Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Bocking B.
2016 April
A Buddhist Crossroads: Pioneer Western Buddhists and Asian Networks 1860-1960
Flagging up Buddhism: Charles Pfoundes (Omoie Tetzunostzuke) among the international congresses and expositions, 1893-1905
Optional Fields
2015 Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved. Charles James William Pfoundes (1840-1907), a young emigrant from Southeast Ireland, spent most of his adult life in Japan, received a Japanese name 'Omoie Tetzunostzuke', first embraced and then turned against Theosophy and, from 1893, was ordained in several Japanese Buddhist traditions. Lacking independent means but educated, intellectually curious, entrepreneurial, fluent in Japanese and with a keen interest in Asian culture, Pfoundes subsisted as a cultural intermediary, explaining Japan and Asia to both Japanese and foreign audiences and actively seeking involvement in global expositions and congresses, in Asia and beyond. Drawing on a previously unstudied collection of Pfoundes' personal documents, this paper first outlines Pfoundes' unusual career and then focuses on his engagement, in the last 15 years of his life, in actual or proposed international congresses and expositions in London, Chicago, Japan, Hanoi, St Louis and Oregon. The paper thereby draws attention, through the forgotten figure of Charles Pfoundes, to the distinctive nineteenth century phenomenon of great international expositions and their associated congresses, viewing these complicated events as another kind of crossroads; innovative nodes and material stimuli to the kinds of travel, cultural communication and interaction which, like monastic, trade, political and ethnic networks, helped to exchange and promote modern representations of Buddhism.
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