Nagaloka Centre is the home of the Nagarjuna Training Institute, which offers an eight month residential training programme in Buddhist teachings and practices, as well as Social Action, for young men and women from all over India. Since 2012 it has been conducting a three year residential BA degree as part of Nagpur University. The first goal of these programmes is to help young people become empowered through Buddhist practices, so that they can lead more satisfactory lives, and contribute more to society. When they leave Nagaloka, many of the students share what they have learnt with others in their towns and villages, helping others to become empowered through the teachings of the Buddha and Dr. Ambedkar; this is the second goal of the programme. All students live in beautifully designed residential buildings, and follow a daily programme of meditation and puja, class instruction, personal study, and work periods. The students also participate in cultural activities, visit nearby social projects, and attend meditation retreats from time to time. At present there are 150 residential students, divided between these two courses. It is intended to raise this number to 300 students as soon as facilities and resources become available.
Many people visit Nagaloka from India and abroad, and the students often have the opportunity to meet with them and hear about Buddhist activities in Europe, Asia and the United States.
Benefits of the Training
The Nagarjuna Training Institute has had a profound impact on the students. Most feel transformed after only a few months of Dhamma practice. They develop confidence, are able to overcome unhelpful habits, cultivate skilful mental states, and realise they can do something with their lives, both for themselves and for society. Many alumni have gone on to complete their postgraduate studies at prestigious institutions across India. Many are now engaged in social projects such as starting schools and hostels, raising awareness amongst minority communities of their rights, responding to atrocities. Many are sharing what they have learnt of the Dhamma in their towns and villages.
Caste attitudes have permeated the common consciousness to such an extent, that the different caste communities in India, even amongst the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, do not always cooperate with each other, even after they have began to identify as Buddhist. As a result of Dhamma practice, they leave behind the old caste identity and relate to each other just as human beings and Buddhists. This contributes to a truly democratic society.
Many of the ex-students participate in the Nagaloka Alumni Association, a network covering 25 states in India that helps to organize local activities, retreats and lecture tours. Through this work they make a significant contribution to the development of Buddhism in India.
Who Can Attend the Courses?
The Buddhism and Social Action training program is open to people from all over India who want to learn Buddhist teachings and practices, and contribute to Dr. Ambedkar’s vision of Prabuddha Bharat, a New India permeated by the values of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, which he said he derived from the teachings of the Buddha..
Students should be interested in learning about Dhamma, the thought of Dr. Ambedkar, as well as social activism.
The programmes require commitment and hard work; candidates should be ready to set aside all study and family responsibilities for the duration of the course they attend. They will be expected to put themselves fully into all aspects of the daily routine at the Nagarjuna Training Institute.
- H.S.C appeared
- Minimum age of 18 years
- Interested in social activism
- Conversant in Hindi language
- Preference is given to candidates from outside of Maharashtra.