Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Brian Bocking
SOAS Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions/SOAS Buddhist Forum
'The forgotten first London Buddhist mission, 1889-1892: Charles J W Pfoundes and the kaigai senkyōkai'.
SOAS, University of London
Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures
Optional Fields

According to every scholarly account of the introduction of Buddhism to the West, the first London Buddhist mission was that of the British monk Ananda Metteyya (Allan Bennett, 1872-1923) who arrived in London in 1908 on a visit sponsored by a wealthy Burmese Buddhist laywoman. However, an earlier Buddhist mission has just been discovered, that of Omoi Tetsunosuke (Charles Pfoundes, 1840-1907), an Irish emigrant who arrived in Japan in 1863, became fluent in Japanese and lived through the Meiji Restoration. Between 1889-1892, Pfoundes headed a Buddhist mission in London, acting on behalf of the Japanese Buddhist missionary organisation the kaigai senkyōkai. This mission, so long forgotten, has been rediscovered in the past few months through collaborative research undertaken by Yoshinaga Shin’ichi (Japan) and Laurence Cox and Brian Bocking (Ireland).