F. L Woodward
Frank Lee Woodward (1871-1952) was an unusual English figure who made a significant contribution to the wider understanding of Buddhism in the West. A classical scholar who became interested in Eastern religions, he learned Pali and after a period as headmaster in the UK, took up a similar post in Galle, Sri Lanka in 1903. By 1919 he was looking for peace and seclusion in which to continue his translations of the Buddhist scriptures for the Pali Text Society. Woodward settled near Launceston, Tasmania, and about 1927 bought a house in a neglected orchard in the Rowella district on the western bank of the Tamar River. A vegetarian, a mystic and a man of whimsy, he practised yoga, wore a turban and lived alone, surrounded by Buddhist scriptures on thousands of palm-leaves. Maintaining an extensive correspondence, he recorded the scores in every match played by the Bluecoat School’s Old Blues Rugby XV.
Among scholars, Woodward is revered for translating eighteen of the forty-two volumes of the Pali texts into English and for compiling the vast concordance of the Pali canon which occupied the last fifteen years of his life. At the popular level, his volume, Some Sayings of the Buddha (Oxford, 1925, 1939), has contributed to a wider understanding of Buddhism. Reduced to near poverty, Woodward died on 27 May 1952 at Beaconsfield Hospital, West Tamar, and was buried in Carr Villa cemetery, Launceston.