Dr. Ambedkar

The Dharma Revolution in India

Uddyotani writes: We have many legacies that come from Sangharakshita’s years in India. This is where he practised, beginning as a young Englishman in the Signals Corps whose wartime placement took him to the land of the Buddha, staying there as a Buddhist monk until his return to England in 1964. This is where he met his many teachers, one of whom – Dhardo Rimpoche – we remember this month. This is also where Sangharakshita taught the Dharma, and his students are now the people who make up the Triratna Buddhist Order and the movement in India. It’s a rich heritage, and one which challenges our euro-centric approach – my sense that I know how the Dharma is practised, without awareness that I practice in a very British way with all my cultural assumptions and habits intact. It is amazing to look out from our own small Centre and see the Triratna Buddhist Community thriving around the world, taking different shapes in different countries and interacting in different ways with the society around it. It is estimated that there may be as many as 25-40 million Buddhists in India today – people who take this identity following the mass conversions from Hinduism to Buddhism, following the example of their hero and leader Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar. Many people chose this path to free themselves from the injustice of the Indian caste system that keeps the so-called ‘Untouchables’ in a state of poverty and deprivation. Ambedkar, himself from the untouchable castes, was the Law Minister following Indian Independence; he worked with Gandhi but parted company with him over the issue of... Read more