Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Bocking, B.;
IAHR XXth World Congress 'Religion: A Human Phenomenon' (Toronto)
Paper: 'A Man of Work and Few Words?: Dhammaloka Beyond Burma' in the panel 'Rewriting the History of Early Western Buddhist Monastics'.
Conference Organising Committee Chairperson
Optional Fields

While Dhammaloka's very public career as `the Irish Hpongyee¿ ca.1900-1911 was conducted mainly in Burma, he also travelled extensively in other parts of South and East Asia. Dhammaloka's activities in Singapore, where in 1904 he successfully established a Buddhist Mission and free school, can be documented from several sources. We also have independent evidence of his visit to Tokyo in the Autumn of 1902, from which he emerged a `Lord Abbot', and some information on his several months in Bangkok in 1903. Other reports, still uncorroborated, place Dhammaloka at various times in Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Ceylon, India, Nepal and (less convincingly) in Lhasa and Melbourne. In this paper I review Dhammaloka¿s activities in three very different socio-religious contexts: Japan, Siam and Singapore, during 1902-1905. Japan was an autonomous, emerging imperial power, Singapore was an entrepôt British trading colony and Siam was guarding its independence as an Asian Buddhist kingdom. Unlike in the West, where Buddhism was a novelty and could be made to mean almost anything, Buddhism in one form or another was already well-established in Japan, Siam and Singapore. How did Dhammaloka position himself as a campaigning Irish/European Buddhist cleric in relation to other individuals and institutions in these very different contexts, and how was he received and perceived?