Sumangalo

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Sumaṅgalo (born Harold Amos Eugene Newman on September 2, 1903 in Birmingham; died February 6, 1963 in Penang, Malaya) was a Buddhist monk, missionary and honorary abbot of Poh Ern Shih Temple in Singapore.

Newman grew up in Birmingham and became absorbed in world religions from reading books from the Birmingham Public Library. He embraced Buddhism at the age of thirteen and began a life of "wandering" in search of further enlightenment. He studied briefly at several universities, including Columbia University, the University of Chicago, the University of California, Mexico's National University and the Language Institute of Paris. He began living among San Francisco's Japanese community in 1928. He was ordained a priest at the Honpa Hongwaji Temple there in 1933, and again, in Kyoto, Japan, by Kosho Ohtani in 1935.

Sumamgalo returned to the United States after his ordination. He initiated a weekly lecture series in San Francisco and also toured the United States, Europe and South America. He supported himself with various jobs, including some time serving as a probation officer under the name Robert Stuart Clifton.

Newman founded the Western Buddhist Order in 1951. In 1954 he founded the Buddhist Club at the University of Hawaii on his way to Japan and Southeast Asia. He attended the 3rd Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in Rangoon, Burma.

In June 1957 Newman took the orders of a Theravādin monk in Laos. He took the Dharma name "Sumaṅgalo", meaning "very auspicious" and engaged in missionary work, establishing schools and youth groups in Southeast Asia. In January 1959 he accepted the honorary abbotship of the Poh Ern Shih Temple in Singapore. He assisted in the translation of Buddhist texts into English and was active in the Penang Buddhist Association.

Sumangalo was hospitalized in late January 1963. He seemingly recovered, but succumbed to a relapse in early February. His body was cremated.

References

  • Piyasīlo (1992) Charisma in Buddhism: A study of the work of Father Sumaṅgalo, Ānanda Maṅgala Mahā.nāyaka Thera and Dr. Wong Phui Weng in Malaysia and Singapore & Yantra Amaro. Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: Dharmafarer Enterprises ISBN 9839030108
  • Morgan, Diane (2004) The Buddhist Experience in America. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing ISBN 9780313324918