Tag Archives: Dhamma

19th July (1954) in Dalit History – Dr. Ambedkar’s blue print for spreading the Buddhism in India


19th July 1954 in Dalit History: Dr. Ambedkar made a proposal for a campaign for spreading the Buddhism in India at Buddhist Sasana Council of Burma (present Myanmar)

In his July trip to Burma in 1954, Dr. Ambedkar made a proposal for sponsoring a campaign for Buddhist conversion in India. Speaking to the Buddhist Sasana Council of Burma, he argued that the ground wa fertile in India and presented a memorandum to the Council.

The memorandum is as follows:

MEMORANDUM I

Record of my talk to the Buddhist Sasana council of Burma

An enlarged version

1.      To spread Buddhism outside Burma be one of the aims of the Sasana Council then India is the first country they should make the centre of their effort. No other country; will yield so much as India will.

2.      The reason is obvious. India is a birth-place of Buddhism. It flourished in India from 543 B.C to 1400 A.D i.e. for nearly 2000 years. Although the Buddhist Religion has vanished the name of the Buddha is still held in great veneration and the memory of His Religion is still green. In India Buddhism may be withered plant. But no one can say that it is dead at the roots. He is regarded by the Hindus as an Avtar of Vishnu. In India we don’t have to restore veneration for a new prophet or (X) has to do for his Gods among the Jews. All that we have to do is to bring back his religion. Such easy condition for a   (X) sffort cannot be found in any other country. In them there are well and long established religions and Buddhism would be regarded as an intruder without a passport. So far as India is concerned the Buddha needs no passport nor does he require any visa.

3.      Thirdly there are sections among the Hindus who are eager to leave Hinduism and go over to Buddhism. Such are the Untouchables and the Backward Classes. They are against Hinduism because its doctrine of Chaturvarna which is best described as the doctrine of graded inequality. In the present stage of their intellectual awakening these classes are up in arms against Hinduism. Now is the time to take advantage of their discontent. They prefer Buddhism to Christianity on three grounds.

(i)  Buddhism is not a religion which is alien to Indians

(ii) The essential doctrine of Buddhism is social equality which they want;

(iii)  Buddhism is a national religion in which there can be no room for superstition.

4.      There should be hesitation in launching the movement on the ground that the majority of the people entering Buddhism in its early stages will be coming from lower classes. The Sasana council must not make the mistake which the Christian missionaries in India made. The Christian Missionaries began by attempting to convert the Brahmins. Their strategy was that if the Brahmans could be converted first the conversion of the rest of the Hindus would not be difficult. For they argued that is the Brahmins could be converted first they could go to the non-Brahmins and then “When the Brahmins have accepted Christianity why don’t you. They are the heads of your religion”. This strategy of the missionaries proved fatal to the spread of Christianity in India. The Brahmins did not become Christians. Why should they? They had all the advantages under Hinduism. The Christian missionaries in India realized their mistake and turned their attention to the Untouchables after wasting hundreds of years in their effort to convert the Brahmins. By the time they turned to the Untouchables the spirit of nationalism had grown up and every thing alien including Christianity was regarded as inimical to the country. The result was that the Christian missionaries could convert very few untouchables. The Christian population in India is surprisingly small not- with standing the missionary effort extending over 400 years. They might have converted the whole of Untouchables and the backward classes if they had begun with them first.

5.      Attention may be drawn to the entry of Christianity in Rome. For it is very instructive. From the pages of Gibbon’s decline and fall of the Roman Empire it is clear that Christianity entered first among the lower classes or as Gibbon says among the poor and despised section of the roman population. The higher classes came in later on. Gibbon ridicules Christianity as a religion of the poor and the down-trodden. In holding his view Gibbon was thoroughly mistaken. He failed to realize that it is the poor who need religion,. For religion, if it is a right religion, gives hope of betterment to the poor who having nothing else need as a soothing action. The rich have every thing. They need not live on hope. They live on their possessions. Secondly Gibbon failed to realise that religion if it is of the right type ennobles people and elevates them. People do not degrade religion.

6.      I will now turn to the preliminary steps, which has to be taken for the revival of Buddhism in India.   I mention below those that occur to me:

(i) The preparation of a Buddhist Gospel which could be a constant companion of the convert. The must of a small gospel containing the teachings of the Buddha is a great handicap in the propagation of Buddhism. The common man cannot be expected to read the 73 volumes of the Pali Canon. Christianity has a great advantage over Buddhism in having the message of Christ contained in a small booklet, The Bible. This handicap in the way of the propagation of Buddhism must be removed. In regard to the preparation of Buddha’ Gospel care must be taken to emphasize the social and moral teachings of The Buddha. I have to emphasize the point because I find that in most Buddhist countries what is emphasized, is meditation, contemplation and the Abidhamma. This way of presenting Buddhism to Indians   would be fatal to our cause;

(ii) The introduction of a ceremony like Baptism in Christianity for the laity. There is really no ceremony of conversion i.e. for becoming a lay disciple of the Buddha. Whatever ceremony of conversion there is, is far becoming a Bhikku, for entering into the sangha. Among the Christians there are two ceremonies; for baptism showing acceptance of Christianity; and 2. For ordination i.e becoming a priest.  In Buddhism there is no ceremony like baptism. This is the main reason why people after becoming Buddhist slip out of Buddhism. We must now introduce a ceremony like the Christian baptism which every lay person must undergo before he can be called a ‘Buddhist’. Merely uttering the panch shila is not enough. Many other points must be added to make person feel that he is ceasing to be a Hindu and becoming a new man;

(iii)  The appointment of a number of lay preachers who could go about and preach the Buddha’s Gospel among the people and look after the new convert and see how far they are following the Buddha Dhamma. The lay preachers must be paid. They may be married persons.

(iv) The establishment of a Buddhist Religions seminary where persons who wish to become preachers could be taught Buddhism and also comparative study of the other Religions

(v) The introduction of congregational worship in the Vihara every Sunday followed by a Sermon;

7.      In addition to these preliminary steps it is necessary to do some other things which require to be done in a big way as aids to our propagation campaign. In this connection I make the following proposals;

(i) Building of big Temples and Viharas in the four important towns; 1. Madras; 2.Bombay; 3. Calcutta and 4. Delhi

(ii) Establishment of high Schools and Colleges in the following towns 1. Madras; 2. Nagpur; 3. Calcutta and 4. Delhi

(iii) Inviting essays on Buddhist topics and giving prizes to the first three sufficient in value so as to attract people to make their best efforts to study Buddhist literature. The essays should be open to all Hindus; Muslims and Christians; to men as well as to women. This is the best way of making people interested in the study of Buddhism.

8.      Temples should be so big as to create the impression that some thing big is really happening. High schools and colleges are necessary adjuncts. They are intended to create Buddhist atmosphere among younger men. Besides they will not only pave their way but bring a surplus which could be used for other missionary work. It should be remembered that most of the Christian missions find funds for financing their activities from the surplus revenue which is yielded by the schools and colleges they run.

9.      I have set out above what preliminary steps must be taken. I feel I must also set out what precautions must be taken in launching the movement for the revival of Buddhism in India if Buddhism is not to disappear again.

10.  Buddhism has not disappeared from India because its doctrines were found or proved to be false. The reasons for disappearance of Buddhism from India are different. Buddhism was in the first place overpowered and suppressed by the Brahmins. It is now sufficiently known that the last Maurya emperor, decandent of emperor Ashoka, was murdered by his Brahmin commander-in-chief, by name Pushya Mitra who usurped the throne and established Brahmanism as the State Religion. This led to the suppression of Buddhism in India which is one of the cause of its decline. While the rise of Brahmins brought about the suppression of Buddhism in India, the invasion of Islam brought about its complete destruction, by the violence it practiced in destroying Viharas and killing Bihkkus.

11.  The danger to Buddhism from Islam no longer exists. But the danger from Brahmins exists. It will be its toughest opponent. A Brahmin will remain a Brahmin no matter what colour he or what party he joins. That is because Brahmins want to maintain the system of graded social inequality. For it is this graded inequality, which has raised the Brahmins above all and to be on the top of every body. Buddhism believes in equality. Buddhism strikes at the very root of their prestige and power. That is why the Brahmins hate it. It is quite possible that if the Brahmins are allowed to lead the movement of revival of Buddhism they may use their power to sabotage it or misdirect it. The precautions to exclude them from position of power at least in the early stages of our movement is therefore very necessary.

12.  All these proposals raise question of finance. This question, it must be frankly said, cannot be solved by India. The only people who could help are the Buddhists in India, who in the early stages must (are) very few. The burden must, therefore, be borne by the Buddhist countries outside India which I feel they can easily do by diverting their Dana to this purpose.

Sd/-

B.R.Ambedkar.

Civil Lines,

26 Alipore Road

Delhi, the 19th July, 1954.

But the Burmese were not willing to sponsor this, and Dr. Ambedkar was ready to undertake it on his own. He thus began writing a book intended as a simple, eloquent and rationalistic Buddhist gospel – The Buddha and His Dhamma.

19th July

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Dalit History, Dr B R Ambedkar, Latest, Today in Dalit History

15th January in Dalit History – Death anniversary of Namdeo Dhasal, a founder of the Dalit Panthers


Namdeo Dhasal, a founder of the Dalit Panthers and a revolutionary poet, died on January 15, 2014..   He will be missed by all those dedicated to the revolutionary anti-caste movement.  For a time the Dalit Panthers symbolized the rebellious aspirations of a generation of Dalit youth.  Dhasal’s poetry was militant and hardhitting; Golpitha, his first collection, was named after a red-light district in Mumbai.  Golpitha’s language reflected the raw realism of that milieu.  “Poetry is politics,” said Dhasal, and he acted accordingly,

Namdeo Dhasal

Namdeo Dhasal

Political splits occurred in the Panther movement, but the spirit continued.  His poem “Kamatipura” (from Golpitha) is given below:

KAMATIPURA

The nocturnal porcupine reclines here
Like an alluring grey bouquet
Wearing the syphilitic sores of centuries
Pushing the calendar away
Forever lost in its own dreams

Man’s lost his speech
His god’s a shitting skeleton
Will this void ever find a voice, become a voice?

If you wish, keep an iron eye on it to watch
If there’s a tear in it, freeze it and save it too
Just looking at its alluring form, one goes berserk
The porcupine wakes up with a start
Attacks you with its sharp aroused bristles
Wounds you all over, through and through
As the night gets ready for its bridegroom, wounds begin to blossom
Unending oceans of flowers roll out
Peacocks continually dance and mate

This is hell
This is a swirling vortex
This is an ugly agony
This is pain wearing a dancer’s anklets

Shed your skin, shed your skin from its very roots
Skin yourself
Let these poisoned everlasting wombs become disembodied.
Let not this numbed ball of flesh sprout limbs
Taste this
Potassium cyanide!
As you die at the infinitesimal fraction of a second,
Write down the small ‘s’ that’s being forever lowered.

Here queue up they who want to taste
Poison’s sweet or salt flavour
Death gathers here, as do words,
In just a minute, it will start pouring here.

O Kamatipura,
Tucking all seasons under your armpit
You squat in the mud here
I go beyond all the pleasures and pains of whoring and wait
For your lotus to bloom.
— A lotus in the mud.

This raw “poetry of the underworld” is the heritage of Namdeo Dhasal.

By – Gail Omvedt and originally posted at here.

1 Comment

Filed under Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar, Today in Dalit History, Today in History

Prima Primissima Award nomination for Derdak Tibor (Jai Bhim Network, Hungary), please Vote and Support


UntitledI am pleased to share with all of you the great news that Derdak Tibor, Director of Jai Bhim Network, has been nominated for Prima Primissima Award under Public Education and Education category. Prima Primissima Award is prestigious award in Hungary and it is a great moment for all of us who believe in the ideology of BabaSaheb Ambedkar and especially for those who have wholehearted supported Jai Bhim Network, Hungary and its activities all these years. It shows how dedicated Jai Bhim Network team in Hungary is for the cause of social equality.

The voting for the award is open and you can vote by sending a simple text message (sms) from your mobile.

Here is how to vote –

Type on your mobile – 13

And send it to +36707077000

Simple! Sms won’t charge you much. One can send/vote sms as many times as one wants but one sms per hour only, i.e. if you want to send again please send it after one hour only. Voting is open till December 4th , 2014, so please vote as many times as you can.

It is a great opportunity for all of us to support and encourage the people behind Jai Bhim Network, Hungary so that they keep on spreading the ideology of BabaSaheb. Award money will go to Dr. Ambedkar school’s activities and recognition will help Jai Bhim Network to spread the message of BabaSaheb. Dr. Ambedkar High schools are Hungary’s largest educational institutions for Roma children. We can’t afford to turn our backs on such a successful initiative – to educated and give ‘Dalits of Europe’ a sense of pride. It is our duty to support and encourage Jai Bhim Network team so please vote and spread this message to your friends and groups.

Those who don’t know about Jai Bhim Network, here is brief about Jai Bhim Network and its activities –

Jai Bhim Network is group of people working in Hungary on the ideas of BabaSaheb Ambedkar and Lord Buddha. Since 2007, Jai Bhim Network has expanded its roots deep into the Hungarian society via opening many new Dr. Ambedkar High schools and Jai Bhim Network has purchased a new house (named White House) to teach Roma students and carry out various social functions. With the help The Corporate Body of the Buddha Education Foundation, Taipei (Taiwan) Jai Bhim Network has published a Buddhist Puja book – Telihold. Every year they celebrate BabaSaheb’s Birth anniversary and Dhamma Chakka Parivartan Din. Dr. Ambedkar High School is a kind of second chance schools, which offer the opportunity of obtaining an education in the poorest villages in Hungary, torn communities of living, especially for young Roma. With the help of Jai Bhim Network Romas are able to stand against the daily whips of village life and Network has given millions hopes to these unprivileged Romas through education and social integration program, all such measures were ignored by governments and many others. Jai Bhim Network is working and drawing inspiration from many other Buddhist religious bodies from different countries and especially Dalits of India.

In my recent visit (September, 2014) to Dr. Ambedkar High School, Sajokaza, I found that they have now amazing Buddhist Meditation Centre!

More about Jai Bhim Network, you can find at http://www.ambedkar.eu/ or http://www.jaibhim.hu/ or from my article in The Hindu newspaper at http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/article662028.ece

More information about the Prima Primissima Award at

http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prima_Primissima_d%C3%ADj (the link is in Hungarian but you can use google translator to convert it to English)

Please vote and spread the message.

3 Comments

Filed under Buddha, Buddhism, Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar

A Few Important Pali Language Words and Their Meaning


Abidhamma = Pertaining to Dhammas

Pariyatti = Study of the theoretical aspects of the Dhamma.

Sama-sam-buddha = One who rediscovers the teachings and teaches the masses as the historical Buddha did.

Vinaya Pitaka = The Vinaya Pitaka contains the rules for monks and nuns, monastic jurisprudence & the early history of the Sangha.

Tipitaka = “Path” or “Way of Dhamma”. This book consists of a collection of 423 verses grouped into 26 chapters.

Paccekabuddha = A silent Buddha.
Arahant = Fully enlightened person.

Dhamma = Teaching & doctrines of the Buddha, called as Dhamma because they explain & describe nature of things, the way things are, and the way they operate.

Bodhisatta = A person who is seeking to be a Buddha
Nibbana = A Bliss of No-Craving

Thai_buddhist_monk_smile1-500x666

4 Stages in the realization of Nibbana

Sotapanna – Stream-entrant
Sakadagami – Once returner
Anagami – Non returner
Arahant – The Holy One

Trisaran:

Buddha = Gyan/Vigyan/Tarq/Bodhi,
Dhamma = Gyan ka Marg/Astangik Marg/Madhyam Marg,
Sangha = Gyan ke Marg par chal rahe/chalchuke log

5 Comments

Filed under Buddha, Buddhism, Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar

“I Have a Dream” for Dalits of India


There is no nation of Indians in the real sense of the world; it is yet to be created. In believing we are a nation, we are cherishing a great delusion. How can people divided into thousand of castes be a nation? The sooner we realize that we are not yet a nation, in a social and psychological sense of the world, the better for us. – Dr B R Ambedkar

As all of us welcome year 2012 and greet each other with open arms, I visualise a dream. I have always said that I am a dreamer. Yes, I do have a dream, a dream (Begumpura) that Guru Ravidas saw about 650 years ago for everyone or a dream (Utopia) that nourished by Dr Ambedkar or I have a dream that Martin Luther King Jr. saw for the blacks of America. Here is my dream for Dalits of India almost along the same lines what Guru Ravidas, Dr Ambedkar, Martin Luther King Jr. and many others saw for better world.

I have a dream that one day; Dalits will break the chains of caste discrimination and free themselves from the chains of slavery that has ruined Dalits for thousands years. Yes, it’s my dream to see casteless society. I do also dream that Dalit houses won’t be set on fire or Dalits won’t be boycotted anymore. Dalits won’t be killed for the same name as of upper caste people or Dalits won’t be forced to change their names or Dalits won’t hide their names to escape caste discrimination. I also dream with open eyes that untouchability will become history and there will be no untouchable.

Searching for a Dream? (Photo Credit: Ravi Shankar Suman)

I have a dream that one day; for Dalits justice won’t be delayed or justice won’t be just another word or justice won’t be alien to Dalits. I anticipate that Dalits won’t be told to wait, wait and wait bit more for justice; a wait that always meant never. A day won’t be far when everyone will be treated equal and will live with dignity and pride. That will be the day, when Buddha will smile upon India again!

I have a dream that one day; Dalit women won’t be paraded naked, raped or forced to commit suicide for nothing wrong. Not only the Dalit women but whole women society will not be forced to do menial jobs. Women won’t be disrespected, exploited, neglected or won’t be treated as a sex-object only in Indian society. I dream that one day, equality will come in all spheres and women suffering will come to end.

I have a dream that one day; Dalit students won’t be made to sit separately in classrooms, or won’t be discriminated and forced to commit suicide in schools and colleges. A day will come when Dalit students won’t be purified via sprinkling cow urine on them and Dalit students’ seats won’t be left unfilled in schools and colleges. No Dalit student will be forced to do cleaning work in schools, no student will deny food cooked by Dalit cook and Dalit students will be able to use the same playing grounds as other caste students do.

Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Caste Discrimination, Casteism, Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar, Equal Rights, India, Women RIghts

Parliamentary System Borrowed From Buddhism


It is probable that the tendency towards self-government evidenced by these various forms of corporate activity received fresh impetus from the Buddhist rejection of the authority of the priesthood and further but its doctrine of equality as exemplified by its repudiation of caste. It is indeed to the Buddhist books that we have to turn for an account of the manner in which the affairs of the early examples of representative self-governing institutions were conducted. It may come as a surprise to many to learn that in the assemblies of Buddhists in India 2500 years and more ago are to be found the rudiments of our own parliamentary practice of the present day. The dignity of the assembly was preserved by the appointment of a special officer – the embryo of “Mr. Speaker” in our house of commons. A second officer was appointed to see that when necessary a quorum was secured- the prototype of the Parliamentary Chief Whip, in our own system. A member initiating business did so in the form of a motion which was then open to discussion. In some cases, this was done once only, in others three times, thus anticipating the practice of Parliament in requiring that a bill be read a third time before it becomes law. If discussion disclosed a difference of opinion the matter was decided by the vote of the majority, the voting being by ballot.

— Marquess of Zetland, a former Viceroy of India, Author of “Legacy of India ”

Related articles –

48084_616868031663688_660167481_n

Buddhist Pilgrimage

The Pilgrimage of Char-Dham was once known for visiting the four places viz. Lumbini, where Buddha was born; Bodh Gaya, where he attained realization; Saranath, where he gave his first teachings; and Kushinager, where he passed away. Over the years now the concept has completely been changed to visiting char-dham of Sankaracharyas.

Lots of evidence are available which mention that the Great place of Buddhist Worship viz. Tirupati Temple, Ernaculam Temple, vithoba of Pandharpur, Jagannath of Puri and many more were successfully converted to Hindu Temples.

16 Comments

Filed under Buddha, Buddhism, Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar