Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Brian Bocking
Bordering the Borderless: Faces of Modern Buddhism in East Asia
Mirrors in a reflection? Asian Buddhists from colonial Ireland, 1863-1913
Duke University, North Carolina USA
Plenary Lecture
Optional Fields

This paper reflects on some issues of historiography, biography, race, class, identity, and colonialism over a 50-year period in relation to two remarkable individuals originally from Ireland who made Buddhism their religion and Asia their home; Charles J W Pfoundes who came to Japan in 1863 and U Dhammaloka who died probably in Bangkok in 1913. Both men, despite being well-known in their time, bear the distinction of being almost completely omitted from modern Asian and Western histories of modern Buddhism. They have only recently been reintroduced into the historical narrative through international research collaboration relying heavily on new digital resources. In both cases, some remarkable new findings have emerged which suggest a 'rewriting' of the conventional 20th-century account of the development of modern global Buddhism. 

Duke University Asian Pacific Studies Institute (APSI) and Religion and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies departments; Research Institute for Korean Studies at Korea University (RIKS); The Anguk Seon Center Foundation; Young Do Cultural Center Foundation; Duke's Office of Global Strategy and Programs; Arts and Sciences; Triangle Center for Japanese Studies; Carolina Asia Center; Duke Korea Forum