DICKSON, John Frederick. 17.9.1835 — London 21.12.1891. Sir. British Colonial Civil Servant and Pāli Scholar in Ceylon. Educated in Westminster and from 1855 at Christ Church, Oxford, graduated B.A. 1859 and joined colonial service. Served in Ceylon: from 1859 Writer, from 1873 Government Agent. From 1885 until his death Colonial Secretary of Straits Settlements. Hon. M.A. 1873 Oxford. K.C.M.G. 1888. He was characterised as good administrator, “much familiar with native life and habits”, and antiquarian and a scholar of Pāli literature. In Sri Lanka he was much interested in practical, everyday and monastic Buddhism and was critical towards the Christian missionaries (Harris).
Publications: edited & translated: “The Upasampadá-Kammavácá”, JRAS 7, 1875, 1-16; “The Pâtimokkha”, JRAS 8, 1876, 62-130.
– “Notes Illustrative of Buddhism as the Daily Religion of the Buddhists of Ceylon, and some Account of their Ceremonies before and after death”, JRAS-CB 8:29, 1884, 203-236.
Sources: Boase in Br. Biogr. Arch. 1st Series and Toussaint, Annals of the Ceylon Civil Service. 1935 ibid. 2nd series; E.J. Harris, Theravāda Buddhism and the British Encounter. L. 2006, 118; nothing in the N.U.C.
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