11th-14th October, 2016
Nagaloka, Nagpur, India
Nagaloka and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, in partnership with Deer Park and the Karuna Trust, UK, are organising a conference to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s momentous conversion to Buddhism.
Born a so-called Untouchable in 1891, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar dedicated his life to bringing about a society in which there was no scope for discrimination of any kind, a society permeated by the values of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. These values, he said, he had learnt 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, on the anniversary of King Ashoka’s conversion. He initiated a peaceful Dhamma revolution, the wheels of which are turning faster and faster every day. Even though he died just a few weeks after his conversion in 1956, millions have followed and are following him into Buddhism, paving the way for a caste free true democracy in India.
His importance in Indian political and social life can be gauged from the fact that all political parties have co-opted him, and are investing enormous energy into celebrating his 125th birth anniversary, which also falls in 2016. Let us hope that the more they look at him, the more they will begin to appreciate the significance of his conversion to Buddhism and its social implications.
During the conference we will be asking Buddhists from traditional and western backgrounds to look at and engage with aspects of the Dhamma central to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s approach – Dhamma as empowerment, Breaking down barriers between people through the Dhamma, and the implications of Dhamma for governance. In this way we hope to help them appreciate the relevance of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s approach to the Dhamma for the wider Buddhist world, so that he becomes a source of inspiration and guidance for all , and not just for Indian Buddhists.
“Dr. Ambedkar ….the greatest non-violent revolutionary of the (20th) Century.” Urgyen Sangharakshita
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