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Report on visit of Somboon Chungprampree

Somboon (Moo)-Executive Secretary of International Network of Engaged Buddhist,   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.