“A migrant worker from Dublin, Dhammaloka was an autodidact, atheist and temperance campaigner who became known throughout colonial Asia as an implacable critic of Christian missionaries and a tireless transnational organizer of Asian Buddhists from Burma to Japan and from Singapore to Siam.”
THE DHARMA BUM: The Untold Story of U Dhammaloka –
The First Western Buddhist Monk
The Dharma Bum is a feature documentary film directed by Ian Lawton that unearths the adventure story of Laurence Carroll, a free-thinking atheist alcoholic Irishman born in Dublin in the late 1800s, who went on to become U Dhammaloka – the world’s first Western Buddhist monk.
Legend has it that in the dawn of the 20th century, Laurence ordained as a Buddhist monk in a remote forest monastery in Burma, aka Myanmar, where he trained in ancient Buddhist practices, while maintaining an activism that denounced dogma, orthodoxy, the hypocrisies of the Church and his own Catholic upbringing.
Standing up to the British Colonialists who were spreading over Southeast Asia at the time, Dhammaloka was under constant police surveillance until his conviction for sedition. After traveling the world under multiple aliases, faking his own death, being an outspoken activist, spending 13 years as a monk, Dhammaloka mysteriously disappeared, without a trace.
Over the following century knowledge of his life was lost from history. Only recently has his groundbreaking story been unearthed.
When The Dharma Bum is released, it will provide audiences worldwide with the missing link in the origin story of Western Buddhism.