Nagaloka Annual Report 2012-14
Nagaloka Annual Report 2013-14Posted in: Nagaloka News on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
Lokamitra’s visit to Thamil NaduPosted in: Nagaloka News on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Lokamitra took up a long standing invitation to visit ADICOM in Pondicherry. They have long been associated with Nagaloka, not only sending 100 members to convert to Buddhism there in October 2006 on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb’s conversion to Buddhism, but also sending a number of students to the residential training course.
While returning to Pune, he stopped in Chennai t meet Gauthama Prabha and members of the organisation he founded, Vihara, dedicated to helping people realise the glorious heritage of Buddhism in Tamil Nadu and bringing back Buddhism as a path of practice to the State.
In both meetings, Lokamitra emphasised that of Buddhism was to grow, there was an over-riding need for clarity in understanding why Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism, and on basic Buddhist teachings, in a way that people could relate to. This was where Nagaloka could help.
REPORT ON VISIT OF Somboon Chungprampree, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF ENGAGED BUDDHISTS (INEB), 10-12TH JANUARY 2014.Posted in: Meetings and Events, Nagaloka News on Saturday, January 18th, 2014
Somboon (Moo) was invited to visit Nagaloka to use his invaluable experience in social activism and training in south east Asia,( through the Spirit in Education Movement [SEM], and INEB, both founded by Sulak Sivaraksa) to look at ways to enhance the activities at Nagaloka. Wide ranging discussions were held, one of the more concrete activities discussed being the Young Bodhisattva Training course that INEB carries out for 6 weeks a year. This is a course that introduces young people to basic Buddhist practices and social activism, which are at the heart of Nagaloka training. However for some time the possibility of conducting short courses besides the 8 month introductory course that is run at present, and INEB’s Young Bodhisattva course is the sort of training being considerd. It is proposed that in January 2015 such a course is conducted at Nagaloka as an experiment, with the help of some from INEB, and to see how it can be adapted the programme to the local needs.
12th January was devoted to INEB discussions. Lokamitra is a member of the Advisory Board, and Mangesh Dahiwale and Gauthama Prabhu (a Buddhist social activist from Tamil Nadu, and founder of “Vihara”, who was present) are members of the Executive Body.
The team looked at ways to enhance INEB activities in India and South Asia, bringing members together so that all could learn from each other and be inspired by each other. The following areas were explored:
1. The annual Prabuddha Bharat: organised every year by Nagaloka in October at the time of Ashok VIjaya Dashmi.
2. The close historical connection between Buddhism in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka: it was decided to plan a conference/exhibition of Buddhist Heritage and Buddhist Arts linking the two.
3. An INEB South Asia gathering.
4. The recent INEB meeting in Kuala Lumpur was most concerned with Buddhist/Muslim dialogue. It was decided to explore the possibilities of developing this in India, and especially for Buddhists and Moslems from oppressed backgrounds, and co-ordinate this with INEB’s International Forum on Buddhist-Muslim Relations.
5. Much more clarity is required on the Revival of Indian Buddhism for INEB and others. It was decided to develop a concept paper on this.
6. INEB has been drawing much interest in Europe recently. The idea of an Asia/Europe INEB meeting was discussed to see how the different experiences in the East and West can be shared. It was decided to hold such a meeting In Nagaloka in February 2015.
Felicitation of Dhammacharini Dhammalochana 4th January 2014.Posted in: Meetings and Events, Nagaloka News on Saturday, January 18th, 2014
Dhammacharini Dhammalochana visited Nagaloka for the first time on 4th January 2014. As she had played such a significant role in the beginning of Triratna in India, we took the opportunity to felicitate her.
She was one of the first members of the Triratna Buddhist Order in India, ordained in 1979. She was involved in social activism from a very young age, and had contact with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar on several occasions. After the conversions to Buddhism she became the leading light of the Pune Buddhist Women’s Association and as such organised most of Ven Sangharakshita’s programmes in Pune in the late 50′s and early 60′s.
When Lokamitra first came to Pune in October 1977, she managed his programme. It was her support that gave Lokamitra the confidence to return to India in mid 1978 to work here, and so the Triratna movement owes an enormous debt to her. She played a leading role in Triratna, especially in developing the magazine, Buddhayan, for several years, but family and work responsibilities meant that she was not able to continue as she would have liked.
Karuna conference, 11-14th December 2013Posted in: Meetings and Events, Nagaloka News on Saturday, January 18th, 2014
In December a three day conference was held at Nagaloka between some members of the Triratna social organisations in India and trustees and others from the Karuna Trust. The first of these meetings had taken place in 2008 at the Madhyamarg Retreat Centre, Kondhanpur, near Pune, and was aimed at developing more mutual understanding between the two “sides”.
These meetings present an opportunity for face to face dialogue, and an introspection/awareness of the deeper conditions that affect our attitudes and communication. They help us to understand how to work with a relationship that transcends enormous social and cultural differences, and find ways to work in the situation that maximise the best of what we share and to minimise any negative fall outs from the very different conditions that both experience.
The subjects covered included:
1. The changing funding situation in UK.
2. The changing Dalit reality and the expansion of Dalit movement, and especially a fast increasing appreciation of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and his growing significance throughout India among all discriminated communities.
3. New challenges in developing Dhamma and social work throughout India.
Last and not least there was a very deep felt appreciation of the contribution of Karuna Trust since its inception in 1980, one of the few funding organisations that is dedicated to working with the structurally oppressed in India, especially those inspired by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar .
Visit of Master Sculptor Wen Kwei Chan to Nagaloka 2nd – 4th January 2014Posted in: Meetings and Events, Nagaloka News on Saturday, January 18th, 2014
The Walking Buddha at Nagaloka was only installed in December 2009, but already has become known throughout the Buddhist world in India, and among many Buddhists abroad. Soon after Nagaloka began to develop in the late 1990′s we felt we should have an image of the Buddha at the centre of the campus. The question was, how should we see the Buddha? We could only think of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar saying tthat he liked to see the Buddha walking. It had to be a walking Buddha for us. However we could not conceive of raising the enormous funds that would entail. In 2005 the famous sculptor from Taiwan, Master Wen Kwei Chan, visited Nagaloka and responded immediately to Dr. Babsaheb Ambedkar’s great vision of social transformation through the Dhamma. There and then he committed himself to creating a Walking Buddha for us, and along with Ven Kuang Shin, with whom he came, raising the necessary funds.
The Walking Buddha was inaugurated on 13th December 2009, but due to ill health, master Wen Kwei Chan could not attend. He lanned to come out later on another occasion but again had to postpone it due to ill health. This time he was able to come and see for the first time the wonderful Walking Buddha in place in the centre of Nagaloka campus. However because his time in Nagpur was very limited, we could not have the large programme we would like to have done to appreciate him, but there was a civic reception and award presentation in the Buddha Surya Hall at Nagaloka, attended by the Mayor, Shri Anil Sole. He expressed his gratefulness to Master Wen Kwei Chan for creating such a beautiful huge image of the Buddha which has harnessed the splendor of Nagpur City (after its inauguration in 2009 it could people’s attention so much that it immediately became a symbol of Nagpur City). He also acknowledged the immense contribution of Nagaloka by striving to help all in spreading peace and amity through training of mind. The Mayor presented Master Wen Kwei Chan with a memento, citation and shawl, and said that he was especially pleased to be doing this on the 150th anniversary of the founding of Nagpur City.
In his response Master Wen Kwei Chan said that though he has created Buddha statues throughout China, Taiwan, Japan and United States, this Walking Buddha meant most to him, despite the enormous difficulties in creating it. Although a lot of money had to be raised for the materials for making the statue, it was really created by loving kindness and fraternity. He said that he is a family member of all present and a follower of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, and now hopes to visit Nagpur more often. He hoped the Walking Buddha would give inspiration to the followers of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in their peacful truuglle to cahnge thermselves and society through the teachings of the Buddha.
Namo Buddhaya, Namo Dhammaya, Namo Sanghaya
The Buddha has brought light to the lives of countless millions of people throughout history, bringing an end to their suffering. The Buddha’s light has been communicated not only through the spoken and written word but also through great art. Great statues and paintings of the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas inspire millions to tread the path of the Buddha Dhamma. Your creations make you one of the pearls of this great lineage of Buddhist artists, since the time of the Buddha, which has included such Bodhisattvas as the musician, Ashwaghosha, and the poet, Matrceta, who devoted their lives to communicating the Buddha Dhamma through their art.
You visited our Pure Land, Nagaloka, in 2005. Here all the differences between people such as caste, race and nation, dissolve just as the differences between the rivers disappear once they become part of the mighty ocean. Here all are trying to cultivate the Paramitas, empowering themselves though the Dhamma so that they can help to end the suffering of the world.
As soon as you arrived here you were deeply moved by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s great vision of transforming the lives of millions of the poorest and most discriminated in the world through the Buddha Dhamma, bringing back Buddhism to the land of its birth and re-generating it throughout the world. As soon as you heard of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s favourite image of the Buddha walking out in compassion to end the suffering of the world, you there and then dedicated yourself not only to creating such a statue, but to help raise the necessary funds.
What you have created in the Walking Buddha has surpassed anything we could have imagined; its sublime expression of compassionate action is beyond description. It fully embodies the spirit of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s peaceful Dhamma revolution, and the Buddha’s most basic teaching, Bahujan Hitaya, Bahujan Sukhaya, to go out and teach for the welfare and happiness of the many. It has become a symbol for both.
The presence of the Walking Buddha has brought a sense of completeness and fulfilment to our Nagaloka campus, and inspires all of us who live, study and work here to practice the Buddha Dhamma more completely for the sake of all beings. Many thousands have worshipped at the feet of the Walking Buddha since it was installed here in December 2009, and they leave with their faith in the Buddha strengthened and their commitment to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s peaceful Dhamma revolution revitalised.
From all of us at Nagaloka, as well as of all those thousands who have worshipped here, and the millions who will worship here, whose hearts have been and will be touched by the Walking Buddha, we offer you this citation as a token of our unbounded gratitude for this most precious of gifts, this unique, magnificent, and incomparable contribution to the revival of Buddhism, not only in India but throughout the world.
International Network of Engaged Buddhists Conference, Brickfields Mahavihara, Kuala Lumpur, 1st-4th November, 2013.Posted in: Nagaloka News on Saturday, January 18th, 2014
The theme of the conference was Inter-faith Dialogue for Peace and Sustainability, with the emphasis on Buddhist- Moslem dialogue, which was very pertinent being in Malaysia and with troubles in neighbouring Thailand and Burma. Lokamitra, a member of the Advisory Body, was asked to be a member of a panel, and give a short presentation on The Spirit of the Future ~ Is Peace Possible? In that he tried to show how Dr. Ambedkar, coming from one of the most structurally oppressed communities the world has known, found a path in Buddhism that fully supported the principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, empowered its followers, and stood unequivocally for peace. In the discussion that followed the short presentations, he emphasised that Buddhism stood for democracy and secularism.
On the last day, Sulak Sivaraksa, the founder of INEB, convened a meeting of Burmese Buddhists, Moslems and Christians. It was decided to form a commission including Buddhists, Moslems and Christians, collaborating with local civil-society bodies inside Myanmar, with three objectives:
1. to bring forth the facts of Buddhist-Muslim conflict in Myanmar;
2. to ascertain the causes of this conflict;
3. to develop resources and proposals for the establishment of inter-religious peace and harmony in Myanmar.
Maitreyaratna and Prashant, two alumni of Nagaloka, also attended, as well as Vivekamitra, who works with Lokamitra.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Warmly Welcomed at NagalokaPosted in: Meetings and Events, Nagaloka News on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014