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Remembering Ambedkar

by Sangharakshita

Here is a brand new talk by Urgyen Sangharakshita, a remembrance - at times highly evocative and moving - of the later years and death of a true Indian hero: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Dr. Ambedkar founded the Movement of mass conversions by ex-'Untouchables' ('Dalits') to Buddhism in order to escape the everyday oppressions and active persecutions they were subject to under the Hindu caste system. That movement, begun in 1956 as a deeply political act, continues today - and Sangharakshita recalls his own involvement, as well as drawing out some robust lessons for contemporary western Buddhists. We are offered a truly radical vision of a practice of Buddhism that revolutionizes all aspects of how we live. In that sense, this is nothing short of a challenging, if kindly, broadside of a talk.

Talk given at the London Buddhist Centre, 2006

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. Back at the L.B.C. - and online; saying hello to India; remembering 1950 - in Kalimpong; 'The Buddha and the Future of His Religion' by B. R. Ambedkar; a very controversial figure; the scarcity of Buddhists in India (5:22) 
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2. Writing to Dr. Ambedkar; visiting in Bombay - 'Rajghir'; observing at the political surgery; not a man to be trifled with (5:14) 
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3. Visiting again, 3 years on; Dr. Ambedkar with arthritis; Sangharakshita as a little controversial himself; changing religion - the Dalits ('Untouchables') and Hindu caste discrimination (4:24) 
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4. How does one become a Buddhist? Advising Dr. Ambedkar; addressing a Dalit meeting in Warali; the Buddha and the Dharma in Buddhism as contrasted with Hinduism; the Dalits' attention (4:55) 
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5. The 14th of October 1956 - first mass conversion of Dalits to Buddhism by U Chandramani and Dr. Ambedkar; negative responses; 22 extra vows - safeguarding the integrity of Buddhism; HInduism and Buddhism being mixed up (4:44) 
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6. A last meeting in Delhi on the 2500th anniversary of Buddhism; Dr. Ambedkar's illness; his worries for his Movement; Dr. Ambedkar on Marxism and Communism (3:45) 
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7. An intuition to be in Nagpur; Dr. Ambedkar's death; the condolence meeting in the park; the grief of the people; encouragement at a critical time (5:39) 
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8. The conversion Movement continued - then and now; the depth of appreciaton for Dr. Ambedkar and Buddhism amongst ordinary people - feeling free; the Dalits today (3:07) 
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9. New Buddhists in the west and east - some contrasts; emphasis on psychology and personal feelings versus social, economic and political aspects; towards the spiritual - the need for balance; a drift to the personal - lessons from India (3:52) 
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10. The gratitude of new Buddhists in India - to Dr. Ambedkar and for the Dharma; 'Bhim' - 'the Fiercesome One' - another side to the Buddha; a total revolution - a new way of living (3:10) 


Total running time: 44:12

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