Nagaloka News

Social Engagement and Liberation Nagaloka, Nagpur, India — 11th-14th October 2016

Posted in: Nagaloka News on Monday, August 8th, 2016

Nagaloka and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), in partnership with Deer Park, invite you to a conference celebrating the 60th anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s momentous conversion to Buddhism.

Born a so-called Untouchable in 1891, Dr. Ambedkar dedicated his life to bringing about a society in which there was no discrimination of any kind, a society permeated by the values of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. These values, he said, he had derived not from the French Revolution but from his Master, the Buddha. His life of ceaseless struggle culminated in his conversion to Buddhism along with 500,000 others in October 1956. Though he died a few weeks after his conversion, millions have followed followed him into Buddhism, paving the way for a caste-free democracy in India.

His importance in Indian political and social life can be gauged from the fact that all present-day political parties have co-opted him, and are investing enormous energy into celebrating his 125th birth anniversary, which also falls in 2016.

During the conference we will be asking engaged Buddhists with a strong practice, from traditional and western backgrounds, to look at aspects of the Buddhism central to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s vision: Dhamma as empowerment, breaking down barriers between people, and the implications of Dhamma for governance and civil society, from the point of view of their own understanding of Buddhism

This conference will help bring Dr. Ambedkar’s compelling approach to Buddhism to the attention of the wider Buddhist world, and provide opportunities for his Indian followers to interact with Buddhists from outside India. Plan to arrive in Nagpur by October 10.

There will be no formal charge but donations will be welcome to help cover expenses.
The language of the conference will be English. Unfortunately it is not possible to arrange for translation.

Programme Outline:
Dr. Ambedkar’s Conversion will be observed on October 11
Inauguration programme, morning at Nagaloka
Evening programme (along with a million Ambedkarite Buddhists) at Nagpur’s Diksha Bhumi

Conference at Nagaloka—October 12-14
Mornings: Speakers from different parts of the Buddhist world, grounded in their own practice, will explore daily themes.
Afternoons: Group discussion followed by a panel of speakers and senior Buddhists.
Evenings: cultural events .
,
For further information write to: 60liberation@gmail.com

http://liberation60.squarespace.com/

The thinking behind the three themes of conference. Lokamitra writes:

Dhamma as Empowerment.

If anything my strongest experience of working with people in India is the empowerment that the Dhamma brings on many different levels, from change in name or identity onwards through to serious and committed practice. I have seen this in every Dhamma situation I have been in, lecture tours, classes, retreats and especially at Nagaloka. Dr. Ambedkar does not actually use the word “empowerment”, but in his whole approach to Buddhism, especially when he talks of Buddhism as a religion for man, his concern with living the best of human lives, sila, the paramitas, dignity and liberty, this is implicit, and especially when he says, “Now I have taken a new life”, and “The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual. There is nothing material or social in it. For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for the reclamation of the human personality.” He also emphasises the practice of the Paramitas, and the aspiration to become Bodhisattvas. Empowerment, then, is not just concerned with oneself, but implies that the best of human lives means going beyond one’s own personal needs and relating to the welfare of others and society at large.

Breaking Down Barriers Between People.

Dr. Ambedkar develops this in a particular way in The Buddha and His Dhamma in the section on Saddhamma, which, he says, has two functions, the purification of mind and the transformation of society. One cannot exist without the other; one is implicit in the other. Dr. Ambedkar suggests that our practice of the Dhamma, or rather the Saddhamma – our practice of Pragnya, Sila, Karuna and Metta – have to be evaluated to the extent they lead us to break down barriers between people and establish equality. One can appreciate how central this is to Dr. Ambedkar’s approach to the Dhamma from his experience of Indian society, but how intrinsic is this principle to the Dhamma itself, what, if any, are the practical implications of the “realisation” of sunyata, or satkayaditthi, or the practice of the Brahma Viharas? How can the practice of the Dhamma help us to overcome the samsaric tendencies to create differences between people, issues to do with gender and sexual orientation, as well as culture, race and ethnicity, issues that we often find embedded deep within the Buddhist community itself?

Dhamma and Governance

The Buddha talked of the Dhammarajya, governance according to the principles of the Dhamma. Bringing about a society in which all could live the best of human lives was essential to the approach of Dr. Ambedkar; he used the term Prabuddha Bharat, Enlightened India, to signify this. The key to this transformation is the Sangha, which Dr. Ambedkar called an ideal society. The Sangha is the link between the transforming individual and the wider transforming society. It not only sets an example of how to live skilfully to the wider society, but its members, through their Dhamma practice, are able to work together effectively for the benefit of society. As such it constitutes a microcosm of the better world to which the Sangha is committed to bringing into being. Dr. Ambedkar talked about his ideal society being governed by the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. He also said he derived these from the teachings of his Master, the Buddha. When he introduced the new constitution to the Indian Parliament, he emphasised that democracy was not new to India but had been the basis of relations in the Buddhist Sangha. How does the Dhamma affect the way we live and work together as Buddhists, what are the implications for our “practice” of Sangha, and what are the social implications if any?

In the groups we hope participants will try and engage with the themes on the basis of their own understanding and practice of the Dhamma, as practically as possible, perhaps from the following points of view.
1. How you, your tradition relate to the theme as a principle of Dhamma.
2. Dhamma practices to help us work in that direction.
3. How would we expect that to manifest in our behaviour and attitudes.

tag

Meditation Retreat for New Students.

Posted in: Nagaloka News on Sunday, August 7th, 2016

A meditation retreat for Dhammasekhiya students was organised from July 17th ¬ to 27th at the Buddhasurya Vihara, Nagaloka, led by Dh. Vivekratna who was assisted by 2 Dhammacharis. 111 students (65 boys and 49 girls) participated in the retreat. During the course of the retreat the participants were introduced to the two basic meditation practices, the Anapanasati and Metta bhavana as well as walking meditation. They were taught about proper posture, the hindrances in meditation, and how to work on them. They were taught how to keep a meditation dairy and how to benefit from silence. Question and answer sessions took place daily
Meditation Theory Teaching by Dh. Vivekratna at Buddhasurya Vihar
Meditation Theory Teaching by Dh. Vivekratna at Buddhasurya Vihar
Retreat Participants
Retreat Participants

tag

Dhamma Mitra Ceremony

Posted in: Nagaloka News on Sunday, August 7th, 2016

On 10th July, Ashad full moon day, the day when the Buddha is said to have started his teaching at the Deer Park in Sarnath, eleven people became Dhamma Mitras, through which they enter into systematic spiritual training within the context of the Triratna Buddhist Community.
Dh. Vivekratna spoke on “The Significance of the Dhamma Mitra Ceremony”. He later conducted the ceremony in which the new Dhamma Mitras make three undertakings to do with the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha and the Triratna Community.
Dhamma Mitra Ceremony

Making the three undertakings in the front of all the participants.
Making the three undertakings in the front of all the participants.
Team Members with New Dhamma Mitras
Team Members with New Dhamma Mitras

tag

3rd July 2016 fifteenth year of Dhammasekhiya Training

Posted in: Nagaloka News on Sunday, August 7th, 2016

On 3rd July the fifteenth year of Dhammasekhiya Training was inaugurated inthe Nagarjuna Institute at Nagaloka. Mr. Rajshekhar Undru (IAS, Joint Secretary, Dept. of Pharmaceuticals) was the chief guest and spoke on “ The Importance of Spiritual Training”. Prof Chandu Maske, soon to become the Principal of the BA College run by Nagarjuna Institute, and Dh Vivekratna, the overall Director, also spoke. There were 103 trainees (46 women and 57 men) from 19 different states present. The programme ended with Pali Puja.

Inauguration photo
The Dhammasekhiya residential training course lasts for eight months. Most of the students are completely new to the Dhamma. During the course the students learn about the basic teachings of the Buddha, Dr, Ambedkar’s main teachings, especially his contribution to Buddhism. They practice meditation and chanting twice a day. They also learn the basics of social work. At the end of eight months they receive a certificate. Some go on to do the three year BA course, Nagarjuna Institute runs as part of Nagpur University.

tag

Inauguration of Skills Based Training

Posted in: Uncategorized on Sunday, August 7th, 2016

On 15th June 2016 the inauguration of skills based training programme took place in Nagaloka. 25 Alumni from 4 different states were invited for this training. The new teacher, Arhant, was given a warm welcome by alumni and team members. Dh. Vivekratna delivered a speech as a the guest of honour. In this programme two subjects, English language and basic computer training are taught. The duration of the training is be for 4 months.

This is the eighth year the courses are being conducted. The students have found them very useful in preparing them for work in the world.
Skill Based Trainees Alumni with Team
Skill Based Trainees Alumni with Team Members

tag

21st May 2016, Buddha Jayanti or Vaishaka Purnima (Full moon day)

Posted in: Nagaloka News on Sunday, August 7th, 2016

At Nagaloka Buddha Jayanti was celebrated in front of the Walking Buddha statue. Dh. Pragyaratna explained the significance of the day. This was followed by Pali chanting led by Dh. Ratnanishta. Dh.Vivekratna gave the main talk focussing on Siddartha’s commitment to the goal, the struggles he underwent, that he never turned back from his determination to realise the truth. He illustrated his talk with many stories. Buddha Jayanti or Vaishaka Purnima

tag

TELANGANA STATE VISIT

Posted in: Nagaloka News on Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Dh,Manidhamma and Dh Nagadeep visited Nizamabad, in the new State of Telangana to celebrate Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s 125th birth Anniversary. Programmes were organised by Nagaloka alumni, and the Lokakalyan Trust which some of them have established. The Trust also organised distribution of sweets and food. Throughout the day they visited various localities including, Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar, Lumbini Buddha Vihar, the Central Food Corporation of India Warehouse, Pulang, Nagaram Village, 80 Quarters. Some were very poor slums, and in some places this programme had not been celebrated before. In each place talks on the significance of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life were given and Buddhist pujas conducted. Cultural programmes were also organised in some places where the talks were given.

TELANGANA STATE VISIT
Talk By Dh Manidhamma at Lumbini Buddha

tag

ODISSA VISIT

Posted in: Uncategorized on Sunday, August 7th, 2016

In April Dhammacharis Padmaviar and Dhammasen visited Umarkot in Odissa for the celebrations of Dr. Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary on 14th April. Their programme was organized by Sharat Panigari, an activist working with a local NGO. He had organised a march through Umarkot for three kilometres to the statue of Dr. Ambedkar, where they paid their respects and expressed their gratitude by garlanding the statue and chanting the Pali puja. After this the main programme took place. Dh. Padmavir gave a talk on “The Ideal of Dhammarajya”, and ideal reignited by Dr Ambedkar. Dh. Dhammasen gave a talk on “The Five Precepts”.
After the programme lunch was donated for all the participants by Sharat Panigrai.
Local people march with Dhs Padmavir and Dhammasen
Local people march with Dhs Padmavir and Dhammasen

tag

Nagaloka 14th April. Celebration of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary, in Buddha Surya Vihara.

Posted in: Uncategorized on Sunday, August 7th, 2016

The Chief Guests were Dhammachari Subuti and Dhammachari Maitriveer Nagarjuna. Using examples from Dr. Ambedkar’s life, Dh. Subhuti emphasised that we need to transform ourselves and work together with others if we want to realise Dr Ambedkar’s vision of a better society. Dh Maitriveer Nagarjun talked about the transformation of a caste determined society to a true democracy, and the influence Dr.Ambedkar saw Buddhism could have on that transformation. The programme was organised by Triratna centres in Nagpur.

Dhammachari Maitriveer Nagarjuna
Dhammachari Maitriveer Nagarjuna

tag

WORKSHOP ON BASELINE SURVEY

Posted in: Nagaloka News on Monday, February 29th, 2016

The workshop on baseline survey was organised at seminar room in Training Building, Nagaloka from 16th to 20th December, 2015. The workshop was attended by 18 alumni (10 male and 8 female). The overall aim of the workshop was to provide skill in order for ascertaining the socio-economic status of a given area; to develop an investigative attitude among socially engaged alumni; and to provide analytical skills for the information extracted from baseline. Mr. Gauthama Prabhu, Director of Nagarjuna Training Institute, Nagaloka led the workshop.

The workshop began with an introductory address on need of baseline survey and method to conduct baseline survey. During the workshop, participants were divided into groups and sent to various areas namely Indora, Dhammadeep Nagar, Sanjay Gandhi Nagar and Pili Nadhi located in Nagpur city and Rama Nagar, Kamgar Nagar, Kumhare Colony and Ramgarh of Kamptee Tehsil. Alumni visited the Balwadi centre of these areas and gathered basic information about the centre. During the field visits, alumni explored the functioning of Balwadi centre, Maternal and child care, social problems and socio-economic background of selected localities. With the support of Balwadi staffs, alumni conducted home visit and interview some of the community people. After the field visit, each group gave presentation of their findings and shared their field experiences.

12390998_449581828579510_3685603688168283645_n12376159_449348345269525_8822424625959606346_n

tag