Caroline Augusta Foley Rhys Davids : biography
Caroline Augusta Foley Rhys Davids (1857–1942) was an English Pāli language scholar and translator, and from 1923-1942 president of the Pali Text Society which was founded by her husband T. W. Rhys Davids whom she married in 1894.
Influence of Spiritualism
Unlike her husband, C.A.F. Rhys Davids became strongly influenced by Spiritualism and possibly by Theosophy. Of the two, it was probably spiritualism and her own education in psychology under George Croom Robertson at University College London which most influenced her later reinterpretation of Buddhism. She seems to have had little actual interaction with Theosophical groups until very late in her career, and can even be seen to criticize Theosophical belief in some works. She became particularly involved in various forms of psychic communication with the dead, first attempting to reach her dead son through seances and then through automatic writing. She later claimed to have developed clairaudience, as well as the ability to pass into the next world when dreaming. She kept extensive notebooks of automatic writing, along with notes on the afterlife and diaries detailing her experiences, which are held by the University of London.
Early life and education
Caroline Augusta Foley Rhys Davids was born on 27 September 1857 in Wadhurst, East Sussex, England to John Foley and Caroline Elizabeth Foley (maiden name Caroline Elizabeth Windham). Caroline was born into a family with a long ecclesiastic history—her father, John Foley, served as the vicar of Wadhurst from 1847–88; her grandfather and great grandfather had served as rector of Holt, Worcestershire and vicar of Mordiford, Herefordshire, respectively. She studied at University College, London studying mainly economics, philosophy, and psychology. While studying there, she also began studying Sanskrit under Reinhold Rost. As a student, she was already a prolific writer and a vocal campaigner in the movements for poverty relief, children's rights, and women's suffrage. She completed her BA in 1886 and her MA in 1889.
Works and translations
- Buddhism: A Study of the Buddhist Norm (1912)
- Buddhist Psychology: An Inquiry into the Analysis and Theory of Mind in Pali Literature (1914)
- Old Creeds and New Needs (1923)
- The Will to Peace (1923)
- Will & Willer (1926)
- Gotama the Man (1928)
- Sakya: or, Buddhist Origins (1928)
- Stories of the Buddha : Being Selections from the Jataka (1929)
- Kindred Sayings on Buddhism (1930)
- The Milinda-questions : An Inquiry into its Place in the History of Buddhism with a Theory as to its Author (1930)
- A Manual of Buddhism for Advanced Students (1932)
- Outlines of Buddhism: A Historical Sketch (1934)
- Buddhism: Its Birth and Dispersal (1934) - A completely rewritten work to replace Buddhism: A Study of the Buddhist Norm (1912)
- Indian Religion and Survival: A Study (1934)
- The Birth of Indian Psychology and its Development in Buddhism (1936)
- To Become or not to Become (That is the Question!): Episodes in the History of an Indian Word (1937)
- What is your Will (1937) - A rewrite of Will & Willer
- What was the original gospel in 'Buddhism'? (1938)
- More about the Hereafter (1939)
- Wayfarer's Words, V. I-III - A compilation of most of C. A. F. Rhys Davids articles and lectures, mostly from the latter part of her career. V. I (1940), V. II (1941), V. III (1942 - posthumously)
- A Buddhist manual of psychological ethics or Buddhist Psychology, of the Fourth Century B.C., being a translation, now made for the first time, from the Original Pāli of the First Book in the Abhidhamma-Piţaka, entitled Dhamma-Sangaṇi (Compendium of States or Phenomena) (1900). (Includes an original 80 page introduction.) Reprint currently available from . ISBN 0-7661-4702-9.
- . By C. A. F. Rhys Davids. London: Pali Text Society, 1909, at
- Points of controversy; or, Subjects of discourse; being a translation of the Kathā-vatthu from the Abhidhamma-piṭaka, Co-authored with Shwe Zan Aung (1915)
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