MISS Online: Early Irish Buddhists

Tuesday 1st September, 2020 at 6:30pm (AEST) on Zoom
Brian Bocking, Emeritus Professor of the Study of Religions, University College Cork
A long-lost canvas: early Irish Buddhists in Melbourne

Thousands of fragments of information, loose ends, straight fabrications and apparent contradictions have provided a research window into hitherto unsuspected Buddhist links between Ireland and Australia (and many other places) around the turn of the twentieth century. Through ten years of collaborative research, Alicia Turner (Toronto), Laurence Cox (Maynooth), Brian Bocking (Cork) and Shin’ichi Yoshinaga (Kyoto) have painstakingly reconstructed the careers of Dhammaloka and Charles Pfoundes, two of the most significant international Buddhist pioneers of their time yet entirely lost to history until now. Through the lives of these two remarkable Irish Buddhists I will consider how collaborative research using new digital humanities tools and resources unavailable in the twentieth century has made it possible to overturn traditional ‘top down’ colonial narratives, trace these forgotten figures across multiple countries and continents, rewrite the early history of the ‘global Buddhism’ we see today and cast new light on the variety and influence of Irish religiosity.

Brian Bocking moved from SOAS to University College Cork in 2008 to head up Ireland’s first Study of Religions Department. With Alicia Turner and Laurence Cox he has just published The Irish Buddhist: the Forgotten Monk who Faced Down the British Empire.

The seminar will start at 6:30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (Melbourne); 9:30am Irish Standard Time (Dublin).

For zoom details RSVP: melbirishstudies [at] gmail.com.
For queries contact: melbirishstudies [at] gmail.com or dianne.hall [at] vu.edu.au

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