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Buddhadharma : Winter 2009
83 winter 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly account, he was happy and productive. However, the history of the greater world was to intrude on his austere but peaceful retreat. As a German national living in a British colony, Nyanatiloka was interned in both world wars. The conditions of internment during the First World War were particularly harsh. Nyanatiloka and his small group of German disciples were eventually shipped to Australia. The book includes an historic photograph of the first time bhikkhus set foot on that continent, walking under armed guard down the plank of a British prison ship. Several of the monks abandoned their yel- low robes under these stress conditions, but Nyanatiloka held to his faith. As he says, “I was never much concerned about my physical comfort.” Before the war ended, the British policy changed and German prisoners deemed harmless were released. They were sup- posed to return to Germany via the neu- tral United States, but Nyanatiloka’s only thought was to get back to a Buddhist country. The British sent him to Honolulu, where he got on a ship bound for China with the intention of traveling overland to the Shan States bordering Burma. His journey across China accompanied by another monk was yet another series of hardships and misadventures, including a further period of imprisonment. In was not until 1926 that he was able to return to Ceylon, and only after many more travels and difficulties, including being caught in the crossfire of the 1919 revolution in Germany and finding himself in the midst of the Great Japanese Earthquake of 1923. After all this, he returned to his “beloved Lanka” to find his hermitage in ruins. Neverthe- less, through all this he maintained his steady devotion to the dhamma and even proceeded with his literary work. The Second World War internment was longer but the conditions were less severe. This time the German internees were sent to the Dehra Dun camp in northern India. Here also were several of his disciples, including Nyanaponika. During his time in the camp, Nyanatiloka completed much Reviews www.dharmacrafts.com 800.794.9862 Buddhadharma readers please use keycode: BDA meditation cushions incense bells & gongs statues contemplative garden home furnishings jewelry & gifts DharmaCraf ts THE CATALOG OF MEDITATION SUPPLIES since 1979