New Book | The Irish Buddhist: the Forgotten Monk who Faced Down the British Empire

Congratulations to Alicia Turner (Humanities) on her just published co-authored book, The Irish Buddhist: the Forgotten Monk who Faced Down the British Empire. It looks at the extraordinary life of U Dhammaloka, an extraordinary Irish emigrant, sailor and hobo who became one of the first Western Buddhist monks and an anti-colonial activist in early twentieth-century Asia. Born in Dublin in the 1850s, Dhammaloka energetically challenged the values and power of the British Empire and scandalized the colonial establishment of the 1900s. Through his story, the authors offer a window into the worlds of ethnic minorities and diasporas, transnational networks, poor whites and social movements. Dhammaloka’s dramatic life rewrites the previously accepted story of how Buddhism became a modern global religion.

The book is result of over 10 years of collaboration on the Dhammaloka project between Alicia, Brian Bocking (University College Cork) and Laurence Cox (National University of Ireland Maynooth). They have been piecing Dhammaloka’s life together since 2009 with a wide range of scholarly collaborators and research assistants. At York, the project was based at YCAR and it was funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Irish Research Council, Dhammakaya Foundation, various York University sources as well as the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences at UCC.

The book was published by Oxford University Press. For more information, visit

You can follow the project at or @DhammalokaU on Twitter.

Read a story on this publication on YFile: