Nagaloka News

Prabuddha Bharat Conference: The Social Relevance of Buddhism

Posted in: Nagaloka News on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Prabuddha Bharat Conference

Duration: 25th and 26th October, 2012,

Place:  Nagaloka

Indian society is full of contradictions. Politically, it is a democratic country. However, socially and economically, it is an unequal and undemocratic society, in which people from lower castes have no access to resources and are deprived of their basic human rights.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar played an important role in founding modern India as a democratic country, but he also knew that mere political form of democracy will not solve the problem-the problem of caste- he was fighting all is life. He saw need of social and economic democracy. He also found the roots of social democracy in the teachings of the Buddha. He led his followers to Buddhism in 1956.

His quest for new India was based on social, economic and political justice. He saw the values of liberty, equality and fraternity as a bedrock for establishing a just society. He also found these values in coherence with the teachings of the Buddha. His idea of India was Prabuddha Bharat, the enlightened India, the Ashokan India, and India as a welfare state.

We, at Nagaloka, are exploring various dimensions of life and mission of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, particularly his understanding and approach to Buddhism. Last year, we organised a conference, the first of its kind, on the theme of Prabuddha Bharat. This year, we are organising second Prabuddha Bharat conference on the occasion of 56th anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism.

The theme of the conference is “Prabuddha Bharat Conference: The Social Relevance of Buddhism”

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar wanted nothing less than to reconstruct society and foster a true democracy. This involved replacing the individual and social attitudes that supported superstition, hierarchy, caste and their siblings with the ethics of liberty, equality and fraternity. Buddhism, he saw, was the surest way to bring this about.

In this conference we will be looking in some depth at the ethical attitudes of liberty, equality and fraternity, as Babasaheb saw them, and their individual and social implications.

The conference will be divided into four sections:

1.      Creating Democracy.

In this section we will explore the impediments to the creation of a true democracy in India, and the theoretical and practical contribution that Buddhism and Buddhists can make.

2.      Social Reconstruction.

Many of us are working to implement Babasaheb’s great vision, and especially Buddhism. In order to create a better society we have to live and work according to those principles ourselves. To what extent are we able to do this? What are the difficulties involved? What can we learn from Buddhist teachings and especially the practice of Sangha?

3.      Individual Empowerment.

Buddhist practice strengthens the individual, not in a selfish sense, but enabling him or her to work more effectively for others. This is the principle of the Paramitas, the practice of a Bodhisattva, which was emphasised by Babasaheb. In this section we will examine how Buddhist practice can enhance our lives and work.

4.      The final session will look at ways to take forward the lessons we have learnt from the above discussions.

For registration and further information, please contact Mangesh Dahiwale on 09823460581 or send an email on mangesh.dahiwale@gmail.com

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