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Buddhism and Social Transformation

by Subhuti (2019)

'Buddhism and social transformation in India and Hungary: Lessons for us'

Subhuti has been visiting India for six months each year for the last 30 years. He is supporting the work of Indian Buddhists who are followers of Dr Ambedkar, an Indian statesman and leader who was born an 'Untouchable'. After a lifetime of struggle, he converted to Buddhism in 1956, as a way out of the Hindu caste system, and millions of fellow Dalits have followed him since then. The Triratna Community has a substantial presence among these Dalits Buddhists and Subhuti works with them.

For the last 15 years he has also been visiting a group of Roma in Hungary who are inspired by Dr Ambedkar and have become Buddhists. Some Roma Mitras run a school in Northern Hungary amongst desperately poor and marginalised people against the background of widespread prejudice and a far right government, whose leader boasts of creating an 'illiberal democracy'. Though this is not an experience most of us share, there is much we can learn about creating a free and just society from these situations.