biography, social movements, religious movements, organising,
internationalism, Buddhist Studies, colonialism, pan-Asian, U Dhammaloka
This research note explores some methodological challenges arising from
biographical research on early Irish Buddhists in the colonial period. It briefly
situates the role of such figures in relation to Asian anti-colonial movements and highlights the research challenges posed by multiple languages and countries, the variable preservation and digitisation of different kinds of sources, and the polarisation provoked by such figures. Practical solutions include international collaboration, digitisation, and a
combination of quasi-philological precision and quasi-ethnographic understanding. The note highlights three relevant findings: a relativisation of the importance of
organisations, a greater appreciation of the meanings of failure, and a historical materialist approach to possibility.