Ambedkarites

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Ambedkarites

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:32 pm

The Ambedkarites are those Buddhists (usually from the Dalit - untouchable caste of India) who follow the teachings of Dr. Ambedkar and converted to Buddhism. I received an e-mail from an Ambedkarite asking me for "proof" that the Buddha taught re-birth and in the 31 planes of existence. He claimed that the Buddha never made any such teachings.

So I provided him with the Sutta references from the Pali Canon and asked him if he did not believe in re-birth, then what did he believe in? What does happen after death, in his view? He never responded.

Do all Abedkarites believe like this? Does anyone know what their core beliefs are about the Four Noble Truths, rebirth, etc.?

I consider myself a "Modern Theravadin" but in talking with this individual, I probably sounded like a "Classical Theravadin" to him.
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby bodom » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:39 pm

Never heard of them. I cant find anything online either about there beliefs. The only thing i could find on them was this website: http://ambedkartimes.com/

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The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby Individual » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:19 pm

TheDhamma wrote:The Ambedkarites are those Buddhists (usually from the Dalit - untouchable caste of India) who follow the teachings of Dr. Ambedkar and converted to Buddhism. I received an e-mail from an Ambedkarite asking me for "proof" that the Buddha taught re-birth and in the 31 planes of existence. He claimed that the Buddha never made any such teachings.

So I provided him with the Sutta references from the Pali Canon and asked him if he did not believe in re-birth, then what did he believe in? What does happen after death, in his view? He never responded.

Do all Abedkarites believe like this? Does anyone know what their core beliefs are about the Four Noble Truths, rebirth, etc.?

I consider myself a "Modern Theravadin" but in talking with this individual, I probably sounded like a "Classical Theravadin" to him.

Why does it matter to you?

With metta :heart:,
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby Prasadachitta » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:20 pm

There is not really a Uniform set of beliefs among the former untouchable Buddhists. I have met quite a few within FWBO circles as the FWBO has a large presence within that community. Sangharakshita was an important figure in conveying an understanding of Buddhism to Dr Ambedkar before he converted to Buddhism along with tens of thousands of other ex untouchables. Those I have met seem to have no problem with the idea of rebirth.


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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby bodom » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:22 pm

Gabe what is up with the avatar? WTH is that? Thats just scary man.

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:09 pm

Individual wrote:Why does it matter to you?
Individual

To get educated on the matter, silly.

:popcorn:
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby Prasadachitta » Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:41 pm

bodom_bad_boy wrote:Gabe what is up with the avatar? WTH is that? Thats just scary man.

:namaste:


I will change it. To tell the truth its starting to disturb me as well.

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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby zavk » Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:49 am

Hi TheDhamma and all,

My two cents: I would conjecture that the 'Ambedkarites' have a politically-invested reason to question the notion of rebirth, insofar as the untouchables are a group of people who have for thousands of years been oppressed by a caste system that justifies one's position in society with a certain reductionistic understanding of karma and rebirth (i.e. it is one's bad karma that one is born into a lower caste; it is one's lot in life so one best 'get on with it'.....)

I'm not pointing this out to suggest that their arguments or beliefs about the dhamma (whatever they are) should be accepted willy-nilly. But it does suggest to me that, as Gabriel pointed out, when we talk of the Ambedkarites we are really talking about a huge and diverse group of people who have been living under difficult conditions for a long time. I spoke to someone from India recently who told me how groups of Ambekarites who proudly declare themselves Buddhist would often behave in very un-Buddhist ways. To me, this is less a willful misrepresentation of Buddhism and more a manifestation of deep, enduring sociopolitical frustration. I don't want to generalise to say that all Ambedkarites are 'un-Buddhist' or that the Ambedkar movement is 'wrong'. But again, what this suggests me is that the Ambedkar movement is dealing with deeply-sedimented sociopolitical problems, problems which have been around for a long time and which the Buddha attempted to address too.

So to come back to your question, having no real firsthand knowledge, I don't know if all Ambedkarites reject the notion of rebirth. Or for the matter, I don't know if we can speak of the Ambedkarites as a unified group of people. And I certainly don't think we can talk about them without also considering broader social, cultural and political issues. In my opinion, a modern day Buddhism should be prepared to address these issues.
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:21 am

Hello all,

You may be interested in this article from buddhist channel:
New chair person for Sri Lanka - India Buddhist Association
Daily Mirror, Jan 22, 2009
Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thera has been elected the Chairperson of the Indo-Sri Lanka Buddhist Friendship Association. This election took place following a series of Buddhist ceremonies that took place from January 10 to 11, in Nandedi, Maharashtra.
The series of events was held for the twenty-second time, to mark the mass conversion to Buddhism that took place on the day of Vesak in 1956 to coincide with the 2500th Buddha Jayanthi.

One hundred thousand people from the Dalit (Untouchable) community embraced Buddhism, led by the main architect of the Indian Constitution, Bhimrao Ramji (Babasahib) Ambedkar.

This year's celebration saw the attendance of over two hundred thousand Buddhist pilgrims. Ven. Muddalakkuliye Ratanajothi Thera, Ven. Kimbulapitiye Saddhananda Thera and Bikkhuni Kusuma were among the Sri Lankan delegation.India has seen a Buddhist revival in the past decade, when every year thousands of Dalits embrace Buddhism.
http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 77,0,0,1,0

And here is some information about the great man, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar:,
http://www.ambedkar.org/Babasaheb/Babasaheb.htm

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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:40 pm

TheDhamma wrote:The Ambedkarites are those Buddhists (usually from the Dalit - untouchable caste of India) who follow the teachings of Dr. Ambedkar and converted to Buddhism. I received an e-mail from an Ambedkarite asking me for "proof" that the Buddha taught re-birth and in the 31 planes of existence. He claimed that the Buddha never made any such teachings.

The term “Dalit” means “Oppressed” — not “untouchable,” which was a term use by the Hindus, not by the Dalits. The belief among Abhedkarites that the Buddha did not teach rebirth derives from Dr Ambedkar's book — The Buddha and His Dhamma.

For many Ambedkarites, that is the only book regarded as a reliable source of the Dhamma, as they maintain that Buddhism was corrupted by the Brahmins in ancient times. If you read that book, and learn about Dr Amedkar's early life, you will understand why they believe what they do.

The Buddhist texts also mentions “Outcastes” as in the Vasala Sutta, for example.

I stayed for a year as the resident monk at Southall Buddha Vihāra, and tried my level best to teach the true Dhamma, but it was not acceptable to Dr Ambedkar's followers.

One can draw parallels with western-educated atheists who become interested in Buddhism because it has no God, and then adopt its teachings, except for those teachings about heaven, hell, literal rebirth, etc.
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:08 am

Hi Bhante,

Okay thanks for that information. Do you know what they believe in or accept in regard to cosmology, life after death, etc., since they seem to reject rebirth?
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:27 am

I don't know they answers here, but they have ties with the FWBO (or at least did at one point not 100% sure of the current situation) so if you look through the FWBO web site or do a joint search for both at the same time you may find the answers you are looking for
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby clw_uk » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:33 pm

All i know about them is that they dont accept kamma and rebirth because they dont believe that people with disabilities etc are born that way because of past kamma
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Why Dr. Ambedkar renounced Hinduism?

Postby amit niranjane » Sat Aug 27, 2011 5:58 pm

Dr. Ambedkar's role as a prominent constitution maker of India is quite well known. However, his views on religion, particularly his reasons for renouncing Hinduism, the religion of his birth, are not as widely known. Ambedkar who was born in an "untouchable" family carried on a relentless battle against untouchability throughout his adult life. In the last part of his life, he renounced Hinduism and became a Buddhist. What were his reasons for doing so?
A detailed answer to this question can be obtained by studying his The Buddha and His Dhamma, Annihilation of Caste, Philosophy of Hinduism, Riddles in Hinduism etc. Nonetheless, some of his articles, speeches and interviews before and after his conversion to Buddhism throw some light on this question.http://buddha4world.blogspot.com
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THE BUDDHA AND HIS DHAMMA by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

Postby amit niranjane » Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:15 pm

BOOK ONE: SIDDHARTH GAUTAMA — HOW A BODHISATTA BECAME THE BUDDHA

*Part I — From Birth to Parivraja*
*Part II — Renunciation for Ever*
*Part III — In Search of New Light*
*Part IV — Enlightenment and the Vision of a New Way* Medicine Buddha - Healer Statue Tibetan Buddhism Antique Bronze Finish with Hand-painted Color Accents Standard
*Part V — The Buddha and His Predecessors*
*Part VI — The Buddha and His Contemporaries*
*Part VII — Comparison and Contrast*

Read more » http://buddha4world.blogspot.com
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby cooran » Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:39 am

Hello amit,

Glad to see your posts. Hope you can clarify anything that needs to be clarified in the posts above. Look forward to your posts in other topics throughout the forum as well. Welcome! :group:

with metta
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:39 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: The belief among Abhedkarites that the Buddha did not teach rebirth derives from Dr Ambedkar's book — The Buddha and His Dhamma.

Interesting. The book itself seems to present a fairly standard exposition...
http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/prit ... 04_02.html
§ 2. Rebirth of What?
1. Did the Buddha believe in rebirth?
2. The answer is in the affirmative.
3. It is better to split this question further into two parts: (1) Rebirth of What; and (2) Rebirth of Whom.
4. It is better to take each one of these two questions separately.
...

:anjali:
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:12 am

Ambedkar's book wrote:10. When the four elements from this floating mass join together, a new birth takes place.
11. This is what the Buddha meant by rebirth.
12. The elements need not [be], and are not necessarily, from the same body which is dead. They may be drawn from different dead bodies.
13. It must be noted that the body dies. But the elements are ever-living.


That sounds more like the Hindu concept of rebirth/reincarnation.
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby rowboat » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:42 am

I used to own the book. The interesting chapters are those which look at the wide range of philosophical and religious beliefs at the time of the Buddha. Ambedkar was a true polymath followed by an endless string of letters after his name. He actually drafted the Indian constitution. He was also an outspoken political opponent of Gandhi. To Ambedkar Gandhi was a patronizing and dishonest opportunist towards the Dalit population of India.
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Re: Ambedkarites

Postby freefall68 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:27 am

Dr. Ambedkar's decision to adopt Buddhism was partly political and partly spiritual. The same cannot be said about his followers who converted to Buddhism en masse. For most of them it was purely a political statement against caste oppression of Hinduism. It had nothing to do with the spirituality. They were happy to get a label other than Hinduism. Had Ambedkar converted to Islam, they would happily have become Muslims. In my interaction with Ambedkarite Buddhists, I have found very few of them actually interested in Buddhist spirituality.
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