Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

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Kim OHara
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Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:42 pm

Converting to Buddhism as a Form of Political Protest

SHIRASGAON, India—More than 500 low-caste Hindus filled the Veera Maidan, an open field at the edge of a dusty Maharashtra village, on a recent Sunday night. Neighbors openly gawked from porches as the throngs of people filed in, many dressed in symbolic white saris and kurtas. Under floodlights, they chanted: “I shall have no faith in Rama and Krishna who are believed to be incarnations of God nor shall I worship them. … I do not and shall not believe that Lord Buddha was the incarnation of Vishnu. … I shall hereafter lead my life according to the principles and teachings of the Buddha.” Instantly, there were 500 new Buddhists in India.

The converts had been Dalits, those from India’s lowest Hindu castes, formerly known as “untouchables.” They joined Ambedkarite Buddhism, a movement founded a half-century ago by Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, a Columbia University-educated lawyer who drafted India’s constitution. Ambedkar was born a Dalit, and he saw the Buddha as a radical social reformer who created an outlet from the rigid Hindu caste system. Today, as inter-caste tensions rise under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose party is affiliated with right-wing Hindu nationalists, low-caste Indians are continuing to find the appeal in Ambedkar’s message. ...
:reading: https://www.theatlantic.com/internation ... di/557570/

I'm not sure whether I think this should be considered a religious action or a political action.

:thinking:
Kim

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retrofuturist
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Re: Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:50 pm

Greetings Kim,
Kim OHara wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:42 pm
I'm not sure whether I think this should be considered a religious action or a political action.
The lines between the two have always been blurred in relation to the Ambedkar movement.

Personally I find it oxymoronic that an intensely personal, spiritual and introspective matter like one's religious path ought to be politicized for external, mundane, worldly means.... but there you go.

I hope those that have converted find benefit in the Dhamma, regardless of what took them in that direction in the first place.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by SarathW » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:10 am

The lines between the two have always been blurred in relation to the Ambedkar movement.
Agree.
Not only in India but the many coverts of West also used Buddhism as a means to protest their concerns.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by SarathW » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:33 am

Unfortunate thing about those protest and fight is they do not understand the underline human problem of Mana.
A man who fight for the discrimination of the cast system may end up with discriminating a woman or a person based on race.
We might win the battle but lose the war!
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by No_Mind » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:48 am

African Americans have been converting to Islam as political protest from 1930s. Difficult to draw the line between religion and social movements at times.

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Re: Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by chownah » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:38 am

See how stupid the political game is!
chownah

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Re: Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:40 am

Greetings Chownah,
chownah wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:38 am
See how stupid the political game is!
Yet here you are... posting yet again about it!

:D

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

SarathW
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Re: Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by SarathW » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:05 am

I think early Christianity movement also a political protest.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by pilgrim » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:10 am

History clearly indicates that the fortunes of religions are closely intertwined with politics. It is quite likely that none of us would be Buddhist today if not for the political actions of Asoka. The millions of Dalit Buddhists may be neo-Buddhists today but who is to say that they would not produce great teachers and saints in the next generation.

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Re: Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by No_Mind » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:39 am

BTW,

The Dalit Buddhist Movement or Navayana (new vehicle) does not believe in anatta and 4NT. Navayana Buddhists follow The Buddha and His Dhamma written by Ambedkar as its scripture.
In 1935, during his disagreements with Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar announced his intent to convert from Hinduism to Buddhism. Over the next two decades, Ambedkar studied texts of Buddhism and concluded that several of the core beliefs and doctrines of mainstream Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism were flawed, pessimistic and a corruption of the Buddha's teachings. In particular, according to Eleanor Zelliot – a professor of History specializing on Dalit community in India, Ambedkar found the following beliefs and doctrines of Buddhism as problematic:

Buddha's parivaja
The Buddhist tradition believes that the Buddha one day saw a sick man, an old man and a dead body in sequence, then he left his princely life and sought insights and a way out of human suffering. According to Ambedkar, this was absurd. He proposed that the Buddha likely sought insights because he was involved in "making peace among tribes".

Four Noble Truths
Ambedkar believed that this core doctrine of Buddhism was flawed because it denied hope to human beings. According to Ambedkar, the Four Noble Truths is a "gospel of pessimism", and may have been inserted into the Buddhist scriptures by wrong headed Buddhist monks of a later era. These should not be considered as Buddha's teachings in Ambedkar's view.

Anatta, Karma and Rebirth
These are other core doctrines of Buddhism. Anatta relates to no-self (no soul) concept. Ambedkar believed that there is an inherent contradiction between the three concepts, either Anatta is incorrect or there cannot be Karma and Rebirth with Anatta in Ambedkar's view. Other foundational concepts of Buddhism such as Karma and Rebirth were considered by Ambedkar as superstitions.

Bhikshu
A Bhikshu is a member of the monastic practice, a major historic tradition in all schools of Buddhism. According to Ambedkar, this was a flawed idea and practice. He questioned whether a Bhikshu tradition was an attempt to create "a perfect man or a social servant", states Zelliot.

Nirvana
According to Navayana, nirvana is not some other-worldly state of perfect quietude, freedom, highest happiness, nor soteriological release and liberation from rebirths in saṃsāra. In Ambedkar's view, nirvana is socio-political "kingdom of righteousness on earth" in which people are "freed from poverty and social discrimination and empowered to create themselves happy lives", state Damien Keown and Charles Prebish.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navayana# ... d_concepts
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chownah
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Re: Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by chownah » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:30 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:40 am
Greetings Chownah,
chownah wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:38 am
See how stupid the political game is!
Yet here you are... posting yet again about it!

:D

Metta,
Paul. :)
Yes, I am. Politics is a stupid game and that is one of many reasons why I opt out of the political game.
chownah

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Re: Indians converting to Buddhism as political protest

Post by SarathW » Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:10 am

The Dalit Buddhist Movement or Navayana (new vehicle) does not believe in anatta and 4NT.
It appears he has done the biggest damage to Buddhism and his people.
Hang on a sec.
This is not what I see in his book!
Belief in Soul is Not Dhamma
http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/prit ... 03_04.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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