Friday, 19 May 2017

Locating the Birthplace of an Italian Buddhist monk

Research has been ongoing to learn more about the fantastic life of the Italian Buddhist monk U Lokanatha. 

A friend of B.R. Ambedkar, Sun Lun Sayadaw, Webu Sayadaw, and Ajahn Pannya, and an inspiration to General Aung San and Dr. Nandamala, his life biography nearly defies imagination. Despite coming from a conservative Catholic family in which several uncles and brothers were priests, his pull towards the Dhamma led him to walk from Italy all the way to India, and he is said to have once repelled a mob in Turkey due to the strength of his metta. He hoped to convert Mussolini to Buddhism as a way of preventing World War II, but was instead imprisoned in a POW camp in India as he was accused to being with the Axis Powers (where, as a prisoner, he underwent a hunger strike and taught Dhamma to the prisoners). 

After the war, he would go on an American tour, describing the Buddha's teachings as the antidote to the nuclear age, and saying he would bring an "atomic bomb of love" to his audiences. He would give Dhamma speeches at such diverse places as Hollywood seances and before Account General office employees prior to the opening of U Ba Khin's IMC, and calling himself the "first Dhamma Ambassador to the West," he also helped to arrange a meeting between Webu Sayadaw the the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, resulting in the offering of precious Buddha Relics to the tiny Ingyinbin monastery, which still has them today.

This picture shows the result of efforts to locate his birth home in Naples. Since a flood in 1999, it has been inhabitable, but appears to be the original building. Supporters would like to see a Burmese stupa constructed here to honor the great monk. 

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