RHYS DAVIDS, Caroline Augusta Foley

RHYS DAVIDS, Caroline Augusta Foley. Wadhurst, East Sussex 27.12.1858 — Chipstead, Surrey 26.6.1942. British Indologist, Pāli and Buddhist Scholar. President of the P.T.S. 1923-42. Daughter of Rev. John Foley and Caroline Elizabeth Windham, her brother, John Windham Foley (1848–1926) was a missionary in India. Her sister was —> M. C. Foley. Educated at home, then studies of philosophy, psychology and economics at University College, London (B.A. 1886, M.A. in philosophy 1889). There she also met her future husband —> T. W. Rhys Davids as teacher, and became interested in Buddhist studies. Sanskrit she learned from R. Rost. As student she was active for poverty relief, children’s rights and women’s suffrage. She married in 1894 and had three children (two daughters and a son, Arthur, who fell as pilot fighter in 1917). She taught at Manchester in 1910–13 as Lecturer in Indian Philosophy and in 1918–33 at S.O.A.S. as Reader of Pāli (or, Lecturer in the History of Buddhism). Hon. D.Litt. 1919 Manchester.

Mrs. Rhys Davids was the first Western scholar to study extensively the Abhidhamma Piṭaka and she explained its contents in her publications. Later she propounded a theory of an original, Aryan Buddhism, which was later contaminated  by Dravidian influence (including the Anatta doctrine). For this she was rightly criticized even by her contemporaries. Unlike her husband, in her later years she was influenced by theosophy and spiritism, trying to get in touch with her dead son.

Publications: Early writings not related to Buddhism or Indian studies.

“The Women leaders of the Buddhist Reformation”, Transactions of the 9th Intern. Conf. of Orientalists L. 1992, 344-361; “The Vedalla Sutta, as illustrating the psychological Basis of Buddhist Ethics”, JRAS 1894, 321-333 (still as C. A. Foley).

Edited: Vibhaṅga. Being the second book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. 485 p. L. 1904, Repr. P.T.S. Text Series 144. L. 1978; The Yamaka, being the sixth book of the Abhidhammapitaka. Ed. by C. Rhys Davids, assisted by M. C. Foley. 1-2. 24+378 & 11+286 p. L. 1913, repr. 1987; Buddhaghosa: Visuddhi-magga. 1-2. 768 p. L. 1920-21 (P.T.S. Text Series 149-150); Paṭṭhāna of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka. 1-3. L. 1906-23; “The Yamaka Commentary from the Pañcappakaranatthakathā”, JPTS 6, 1910-12.

– Edited: Tikapaṭṭhāna of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka. Part 1. Paccayavibhangavāra, together with Buddhaghosa’s commentary from the Pañcappakaranaṭṭhakathā. 378 p. Oxford 192, Part 2. Kusalattikaŋ, together with Buddhaghosa’s comm. from the Pañcapp. 69+315 p. L. 1922, Part 3. Tikapaṭṭhāna (concluded), together with a digest of the five other Paṭṭhānas and the commentary. 6+317-378 p. L. 19231.

 Majjhima Nikāya. Part 4. Index. 188 p. L. 1925 (vol. 1-3 by V. Trenckner and R. Chalmers; P.T.S. Text Series 60-63).

– Edited with G. Landsberg: “Pañcappakaraṇa Atthakathā Puggala-Paññatti Commentary”, JPTS 1913, 170-254, repr. as book with Puggala-Paññatti. L. 1972.

Translated with T. W. Rhys Davids: Dīgha Nikāya. Dialogues of the Buddha. 1-3. S.B.B. 2-4. L. 1899-1921.

Translated: Dhamasaṅgani. A Buddhist Manual of Psychological Ethics. 488 p. L. 1900, 2nd ed. Or.Tr.Fund N.S. 12. 192?, 3rd ed. 103+9+364 p. P.T.S. Transl. Series 41. L. 1974; Psalms of the early Buddhists. 1-2. 242+498 p. L. 1909-13 (P.T.S. Transl. Series 1 & 4); The Stories of the Buddha, being Selections from the Jātaka. 27+245 p. L. 1929; Dhammapada (Verses on Dhamma) and Khuddakapāṭha (The Text of the Minor Sayings). 70+166 p. The minor Anthologies of the Pali Canon 1. S.B.B. 7. L. 1931; Poems of Cloister and Jungle: A Buddhist Anthology. 128 p. 1941.

Translated with Shwe Zan Aung: Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha. Compendium of Philosophy. 298 p. L. 1910; Kathāvatthu. Points of controversy or subjects of discourse. 66+416 p. L. 1915 (P.T.S. Transl. Series 5); with F. L. Woodward: Samyutta Nikāya. The book of the kindred sayings or grouped suttas. 1-5. L. 1917-30 (P.T.S. Transl. Series 7, 10, 13, 14, 16; 1-2 by R.D., the rest by F.L.W.).

Buddhism. A Study of the Buddhist Norm. 256 p. L. 1912; Buddhist Psychology. 10+212 p. L. 1914; Gotama the Man. 302 p. L. 1928; Sakya or Buddhist Origin. 444 p. L. 1931; Outlines of Buddhism. A Historical sketch. 117 p. L. 1934; To Become or not to Become. 9+164 p. L. 1937; What was the Original Gospel in “Buddhism”? 143 p. L. 1938.

The Milinda-questions: an inquiry into its place in the history of Buddhism with a theory to its author. 168 p. L. 1930.

Indian religion and Survival. A Study. 96 p. L. 1934; To Become or not to Become (That is the Question!). Episodes of an Indian World. 12+164 p. L. 1937.

The birth of Indian psychology and its development in Buddhism. 12+444 p. L. 1936.

Numerous articles in JRAS, JPTS, etc., partly collected in Wayfarer’s Words. 1-2. 10+719 p. L. 1940-41.

Sources: P. V. Bapat, ABORI 24, 1943, 145f.; Payer, Materialien 5; Peiris, Buddhism. 20-25; W. Stede, JRAS 1942, 267f.; Wikipedia with photo; photo also in Sardesai.

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