed of notable scholars and colonial administrators. It was intended to be the British counterpart to the Asiatic Society of Calcutta, which had been founded in 1784 by the noted Sanskrit scholar and jurist Sir William Jones. A leading figure in the foundation of the RAS was Henry Thomas Colebrooke, who was himself an important Sanskrit scholar, and one time President of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta.[6] Another was Sir George Staunton, 2nd Baronet, a Chinese-speaking diplomat who had worked in China.

When the Oriental Club of London was formed in 1824, membership of the RAS was stated as one of the four qualifications for membership of the new club.[7]

Due to the nature of the society's close connection with the British Empire in the east, much of the work originating with the society has been focused on topics concerning the Indian subcontinent. However, the purview of the Society extends far beyond India: all of Asia and into Islamic North Africa, and Ethiopia are included. The Society does have a few limitations on its field on interest, such as recent political history and current affairs. This particular moratorium led to the founding of the Central Asian Society, which later became the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. After World War II, with the gradual end of British political hegemony 'east of Suez', the Society maintained its disinterested academic focus on Asia.[citation needed]

Originally, members of the society were styled Members (M.R.A.S.), Honorary Members (Hon. M.R.A.S.), Corresponding Members (C.M.R.A.S.) and Foreign Members (F.M.R.A.S.).[8] During the 1800s, the post-nominal letters 'F.R.A.S.', indicating fellowship of the society, came to be used by some members, including the poet and journalist Sir Edwin Arnold, principal of the Government Sanskrit College at Poona, the Orientalist painter Thomas Daniell, botanist at Calcutta Nathaniel Wallich,[9][failed verification] the physician and writer on India John Forbes Watson,[10] and the writer on India and co-founder of the India Reform Society John Dickinson.[11] This usage continued through the twentieth century,[12][13] advertisements in the Society's Journal also reflecting the use of the letters F.R.A.S. by some members,[14][15] although all members of the society were referred to as "members" in the 1908 constitution,[16] and it was not until 1967 that reports of the Anniversary Meeting referred to "fellows" rather than "members".[17] As of 2019, members are designated "fellows" or "student fellows"; no post-nominals are assigned by the society to these grades in its regulations, but the use of the post-nominal letters F.R.A.S. is recognized by many reference works.[1][2][3][4][18] The post-nominal letters are frequently used by academics working in Asia-related fields,[19][20] including the Society's current Journal editor, Dr Sarah Ansari,[21][failed verification] the Indologist Dr Michael D. Willis,[22] the poet and translator of Bengali Dr William Radice, and the Islamic scholar Leonard Lewisohn.[23]

Notable members and fellows of the society have included Rabindranath Tagore, Sir Aurel Stein, Sir Wilfred Thesiger, and George V. Tsereteli.


The Society is affiliated with associate societies in India (Calcutta, Mumbai, Bangalore, Madras, and Bihar), the former branch in Mumbai now being known as the Asiatic Society of Mumbai.

It is also affiliated with the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch (established in 1847), the Asiatic Society of Japan (established in 1875), the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (established in 1877), and Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch (established in 1900).[24]

In China, the former South China Branch is now known as the Hong Kong Branch. The North China branch has been re-established in 2006 in Shanghai as the Royal Asiatic Society China, the original branch having been founded in 1857 and dissolved in 1952. It has chapters in Suzhou and Beijing.


The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (JRAS) is published by Cambridge University Press four times a year, each issue containing a number of scholarly essays, and several book reviews. It has been published under its current name since 1991, having previously been the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1834–1991) and Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1824–1834).[25] The present editor of the journal is Dr Sarah Ansari of Royal Holloway, University of London. The Executive Editor is Charlotte de Blois. The society also regularly publishes historical manuscripts, and monographs of the highest academic quality on numerous topics.

Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland

This fund was initially established in 1828;[26] and the results of its initial funding projects were soon forthcoming.[27] The Fund became one of a large number of Victorian subscription printing clubs which published translations, re-issued historical works or commissioned original books which were too specialized for commercial publication; but unlike most of those now defunct organizations, the work of the Royal Asiatic Society Oriental Translation Fund is on-going into the 21st century with a "new series" and "old series" microform catalog available for scholarly research.[28]


Currently (2018–21), the President of the Society is Professor Anthony Stockwell and the vice-president is Dr. B. Brend.[29]

Past presidents

• 2018- Anthony Stockwell
• 2015-2018 Gordon Johnson[30]
• 2012–2015 Peter Robb [31]
• 2009–2012 Gordon Johnson[32]
• 2006–2009 Anthony Stockwell[33]
• 2003–2006 Francis Robinson
• 2000–2003 Anthony Stockwell
• 1997–2000 Francis Robinson
• 1993–?1997 David W. MacDowall
• 1990–1993 Prof. Adrian David Hugh Bivar
• 1988–1990 Frank Steele [34]
• 1979–1988 Sir Cyril Philips
• 1976-1979 Charles Fraser Beckingham
• 1973–1976 Prof. E.H.S. Simmonds
• 1970–1973 Basil William Robinson
• 1967–1970 Charles Fraser Beckingham
• 1964–1967 Prof. Sir Harold Walter Bailey [35]
• 1961–1964 Sir Richard Olaf Winstedt[36]
• 1958–1961 Gerard L.M. Clauson
• 1955–1958 Sir Richard Olaf Winstedt[36]
• 1952–1955 Sir Ralph Lilley Turner
• 1949–1952 Sir Richard Olaf Winstedt[36]
• 1946–1949 The Earl of Scarbrough
• 1943–1946 Sir Richard Olaf Winstedt[36]
• 1940-1943 Viscount Samuel
• 1939-1940 The Marquess of Willingdon
• 1937–1939 Malcolm Hailey, 1st Baron Hailey [37]
• 1934–1937 David Samuel Margoliouth
• 1931–1934 Edward Douglas Maclagan [38]
• 1928–1931 Lawrence Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland [39]
• 1925–1928 Edward Douglas Maclagan [38]
• 1922-1925 Lord Chalmers
• 1921–1922 Sir Richard Carnac Temple, 2nd Baronet
1893–1921 Donald James Mackay, 11th Lord Reay
• 1890–1893 Thomas George Baring
• 1887–1890 Thomas Francis Wade
• 1884–1887 William Muir
• 1882–1884 Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere (2nd term)
• 1881 Sir Thomas Edward Colebrooke[40]
• 1878–1881 Henry Creswicke Rawlinson
• 1875–1878 Sir Thomas Edward Colebrooke[40][41]
• 1872–1875 Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere
• 1869–1871 Henry Creswicke Rawlinson
• 1867–1869 Percy Smythe, 8th Viscount Strangford
• 1864–1867 Sir Thomas Edward Colebrooke[40]
• 1861–1864 Percy Smythe, 8th Viscount Strangford
• 1858 William Henry Sykes
• 1855–1858 Horace Hayman Wilson
• 1852–1855 William Baring, 2nd Baron Ashburton
• 1849–1852 Lord Ellesmere
• 1843–1849 Earl of Auckland [42]
• 1842–1843 Lord Fitzgerald and Vesey[43] (died in office)
• 1841–1842 George Augustus Frederick Fitzclarence (died in office)
• 1823–1841 Charles Williams-Wynn

See also

• Fellows of The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
• Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
• Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka
• Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
• Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch
• Royal Asiatic Society China


1. The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations, 2nd edition, Market House Books Ltd and Oxford University Press, 1998, ed. Judy Pearsall, Sara Tulloch et. al., p. 175
2. Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage 2011, Debrett's Peerage Ltd, p. 26
3. The International Who's Who of Women 2002, 3rd edition, ed. Elizabeth Sleeman, Europa Publications, p. xi
4. Who's Who in Malaysia and Singapore, John Victor Morais, 1973, p. 423
5. G. H. Noehden (1824). "Report of the Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, at Its First General Meeting, on the 15th of March, 1823". Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 1 (1): vii–x. JSTOR 25581688.
6. Lane-Poole, Stanley (1887). "Colebrooke, Henry Thomas (DNB00)" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 11. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
7. The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany for April 1824, p. 473 online at (accessed 28 January 2008)
8. Ireland, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and (1834). Regulations for the Royal Asiatic Society. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 1. p. xxi.
9. The History of British India: A Chronology, John F. Riddick, Praeger, 2006, pp. 231, 255
10. "List of the Members of the Royal Asiatic Society". Advertisement List for the Royal Asiatic Society's Journal. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. New Series. VII. Trübner & Co. 1875. p. 56.
11. "Advertisement List for the Royal Asiatic Society's Journal". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. New Series. IV: 9. 1870.
12. Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 16, Asiatic Society, 1921, pp. x, 40, 164
13. The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, New Series, Vol. 5, Part 1, 1957, p. 141
14. "The Astronomical Observatories of Jai Singh. By G. R. Kaye, F.R.A.S. Published by the Calcutta Superintendent Printing, India, 1918. Price Rs. 14•12 or 23s". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Second Series. 51(3): 427–429. July 1919.
15. "Chinese Secret Societies in Malaya. A Survey of the Triad Society from 1800 to 1900. By Leon Comber B.A., F.R.A.S. pp. viii + 324, Map. Published for the Association for Asian Studies by J. J. Augustin, Locust Valley, New York, 1959. $6.50". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Second Series. 92 (1–2): 82. April 1960.
16. Ireland, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and (26 May 1908). The Charter and Rules of the Royal Asiatic Society.
17. "Anniversary Meeting". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (3/4): 183–185. October 1967. JSTOR 25203014.
18. "Charter, Byelaws and Standing Orders". Royal Asiatic Society. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
19. "Members of the School of History". Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
20. "The Governing Council". British Institute of Persian Studies. Retrieved 5 April2019.
21. "Front Matter". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Third Series. 20 (4). October 2010. JSTOR 40926235.
22. "Editor's Foreword" (PDF). Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Third Series. 22(1): 1. January 2012.
23. "Anniversary Meeting". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Third Series. 10 (3): 445–450. November 2000. doi:10.1017/S1356186300013341. JSTOR 25188074.
24. "About Us – Royal Asiatic Society". Retrieved 4 April2018.
25. "Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland". JSTOR. Retrieved 13 August2018.
26. "The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland Report and Accounts for the Year Ending 31 December 2003". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 14 (3): 307–319. 2004. doi:10.1017/S135618630400464X.
27. Introduction to Travels of Ibn Batuta
28. "Search Result". Microform Academic Publishers. 20 October 2007. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
29. "Governance". Royal Asiatic Society. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
30. "Governance – Royal Asiatic Society".
31. ... s-2012.pdf
32. "Dr Gordon Johnson - Wolfson College Cambridge". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
33. "Anthony John Stockwell - Royal Holloway, University of London". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
34. Zinkin, Maurice; Malik, Iftikhar (1998). "Frank Steele, OBE". Asian Affairs. 29 (2): 253. doi:10.1080/714041357.
35. ... Bailey.pdf
36. "AIM25 collection description". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
37. "The Journal Of The Royal Asiatic Society 1937". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
38. Jump up to:a b Winstedt, R. O. (1953). "Sir Edward Maclagan K.C.S.I., K.C.I.E." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland. 85 (1–2): 90. doi:10.1017/S0035869X00106239. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
39. Sardella, Ferdinando. Modern Hindu Personalism: The History, Life, and Thought of Bhaktisiddhanta . p. 152.
40. Dictionary of Indian Biography. p. 88.
41. Colebrooke, Thomas Edward (4 April 1877). "Royal Asiatic Society. Proceedings of the Fifty-Third Anniversary Meeting of the Society, Held on the 29th of May, 1876". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 9 (2): I–LXIII. JSTOR 25581275.
42. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland. 1843. p. 23.
43. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland. 1842.

Some Society publications

• "Charter of Incorporation of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. pp 25–27, 1957.
• Beckingham, C.F. Centenary Volume of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1823-1923. Pargiter, F.E. (ed.) Published by the Society, 1923, London.
• Mashita, Hiroyuki. Theology, Ethics and Metaphysics: Royal Asiatic Society Classics of Islam. Routledge Publishing, 2003.
• Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. B. W. Robinson. Persian Paintings in the Collection of the Royal Asiatic Society Routledge, 1998.
• Rost, Reinhold. "Miscellaneous Papers Relating to Indo-China and the Indian Archipelago" Reprinted for the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, from the "Journals" of the Royal Asiatic, Bengal Asiatic, and Royal Geographical Societies; the "Transactions" and "Journal" of the Asiatic Society of Batavia ... Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland Malayan Branch Published by Trübner & co., 1887.
• Tritton, Arthur Stanley. Muslim Theology... Royal Asiatic Society by Luzac, 1947.
• Winternitz, Moriz (compiled), Frederick William Thomas (appendix). A Catalogue of South Indian Sanskrit Manuscripts: Especially Those of the Whish Collection Belonging to the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland Library. Whish Collection, 1902.

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

• Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 1. Contributor Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press for the Royal Asiatic Society. 1834. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. North China Branch, Shanghai (1877). Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volumes 11-12. Kelly & Walsh. Archived from the original on 11 November 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, Volume 17. Contributor Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press for the Royal Asiatic Society. 1885. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, Volume 19. Contributor Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press for the Royal Asiatic Society. 1887. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. North China Branch, Shanghai (1890). Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume 24. Contributor China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Kelly & Walsh. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Journal of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society for the Year ..., Volumes 24-25. Contributor Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. China Branch. The Branch. 1890. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volumes 26-27. Contributor Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. North-China Branch. The Branch. 1894. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
• Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. North China Branch, Shanghai (1894). Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volumes 26-27. Kelly & Walsh. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
• Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. North China Branch, Shanghai, China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. China Branch, Shanghai Literary and Scientific Society (1898). Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volumes 28-29. Kelly & Walsh. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume 29. Contributor Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. North-China Branch. The Branch. 1895. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Journal of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society for the Year ..., Volume 29. Contributor Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. China Branch. The Branch. 1895. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Journal of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society for the Year ..., Volume 30, Issue 1. Contributor Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. China Branch. The Branch. 1897. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volumes 31-33. Contributor Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Straits Branch. Singapore: Printed At The American Mission Press. 1898. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 1. Parbury. 1827. Retrieved 24 April 2014.


• Kidd, Samuel (1838). Catalogue of the Chinese Library of the Royal Asiatic Society. J.W. Parker. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Library, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London. Library (1893). Catalogue of the Library of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1893. By the Society. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Straits Branch (1887). Miscellaneous papers relating to Indo-China and Indian archipelage: reprinted for the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Second Series, Volume 1. Second Series. Trübner. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Straits Branch; Reinhold Rost (1887). Miscellaneous Papers Relating to Indo-China: Reprinted for the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society from Dalrymple's "Oriental Repertory," and the "Asiatic Researches" and "Journal" of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Volume 1. Trübner's Oriental series. Trübner & Company. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Miscellaneous papers relating to Indo-China and the Indian Archipelago, reprinted for the Straits branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. VOL II. TRÜBNER & CO. July 1886. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Rost, Reinhold, ed. (1887). Miscellaneous Papers Relating to Indo-China and the Indian Archipelago, Volume 2. Trübner's oriental series. Volume 2 of Miscellaneous Papers Relating to Indo-China and the Indian Archipelago: Reprinted for the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, from the "Journals" of the Royal Asiatic, Bengal Asiatic, and Royal Geographical Societies; the "Transactions" and "Journal" of the Asiatic Society of Batavia; and the "Malayan Miscellanies" : Second Series, Miscellaneous Papers Relating to Indo-China and the Indian Archipelago: Reprinted for the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, from the "Journals" of the Royal Asiatic, Bengal Asiatic, and Royal Geographical Societies; the "Transactions" and "Journal" of the Asiatic Society of Batavia; and the "Malayan Miscellanies" : Second Series. Contributor Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (2 ed.). Trübner. Archived from the original on 20 June 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
• Leyden, John. (2013). Miscellaneous Papers Relating to Indo-China and the Indian Archipelago, Reprinted for the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. London: Forgotten Books. (Original work published 1886)
References relating to the Society and noted Fellows[edit]
• Finn, Elizabeth Anne McCaul. Reminiscences of Mrs. Finn, Member of the Royal Asiatic Society. Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1929.
• Hunter, William Wilson. Life of Brian Houghton Hodgson: British Resident at the Court of Nepal, Member of the Institute of France; Fellow of the Royal Society; a Vice-president of the Royal Asiatic Society, Etc. J. Murray, 1896.
• Simmonds, Stuart, Simon Digby. "The Royal Asiatic Society: its history and treasures": In commemoration of the sesquicentenary year of the foundation of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. E. J. Brill, 1979.
• Skrine, Francis Henry, William Wilson Hunter. Life of Sir William Wilson Hunter, K.C.S.I., M.A., LL.D., a Vice-president of the Royal Asiatic Society. Longmans, Green, and Co., 1901.
• Taintor, Edward C. "The Aborigines of Northern Formosa: A Paper Read Before the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society." Customs Press: Shanghai, 18 June 1874.

External links

• Royal Asiatic Society website
• Charter of Incorporation of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
• Hong Kong branch
• Malaysian branch
• North China Branch Journal (Full texts of older editions online.)
• South Korean branch
• Shanghai branch
• Sri Lanka branch


The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland

Site Admin
Posts: 33501
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:53 am

British Academy
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/29/19



The British Academy
Formation 1902
Type National academy
Legal status Charity
Headquarters London, England
Sir David Cannadine
Website Edit this at Wikidata

The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and the social sciences. It was established in 1902 and received its royal charter in the same year. It is now a fellowship of more than 1,000 leading scholars spanning all disciplines across the humanities and social sciences and a funding body for research projects across the United Kingdom. The academy is a self-governing and independent registered charity, based at 10–11 Carlton House Terrace in London.

The British Academy is funded with an annual grant from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). In 2014/15 the British Academy's total income was £33,100,000, including £27,000,000 from BIS. £32,900,000 was distributed during the year in research grants, awards and charitable activities.[1]


The British Academy's premises on Carlton House Terrace

The academy states that it has five fundamental purposes:

• To speak up for the humanities and the social sciences
• To invest in the very best researchers and research
• To inform and enrich debate around society's greatest questions
• To ensure sustained international engagement and collaboration
• To make the most of the Academy's assets to secure the Academy for the future.[2]


The British Academy's royal seal depicts the Greek muse Clio. She was redrawn by designer and illustrator Debbie Cook in 2008.

The creation of a "British Academy for the Promotion of Historical, Philosophical and Philological Studies" was first proposed in 1899 in order that Britain could be represented at meetings of European and American academies. The organisation, which has since become simply "the British Academy", was initiated as an unincorporated society on 17 December 1901, and received its Royal Charter from King Edward VII on 8 August 1902.[3]

Since then, many of Britain's most distinguished scholars in the humanities and social sciences have been involved in the life of the academy, including John Maynard Keynes, Isaiah Berlin, C. S. Lewis and Henry Moore.

Until 1927–28 the academy had no premises. Then it moved to some rooms in No. 6 Burlington Gardens. In 1968 it moved the short distance to Burlington House. It subsequently moved to headquarters near Regent's Park. Then in 1998 the Academy moved to its present headquarters in Carlton House Terrace. Overlooking St James's Park, the terrace was designed by John Nash and built in the 1820s and 1830s. Number 10 was formerly the London residence of the Ridley family and number 11 was from 1856 to 1875 the home of Prime Minister William Gladstone.[4]

In March 2010, the academy embarked on a £2.75m project to renovate and restore the public rooms in No. 11, following the departure of former tenant the Foreign Press Association, and link the two buildings together. The work was completed in January 2011 and the new spaces include a new 150-seat Wolfson Auditorium are available for public hire. In addition to offices for its staff 10 - 11 Carlton House Terrace is used for academy conferences and events [5] and parts of the building are available on a private hire basis for events [6]

The history, problems and achievements of the academy have been recorded in works by two of its secretaries. Sir Frederic Kenyon's volume of 37 pages covers the years up to 1951;[7] Sir Mortimer Wheeler's volume covers the years 1949 to 1968.[8]


Main articles: Fellow of the British Academy and List of Fellows of the British Academy

Professor Mary Beard, Fellow of the British Academy, filming in Rome, Italy

Rowan Williams, Fellow of the British Academy

Election as a Fellow of the British Academy recognises high scholarly distinction in the humanities or social sciences, evidenced by published work. Fellows may use the letters FBA after their names. Fellows are elected into one of the following disciplinary sections:[9]


• Classical Antiquity
• Theology and Religious Studies
• African and Oriental Studies
• Linguistics and Philology
• Early Modern Languages and Literatures
• Modern Languages, Literatures and other Media
• Archaeology
• Medieval Studies
• Early Modern History to c1800
• Modern History from c1800
• History of Art and Music
• Philosophy
• Culture, Media and Performance

Social Sciences

• Law
• Economics and Economic History
• Anthropology and Geography
• Sociology, Demography and Social Statistics
• Political Studies: Political Theory, Government and International Relations
• Psychology
• Management and Business Studies

There is also an Education 'ginger group'.

Funding schemes

The British Academy has awarded prizes of £4,000 to 15 schools across the UK for encouraging innovative and creative foreign language teaching under the Schools Language Awards.

The British Academy channels substantial public funding into support for individuals and organisations pursuing humanities and social sciences research and scholarship in the UK and overseas. These funding schemes are designed to aid scholars at different stages of their academic career and include postdoctoral fellowships, Wolfson Research Professorships, Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships, small research grants and British Academy Research Projects.

In addition to its main public funds supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the academy also draws on private funds arising from gifts, legacies, contributions made by fellows and grants from research foundations to support a further range of research activities. In 2014/15, the academy received around £30m to support research and researchers across the humanities and social sciences. Funds available to the academy were invested in the following main areas: research career development; a portfolio of research grant opportunities, and international engagement. The demand and quality of applications submitted for academy funding remains high. This year the academy received around 3,600 applications and made 588 awards to scholars based in around 100 different universities across the UK – a success rate of 16 per cent.

International work

British School at Athens, one of the six major British overseas research institutes supported by the British Academy.

In order to promote the interests of UK research and learning around the world, the Academy works to create frameworks to support international networking and collaboration and develop the role of humanities and social sciences research in tackling global challenges. It draws on expertise from a wide range of sources from within the fellowship and on specialist advice from its seven Area Panels for Africa, China, the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, and Latin America/Caribbean.[10]

The Academy also funds and coordinates a network of overseas institutes which provide local expertise, logistical support and often a working base for UK scholars. These include research institutes in Amman, Ankara, Athens, Jerusalem, Nairobi, Rome and Tehran, as well as UK-based specialist learned societies which run strategic research programmes in other parts of the world including Africa, Latin America and South and South East Asia.[11]

Higher education and research

As the UK's national voice for the humanities and social sciences, the British Academy seeks to promote and protect the interests and health of these disciplines and their research base. It makes independent representations to the government and other bodies on relevant higher education and research issues, contributes statements and submissions to formal consultations and organises a range of policy events and discussions, liaising regularly with learned societies, universities, national academies and other relevant organisations.

British Academy's policy work

The British Academy's Fellowship represents breadth and excellence of expertise across these disciplines, and the Academy's policy work is dedicated to applying that insight to policy issues for public benefit and societal well being. The goal is to enlighten the context, meaning and practicalities of policy challenges. This work is meant to bring independence, authority and objectivity to complex issues, such as public policy, skills, education and research. From reports to small meetings, the British Academy provides a forum for examining issues that are important for the society and the economy.

Public events

Three of the speakers at a British Academy panel discussion, "Where are all the women?"

The British Academy organises a wide-ranging annual programme of more than 50 public lectures, panel discussions, conferences and seminars showcasing new research and debating topical issues. This includes a number of long-established lecture series, such as the Shakespeare Lecture, first given in 1911.[12] Most events are free and most take place at the Academy's headquarters in Carlton House Terrace[13]

Award of prizes

Main article: Awards of the British Academy

The President's Medal rewards signal service to the cause of the humanities and social sciences.

The British Academy awards a total of 15 prizes and medals, most of them awarded annually.[14]

• British Academy President's Medal, created in 2010 and awarded to up to five recipients each year who have demonstrated "signal service to the cause of the humanities and social sciences"[15]
• British Academy Medal, created in 2013 and awarded to up to three recipients each year "for landmark academic achievement in any of the humanities and social science disciplines supported by the Academy"[16]
• Burkitt Medal, created in 1923[17]
• Kenyon Medal, first awarded in 1957[18]
• Leverhulme Medal and Prize, created in 2002[19]
• Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding, established in 2013[20]
• Peter Townsend Policy Press Prize, created in 2011[21]
• Wiley Prize in Psychology, first awarded in 2009[22]
• Wiley Prize in Economics, first awarded in 2013[23]
• Brian Barry Prize in Political Science, first awarded in 2014[24]
• Serena Medal, first awarded in 1920[25]
• Edward Ullendorff Medal, first awarded in 2012[26]
• Rose Mary Crawshay Prize, first awarded in 1916[27]
• Grahame Clark Medal, first awarded in 1993[28]
• Sir Israel Gollancz Prize, first awarded in 1925[29]
• Landscape Archaeology Medal, first awarded in 2007[30]
• Neil & Saras Smith Medal for Linguistics, first awarded in 2014[31]
• Derek Allen Prize, first awarded in 1977[32]

Presidents of the British Academy, 1902–present

• The Lord Reay 1902–1907
• Sir Edward Maunde Thompson 1907–1909
• Samuel Henry Butcher1909–1910
• Sir Adolphus Ward1911–1913
• The Viscount Bryce1913–1917
• Sir Frederic Kenyon1917–1921
• The Earl of Balfour1921–1928
• H. A. L. Fisher 1928–1932
• John William Mackail1932–1936
• Sir David Ross 1936–1940
• Sir J. H. Clapham1940–1946
• Sir Idris Bell 1946–1950
• Sir Charles Kingsley Webster 1950–1954
• Sir George Norman Clark 1954–1958
• Sir Maurice Bowra1958–1962
• The Lord Robbins1962–1967
• Sir Kenneth Clinton Wheare 1967–1971
• Sir Denys Lionel Page1971–1974
• Sir Isaiah Berlin 1974–1978
• Sir Kenneth Dover1978–1981
• Owen Chadwick1981–1985
• Sir Randolph Quirk1985–1989
• Sir Anthony Kenny1989–1993
• Sir Keith Thomas1993–1997
• Sir Tony Wrigley1997–2001
• The Viscount Runciman of Doxford2001–2004
• The Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve 2005–2009
• Sir Adam Roberts2009–2013
• The Lord Stern of Brentford 2013–2017
• Sir David Cannadine2017–present

Secretaries of the British Academy, 1902–present

• Sir Israel Gollancz(1902–1930)
• Sir Frederic G. Kenyon (1930–1949)
• Sir Mortimer Wheeler(1949–1968)
• Derek Allen (1969–1973)
• N. J. Williams (1973–1977)
• J. P. Carswell (1978–1983)
• P. W. H. Brown (1983–2006)
• Robin Jackson (2006–2015)
• Alun Evans (2015–present)


Lectures and conferences papers

• British Academy Original Paperbacks
• British Academy Occasional Papers
• Proceedings of the British Academy
• Reissues of proceedings lectures
• Schweich Lectures on Biblical Archaeology
• Symposia
• Thank-Offering to Britain Fund Lectures


• Archaeological reports (including BAMA)
• British Academy Centenary Monographs
• Miscellaneous research publications
• Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs
• Supplemental papers

Research series

• Anglo-Saxon Charters
• Auctores Britannici Medii Aevi
• Classical and Medieval Logic Texts
• Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture
• Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani
• Corpus vasorum antiquorum
• Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi
• Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources
• Early English Church Music
• English Episcopal Acta
• Fontes Historiae Africanae
• Oriental and African Archives
• Oriental Documents
• Records of Social and Economic History
• Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles
• Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
• Tabula Imperii Romani

See also

• Category:Fellows of the British Academy
• Royal Society


1. British Academy Annual Report 2014–15. Download: "Annual reports". Retrieved 17 January 2018.
2. British Academy Strategy Plan 2018-2022. Download:"The British Academy Strategic Plan 2018-2022". Retrieved 17 January 2018.
3. ‘The British Academy 1902–2002: Some Historical Notes and Documents’, British Academy, 2002
4. Syrett, Karen (31 May 2018). "The Secret History of 10-11 Carlton House Terrace". The British Academy. London.
7. Frederic G. Kenyon, ‘The British Academy: The First Fifty Years’, foreword by Sir Charles Webster, Oxford University Press, 1952
8. ‘The British Academy 1949–1968’, Oxford University Press, 1970
9. "Sections – British Academy". Retrieved 2 January2019.
10. "The British Academy International Work".
11. "British International Research Institutes".
12. "Shakespeare Lectures".
13. "The British Academy's events".
14. "The British Academy's Prizes and Medals".
15. "The British Academy President's Medal".
16. "The British Academy Medal".
17. "Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies".
18. "Kenyon Medal".
19. "Leverhulme Medal & Prize".
20. "Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding".
21. "Peter Townsend Prize".
22. "Wiley Prize in Psychology".
23. "Wiley Prize in Economics".
24. "Brian Barry Prize in Political Science".
25. "Serena Medal".
26. "Edward Ullendorff Medal".
27. "Rose Mary Crawshay Prize".
28. "Grahame Clark Medal".
29. "Sir Israel Gollancz Prize".
30. "Landscape Archaeology Medal".
31. "Neil & Saras Smith Medal for Linguistics".
32. "Derek Allen Prize".

External links

• Official website
• Carlton House Terrace
Site Admin
Posts: 33501
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:16 am

Sumangala [Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Maha Nayake Thera] [Don Niculus Gunawardhana] [Bikkhu Sumangala Nayake]
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 10/29/19

The High Priest Sumangala] - his last portrait

H. S. Olcott and the Venerable H. Sumangala at Widyodaya College in Ceylon

The Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thero or Sumangala Unnanse was a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk or bhikkhu, who was a distinguished scholar and Buddhist High Priest of Ceylon. He pioneered in the Sri Lankan Buddhist revivalist movement in the 19th century, and worked closely with Col. Olcott to establish Buddhist schools. He served as Vice President of the Theosophical Society from 1881 to 1888. "Venerable," "Sri," "thero," and "Unnanse" are honorific terms.

Early years and education

Sumanagala was born January 20, 1827 in the village of Hikkaduwa in the Galle district of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). His name at birth was Don Niculus Gunawardhana. Don Johannes de Silva Abeyeware Gunawardana was his father. The boy was educated in Sinhala and Pāli at the village school, later learning Samskṛṭ under a Brahman from India. As a five-year-old he was already dedicated to the monastery. At the age of 13 he entered an order of Buddhist monks at the Thotagamuwa Raja Maha Vihara at Hikkaduwa, and at 21 he was accorded a higher ordination. "It is said that he astonished his examiner by the profundity of his scholarship, the wide range of his reading, and the ease with which he handled both Samskṛṭ and Pāli.

Work as a priest

Sumangala was a priest for the rest of his life.

After his ordination he returned to his native village of Hikkaduwa, where he was at once appointed as tutor to the monks. There he spent twelve years, at the end of which he was transferred to a higher appointment at Galle, where he passed the next six years as priest in charge of the temple, but always continuing his work as tutor. He seems to have had a special genius for languages, and furthermore to have had the faculty of teaching himself from books with remarkably little external assistance. In this was he learned Elu, the classical language of Ceylon; in this way also he acquired a working knowledge of English and French which enabled him to read them without difficulty, though his conversation in them was never fluent.

After he had been six years at Galle, he was elected High Priest of the Srīpaḍa - the temple of the Holy Foot-Print on the mountain of Adam's Peak. A few years later he was also made High Priest of the District of Galle, and was at the same time appointed as Examiner -in-Chief of the candidates for ordination in Ceylon.[1]

Work in education

In 1873, Sumangala founded the Vidyodaya Pirivena, a monastic college at Maligakanda, that was granted the university status late in 1959 by the Government of Sri Lanka as Vidyodaya University (now known as the University of Sri Jayewardenepura). He was Principle during the rest of his life. The college name was also spelled Widydaya. After he met Colonel Olcott, they worked together to establish dozens of Buddhist schools all over Sri Lanka. Sumangala's pupil Nanissera succeeded him as Principal in 1911.

Buddhist-Christian debate

In 1873, Sumangala and another of the Buddhist bhikkhus, Mohotiwatta Gunananda, participated in a series of debates with Christian missionaries about the merits of their belief systems. Known as the Panadurawadaya, the three days of debates took place at Panadura. Anagarika Dharmapala described the event:

I was fortunate in knowing well the Venerable H. Sri Sumangala... Another Buddhist monk whom, as a friend of my family, I saw nearly every day, was Mohotiwatta Gunanda. He was a golden-tongued orator, winning in personality, and when he spoke, he drew crowds. He defeated the Christians in many debates. When I was ten years old, I attended a great debate in a temple pavilion sixteen miles from Ceylon, where the Christians on one side and Gunananda on the other argued out the truths of their respective religions. In clumsy two-wheeled bullock-carts covered with woven coconut leaves, in the lighter hackeries, in occidental spring carriages and afoot, thousands came from the most distant parts of the island to hear this famous debate. Mohotiwatta Gunanda supplied the oratory; and the Venerable Sumangala furnished him with the scholarly material and references. The debate lasted three entire days.

Dr. J. M. Peebles, an American Spiritualist, who was visiting Colombo at the time, obtained an English report of the controversy between the Buddhists and Christians and, upon his return to the United States showed it to Colonel Henry S. Olcott and Madame H. P. Blavatsky, who had organized the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875. Deeply impressed, they wrote to Gunananda and Sumangala that, in the interest of universal brotherhood, they had just founded a society inspired by oriental philosophies and that they would come to Ceylon to help the Buddhists. The letters from Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky were translated into Sinhalese and widely distributed.[2]

Association with Theosophical Society

Colonel Olcott and Sumangala were friends from their first meeting in 1880. "On his first arrival in Ceylon, Col. Olcott received a warm welcome from the leading representatives of Southern Buddhism and much active support during his lecturing tour. Among these the veteran Sumangala figures prominently, the Colonel referring to him as 'the representative and embodiment of Pali scholarship'."[3] The High Priest was admitted to membership of the Theosophical Society on June 16, 1880.[4]

C. W Leadbeater wrote:

It was the High Priest who speeded the Colonel on his way on his great mission to Japan in 1889, and he was the first to welcome him on his return. It was at that time that the Colonel obtained the assent of the leaders, both of the Southern and the Northern Church of Buddhism, to the platform of fourteen great principles which he drew up as containing the fundamentals of the Buḍḍhist religion; and in this way he brought together the followers of the Greater and the Lesser Vehicles... It was the High Priest Sumangala who received me into the Buḍḍhist communion in the year 1884, and I always found him wise, friendly and helpful during the years when I was working for Buḍḍhism in Ceylon.[5]

The High Priest assisted in the compilation of the Buddhist Catechism; certified the orthodoxy of Olcott's interpretation of Buddhism; and ordered 100 copies of the Sinhalese language version for use in his college. He took the trouble to thank Dominique Albert Courmes for translating the work into French.

Leadbeater regarded Sumangala as highly distinguished.

The High Priest was never a Theosophist in the sense of reading Theosophical books, of delivering Theosophical lecturers or of studying the mechanism of rings and rounds and planetary chains; yet he was for many years one of the Honorary Vice-Presidents of our Society, and Chairman of the Buḍḍhist Monks' Theosophical Association... Yet no one could be more Theosophical in life than was this religious Potentate of the East - a man at once shrewd and simple, saintly yet statesmanlike, and never failing in gentleness and kindness.[6]

Sumangala was a voluminous writer. He corresponded with scholars, and became a close associate of Sir Edwin Arnold the author of The Light of Asia.[7] He developed close friendships with Professor Max Müller, Professor Rhys Davids, Professor Lanman of Harvard, Sir Monier Williams. and the governors of Ceylon.[8]

Later years

Leadbeater wrote of the High Priest's final days.

When last I saw the High Priest, some six years ago [about 1905], he was already showing the signs of advancing age [then 78], but was quite active, and as keen in mind as ever. Indeed, there seems no reason why he might not have become a centenarian, but for an unfortunate accident. Rising one morning in the dark (as he always did) he somehow missed a step while coming down a short staircase and fell, fracturing his hip-bone. Doctors were immediately summoned, and all that was possible was done for him, but the shock was too much for the aged body, and he passed away from it nine days afterwards, on April 30th in the present year [1911].

The ceremony of his cremation seems to have been a remarkable one, the crowds which appeared to do him honor being said to be the largest ever seen in the streets of Colombo. The leaders of all three sects of Buḍḍhist monks were present on the occasion, and all spoke in high praise of the deceased prelate, agreeing that Buḍḍhism had suffered no such loss as his department for many centuries. The ceremony was enormously prolongued, for almost everyone in that mighty crowd had some little offering to throw upon the funeral pyre - bundles of joss-sticks, pieces of sandal-wood, cubes of camphor or little bottles of perfumery and essential oils. Showers of coins were also cast upon the pyre, and even the poorest of his people were anxious to do something to testify their respect and love for the great leader who had passed away.[9]


1. C. W. L. [Charles Webster Leadbeater], "Theosophical Worthies: The High Priest Sumangala," The Theosophist 32.10 (July, 1911), 565.
2. Anagarika Dharmapala, "On the Eightfold Path: Memories of an Interpreter of Buddhism to the Present-Day World," Asia (September, 1927), 723.
3. "Colonel Olcott and Sumangala" The Theosophist 38.7 (April, 1917), 100-101.
4. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at See book 1, entry 441 (website file: 1A/21).
5. C. W. L., 566.
6. C. W. L., 564.
7. Oxford University, Trübner's American and Oriental Literary Record, Oxford University, 1879.
8. C. W. L., 565-566.
9. C. W. L., 568.


Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera [Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Maha Nayake Thera] [Don Niculus Gunawardhana] [Bikkhu Sumangala Nayake]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/29/19

Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera
Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera
Title Thripitaka Vaagishwaracharya[1]
Chief of Siyam Nikaya[1]
Chief Monk of Sri Pada[2]
Chief Monk of Colombo Nawa Korale
Chief Monk of Galle District
Born Niculus Gunawardhana
20 January 1827
Died 29 April 1911 (aged 84)
Religion Buddhism
Nationality Sri Lankan
School Theravada
Lineage Siyam Nikaya
Education Parama Dhamma Chetiya Pirivena, Ratmalana
Senior posting
Teacher Walane Sri Siddhartha Maha Thera.

Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera (Sinhala: හික්කඩුවේ ශ්‍රි සුමංගල නාහිමි; 20 January 1827 – 29 April 1911) was a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, who was one of the pioneers of Sri Lankan Buddhist revivalist movement in the 19th century.[3] He did a great service to improve the Buddhist Education in the country and was the founder of Vidyodaya Pirivena, Maligakanda in 1873 which was granted the university status later in 1959 by the Government of Sri Lanka.[3] A veteran author and a fiery orator, he was a major figure in the Panadurawadaya, a religious debate held between Christian missionaries and Buddhist monks in 1873 at Panadura, Sri Lanka.[4] He was well versed in Sinhala, Pali, Sanskrit, English, Buddhism, History, Arithmetic, and Archaeology and was one of the primary sources of information on Buddhism for the success of the Panadura debate.[5]


The birth name of Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera was Don Niculus Gunawardhana.[6] He was born on 20 January 1827 to the family of Don Johanis Abeyweera Gunawardhana Maha Liyana Arachchi Ralahamy and his wife Dandangoda Gamage Christina Hamine of Hettigoda, Hikkaduwa in Galle District. He was the 5th in his family and was baptized according with the general practice prevailed at the time.[1] Young Niculus received his primary education in Sinhala and Pali from the village temple, Hettigoda Thilakarama temple, Hikkaduwa under the tutelage of Ven. Hikkaduwe Sobitha Nayaka Thera and Ven. Mabotuwana Revata Nayaka Thera.

According to astrological predictions on young Niculus's horoscope, his parents decided to ordain him in the order of Buddhist monks as a 'samanera'.[7]. Thus at the age of 9 he was ordained under Arungamuwe Rewatha Thero of Thotagamuwa Raja Maha Vihara at Hikkaduwa and was given the Dharma name of "Hikkaduwe Sumangala"[7]. From his childhood he was an eloquent speaker and a very good writer. After four years since becoming a monk he received further education from monk Ven. Pannamgoda Jethuthara Thera and Ven. Bowala Dhammananda Thera. He acquired proficiency in English from John Coranelis Abayawardana, a renowned English scholar in the area. In 1844 the responsibility of Samanera Sumangala was transferwd to Rev. Walane Sri Siddartha thero. From then onward he was positioned at the renown Parama Dhamma Chethiya monastry in Rathmalana. He was not satisfied with just the knowledge he received from the monastery, he proceeded to learn Sanskrit, and subjects such as logic from a Brahmin named Kashinatha.[7]

In 1848 he obtained higher ordination of Upasampada from the Malwatte Chapter, Kandy. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera received his higher education from Parama Dhamma Chetiya Pirivena in Ratmalana, under the guidance of Walane Sri Siddhartha Mahathera.[6] Ratmalane Sri Dharmaloka Thera was one of his contemporaries at Parama Dhamma Chetiya Pirivena. After gaining the higher ordination of Upasampada he dedicated his life for the betterment of the world. He provided his services as a teacher at Parama Dhamma Chethiya Pirivena, Hikkaduwe Thilakaramaya, Bogahawatte Sudarshana Paramananda Viharaya, Kotahene Paramananda Viharaya. In 1872, in accordance to an invitation made by the Kotahena Paramananda Viharaya, he came to Colombo[8]

Most Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott in Colombo, 1889.

In 1864 he was appointed as the Chief priest of the Sripada (Adam's peak), the holy mountain of Sri Lanka.[6] With this appointment he was unanimously recognized as the foremost Buddhist monk in the whole island.[2] Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala thera was well versed in Sinhala, Pali, Sanskrit and English languages and also had a very good knowledge in Buddhism, History, Arithmetic and Archaeology. He wrote many books in these subjects and was a leading figure of the Panadura debate (Panadurawadaya) held in 1873. It was after reading a report of this debate that Colonel Henry Steele Olcott visited Sri Lanka. Colonel Olcott learnt Buddhism and Pali under Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera, who guided him to establish many Buddhist schools in Sri Lanka, such as Ananda College, Colombo (1886), Mahinda College, Galle (1892) and Dharmaraja College, Kandy (1887). It was also in the presence of Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera, C. W. Leadbeater, an influential member of the Theosophical Society repeated the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts of Buddhism and became a Buddhist.[9]

In 1885 with the donation of a land area in Hunupitiya Colombo by, H.L.De Mel, a non Buddhist, he was able to establish the Gangarama Temple. He also took measures to bring down a part of the Sri maha bodhi from Anuradhapura and Plant it amidst the Gangarama Temple premises for worship. He was the chief monk of the Gangarama Temple and upon his demise he was succeeded by Rev. Devundara Sri Jinarathana Thero.

Most Ven Thera's Walking Stick kept in Galle National Museum.

Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera was the chairman of the 'Colombo Committee' which originally designed the Buddhist flag in 1885.[10] Sri Sumangala thera was also a pioneer in Buddhist news paper journalism in Sri Lanka. The paper "Lankaloka" was started by him and afterwards he assisted the local Buddhist community to publish papers such as "Sarasavisandaresa" and "Sinhala Bauddhaya". He was well honored an awarded many titles by Sri Lankans as well as the people of many other countries in the East and the West. Reputed and renowned institutions in Ireland, Italy, Hungary and Germany also bestowed felicitation degrees on him.[1] After rendering a yeoman service to the Buddhasasana, Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera died on 29 April 1911, at the age of 84.

Positions Held

• Chief monk of the Sri Pada
• Chief priest of Southern Sri Lanka
• Chief priest of Colombo Nawa Koralaya
• Adviser of the Parama Vingnartha Society
• Adviser of the Mahabodhi Society

Literary works

• Brahma Dharmaya
• Warna Reethi (1873)
• Masarthu Lakshana (1858)
• Translation of Mahavamsa to Sinhalese (1847)[6]
• Sidath Sangara Sannasa
• Kavya Shekhara Sannasa
• Balawatharatikawa
• Pali Namapada Malawa

See also

• Buddhist flag
• Gangaramaya Temple
• Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera
• Ratmalane Sri Dharmaloka Thera
• Seema Malaka
• Weligama Sri Sumangala Thera
• Yagirala Pannananda


1. Peiris, Gopitha (April 2006). "Most Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera remembered". Daily News Online. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
2. Founder of vidyodaya pirivena most ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Maha Nayake Thera, Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana, Daily News
3. Wijetunge, Ratna (29 April 2009). "The great Buddhist revivalist". Daily News Online. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
4. Goonatilake, Hema (May 30, 2010). "Edwin Arnold and the Sri Lanka connection". Sunday Times. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
5. Defeating Adversaries: Wadeehasinha Migettuwaththe Gunananda Thera, Lankaweb, Dr. Daya Hewapathirane
6. Bhikkhu Ratana (22 April 2009). "Challenge to British power". Daily News. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
7. Amaratunge, Sampath (2018). Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nahimipanan wahansege charithaya, mehewara ha Dharshanaya. Nugegoda, Sri Lanka: university of Sri Jayewardenepura. p. 2.
8. Amaratunge, Sampath (2018). Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nahimipanan wahansege charithaya, mehewara ha Dharshanaya. University Sri Jayewardenepura. p. 3.
9. Oliveira, Pedro. "BIO". CWL World.
10. Jayasekera, Upali S. (10 May 2002). "Who designed the Buddhist Flag?". The Island. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
Site Admin
Posts: 33501
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Articles & Essays

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests