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    Early Western Lay Buddhists in Colonial Asia: John Bowles Daly and the Buddhist Theosophical Society of Ceylon


    Cox, Laurence and Sirisena, Mihirini (2016) Early Western Lay Buddhists in Colonial Asia: John Bowles Daly and the Buddhist Theosophical Society of Ceylon. Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions, 3. pp. 108-139. ISSN 2009-7409

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    Abstract

    The first westerners recorded as becoming lay Buddhists on Asian terms were members of the Buddhist Theosophical Society in Ceylon who took pansil (refuges and precepts) between 1880 to 1907 or later, tied to their work with the BTS’ modernising Buddhist schools. This article uses the life of Dr John Bowles Daly as a lens to explore these “conversions” and the BTS’ educational turn. Daly (c. 1844 – c. 1916), an Irish writer and ex-Anglican curate, played an important role in Buddhist schooling in Ceylon in the early 1890s. The article discusses why western BTS members took pansil and how this was understood, as well as the lack of western bhikkhu (monk) ordinations in Ceylon. The new lay-run schools slowly became established as a suitable object of dana (Buddhist donations) in competition with the traditional temple-run schools, leading in time to the formation of a new lay Sinhala Buddhist elite. These histories show the strong predominance of this elite as against the agendas not only of Daly but the international Theosophical Society.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Buddhist modernism; Ceylon; Theosophy; Buddhist Theosophical Society; education; John Bowles Daly;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 7130
    Depositing User: Dr. Laurence Cox
    Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2016 13:09
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions
    Publisher: Irish Society of the Academic Study of Religions
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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