Tuesday, 18 January 2011

From Irish hobo to Burmese Buddhist: celebrating the centenary of U Dhammaloka's trial for sedition

'Dhammaloka Day', Saturday 19 February, 2.30-6pm
Boole Lecture Theatre, UCC, Cork:
All welcome, admission free

Dear friends,

Full details of "Dhammaloka Day" are now available on the UCC website at http://www.ucc.ie/en/studyofreligions/dhammaloka-day/ with links to the draft programme, on-line registration (please register if you're hoping to come) and a short video introduction by Prof. Brian Bocking on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mUil5bVPsI.

'Dhammaloka Day' celebrates the centenary of "The Irish Buddhist's" 1911 trial for sedition in colonial Burma. It is also the Irish launch of the special issue of the journal Contemporary Buddhism (Vol. 11, no.2, 2010) on the remarkable and unjustly forgotten figure of U Dhammaloka, a Dublin-born migrant worker who was one of the first Europeans to become a Buddhist monk and a famous opponent of Christian missionaries.

Atheist, autodidact, temperance campaigner and Buddhist revivalist, Dhammaloka was supported in Japan by Letitia Jephson of Mallow, denounced in Singapore by journalist Edward Alexander Morphy of Killarney and tried for sedition in Burma by Justice Daniel H. R. Twomey of Carrigtwohill.

Famous throughout South-East Asia in his time, Dhammaloka travelled extensively between 1900-1914 in colonial Burma, Siam, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaya, Japan, China, Ceylon, India and Nepal and beyond. He was an active correspondent of the freethought journals of the day, and his "Buddhist Tract Society" reprinted, among others, the works of Thomas Paine in Burmese.

This unique event features an international line-up of scholars including Prof. Thomas Tweed from Austin, Texas (author of The American Encounter with Buddhism), Dr Alicia Turner from Toronto (editor of the Journal of Burma Studies), Dr Elizabeth Harris from Liverpool (author of Theravada Buddhism and the British Encounter), Dr Laurence Cox from Maynooth (co-editor of Interface: a journal for and about social movements) and Prof. Brian Bocking from Cork (chair of Ireland's first Department of the Study of Religions).

The provisional programme for the day is:

2 pm: Arrival, Tea and coffee

2.30: Welcome: Introducing Dhammaloka (Brian Bocking, Study of Religions Dept., UCC)
2.45: Dhammaloka, "The Irish Pongyi" in colonial Burma (Alicia Turner, Religious Studies, York University Toronto)
3.15: Dhammaloka - atheist, activist, Irish Buddhist (Laurence Cox, Sociology, NUI Maynooth)
3.45: Response: Ananda Metteyya and U Dhammaloka (Elizabeth Harris, Theology and Religious Studies, Liverpool Hope)

4.00 tea / coffee break -

4.30: Dhammaloka's Irish connections: Letitia Jephson, Edward Morphy, Daniel Twomey (Brian Bocking)
5.00: Dhammaloka in context: globalising Buddhism at the turn of the 20th century (Thomas Tweed, Religious Studies, North Texas University)
5.30: Discussion
6.00: Close

Information and registration (free): www.ucc.ie/en/studyofreligions/dhammaloka-day
Enquiries: dhammaloka@ucc.ie < mailto:dhammaloka@ucc.ie>
Tel: 021 490 2773