John Bowles Daly

John Bowles Daly (1844? – 1916?) had an unusual life, starting as an Anglican clergyman in Ireland, he became a missionary in the East End of London and a liberal journalist, followed by joining Col. Olcott as a collaborator and moving to Ceylon as manager of the Buddhist Theosophical Society and founder of Mahinda College in Galle. After falling out with the BTS he carried out research on monasteries in Ceylon which impressed Max Weber, returned to writing and teaching in India and finally moved to Australia. Mihirini Sirisena and Laurence Cox have uncovered some of his unusual life story.



Laurence Cox and Mihirini Sirisena, “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: 108 – 139, 2016.


Bowles Daly is the subject of a section in chapter 5 of Laurence Cox’s Buddhism and Ireland (Equinox, 2013).


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