In life, to have success, in addition to your own efforts, you need to have the help of many other factors. Just as a fire cannot spread and sustain without fuel.
If Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) was the one who lit the torch of Buddhist revival in the 19th century to enlighten the world to the value of Buddhism, as well as the need to revive a religion that had already existed. forgotten in the very birthplace of it, the one who fueled that light to be maintained, spread and able to withstand the winds of adversity was Mary Foster.
Mary Elizabeth Mikahala Robinson Foster was born on September 21, 1844 in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States. Foster’s father was an English shipwright named John James Robinson. Her mother is Kaikilani Rebecca Prever, a descendant of King Kamehameha I – the Great Hawaiian (1).
Mary Foster is the eldest of four sisters (three daughters: Victoria Kathleen Robinson Ward, Bathsheba Maria Kulamanu Robinson Allen, Lucy Hannah Robinson McWayne; and one son: Mark Prever Robinson).
Mary Foster grew up in the royal world, being a close friend of Queen Liliuokalani, the head of the island of Hawaii. Foster’s younger brother, Mark Prever Robinson, served as Queen Liliuokalani’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 1893, when Queen Liliuokalani was deposed by American soldiers and imprisoned at the Iolani palace, Foster was one of only two people allowed to visit the queen during her captivity.
What is legal aid?
At the age of 16, Mary Foster married Thomas R. Foster, the owner of a wealthy bank in North America. In 1889, during a trip to San Francisco, Thomas fell ill and died, leaving Mary Foster widowed at the age of 45 without any children. The death of her husband Thomas left Mary Foster deeply saddened. It took her a lot of time by traveling away from home to forget the pain and loss in life. However, those trips gave Foster a new purpose when he met Anagarika Dharmapala, a Sri Lankan Buddhist.
They met aboard the SSOceanic at the Honolulu harbor when Dharmapala was on his way back from the world religious convention in Chicago back to Ceylon on October 18, 1893. Meeting Dharmapala, Mrs. Foster confided in him about the pain of having Her husband died and her best friend was imprisoned and interrogated. These pains caused Mrs. Foster’s temper to become uncontrollable, and she asked Dharmapala for advice on how to overcome them. As a practicing Buddhist, Dharmapala counseled Mrs. Foster with a mindfulness meditation method called Vipassana and instructed her in the practice of mindfulness: “I will be fine, I will control my rising anger. ” (2). Practice those ideas and repeat them like a recipe.
Dharmapala also recited some famous verses about “Anger” from Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhi Magga (Pure Path). In addition, Dharmapala also confided to Mrs. Foster about his cherished dreams and what he is doing for the Buddhist revival movement. With the advice Dharmapala advised Mrs. Foster, it not only brought success in conquering Foster’s mood swings, but also made her deeply impressed by Dharmapala’s qualities, and she received the gift. supported Dharmapala’s Buddhist revival.
Lay Buddhists with the mission of protecting the Dharma and spreading the Dharma
Knowing Dharmapala’s projects and doings for Buddhism through Maha Bodhi Magazine, Ms. Foster sent an annual donation to Dharmapala to maintain the Maha Bodhi Society’s activities. That amount is up to half a million dollars.
In January 1901, Dharmapala purchased three parcels of land from Zamindar to open a free school in Sarnath from Mrs. Foster’s contribution. This school was completed and put into operation in June 1904.
In August 1902, while in Los Angeles, California, Dharmapala wrote to Mrs. Foster asking for help in building an agricultural school in Sarnath and helping illiterate children in Northern India. On October 16, 1902, Mrs. Forter sent Dharmapala a letter and attached $500, and the Foster Industrial School fund was immediately established (3).
On January 3, 1903, Mrs. Foster sent another $3,000 to help Dharmapala open the Foster School of Industry. Dharmapala used the money to buy necessary agricultural implements from Montgomery, Chicago and then distribute them to Calcutta, and founded the Foster School of Industry in Hamath in June 1904 under the guidance of Chinese agricultural instructors. The period is chosen by the Boston Commission.
In 1906, upon learning of Dharmapala’s father’s death, Mrs. Foster offered to adopt Dharmapala. As she became Dharmapala’s adoptive mother, Mrs. Foster became even more active in supporting her adopted son’s activities for the rest of his life. From 1906 on, Mrs. Foster sent money every year to support Dharmapala’s work. That money is spent on permanent educational work in Ceylon.
Dharma protectors in Buddhism
In 1891, when Dharmapala arrived in Calcutta, no one knew anything about Buddhism and there was no place for Buddhist pilgrims to stay. Therefore, Dharmapala cherished to build here a temple for Buddhists to have a place to bow down and stay. That dream was realized when the Minister of Education agreed to grant land to the Maha Bodhi Society at two Buddhist relics on the condition that two Viharas (monasteries, temples) be built, one in Calcutta and one in Samath, Banaras. Therefore, the construction of Dharmarajika Chaitya temple was started and completed in December 1920 on the college campus in Calcutta with the support and contributions of many people, of which Mrs. Foster donated 65,123 rupees; Dharmapala’s youngest brother Dr. CAHawavitame and friend Mr. NDSSilva donated 4,000 rupees; the king of Baroda (Western India) supported 10,000 rupees, and Mr. GDBirla supported 5,000 rupees (4).
From 1902 to 1913, Mrs. Foster contributed 3,000 rupees a year to the Maha Bodhi Society, much of which was used to purchase a print publication and to maintain the association’s educational work in Ceylon.
In 1913, Dharmapala made a special trip to Hawaii to thank Mrs. Foster for her unconditional support for the revival of Buddhism. Before Dharmapala left Hawaii, Mrs. Foster gave him 60,000 rupees to set up a free hospital in Colombo. The hospital was named Foster Robinson Free Hospital in memory of her late father (5).
In January 1915, at Dharmapala’s request, Mrs. Foster sent Dharmapala 17,781 rupees for the construction of the temple and structures in Sarnath. But because he was under house arrest by the Indian Government for 7 years, Dharmapala was unable to carry out this project. It was not until 1922 that the Mulagandhakuti temple in Sarnath was gradually built and completed in 1927. The construction cost of this temple amounted to 111,000 rupees, of which Mrs. Foster’s contribution accounted for the majority.
Between 1918 and 1923, Mrs. Foster’s contributions amounted to $100,000; and this money was carefully invested by Dharmapala to ensure the continuation of his work (6).
The protective mind of the two great donors
In 1926, Dharmapala arrived in London and saw the necessity of establishing the Maha Bodhi Society in this place. However, Mrs. Foster was in San Francisco at the moment, so Dharmapala personally went there to seek her help. Mrs. Foster told Dharmapala: “I have money, I want to do good, but I don’t know the best way to do it. Therefore, I entrust my ideal to you and through your work to achieve it” (7). Therefore, before Dharmapala left San Francisco, Mrs. Foster promised to contribute 900 rupees a month to The London Mission.
Ms. Foster’s contributions are not only in India and Ceylon but also in Hawaii. She donated land along the Pali Highway for the construction of Honpa Hongwanji, the first Buddhist temple in Honolulu, and supported Hongwanji High School. She also established scholarships at Kamehameha School, helped poor patients at Kapiolani Hospital, and purchased land from foreign investors to house native Hawaiians. Before her death in 1930, she bequeathed her home and estate to the city of Honolulu for the Foster Botanical Garden. In this garden there is a Bodhi tree that Dharmapala extracted from the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka (the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura is derived from the Bodhi tree in Bodha Gaya).
Mary Foster’s last legal protection before her death was to leave Dharmapala a sum of $50,000 to help him improve the school and Foster Hospital. This was stated in her will as follows: “In order to assist Anagarika Dharmapala in maintaining the establishments (schools, hospitals) in India and Sri Lanka, I bequeath Anagarika Dharmapala the total amount of money. $50,000 to give away, or in addition to, school and hospital grants. The said amount will be sent to Anagarika Dharmapala or to his successor. After the sum has been presented to you as stated, my agent shall not participate in the use of the said sum of $50,000” (8).
We cannot give detailed, specific figures about Mrs. Foster’s contributions to the Maha Bodhi Society, welfare works as well as the cause of Buddhist revival. However, we must admit that, with the help of Mrs. Foster, the Maha Bodhi Society was able to have a building of its own in Calcutta for its headquarters, as well as a few temples at the relics. new…