Babasaheb Ambedkar arrives at AdhisthanaOn Fri, 17 November, 2023 - 00:33
For several years now, during each international Preceptors’ College meeting, time is dedicated to hearing from the kula of Public Preceptors in India. This was a special year, with all ten of them able to travel over, making up more than 20% of those gathered for the meeting.
One morning was spent hearing about the work of the ordination teams and public preceptors in India, including the establishment of a new retreat centre dedicated to ordination training, Sudarshan Bhumi, named in memory of Sudarshan. During a free afternoon, the India Kula cooked a celebratory dinner for the Adhisthana Community and College, and then led us all in a very special evening during which Subhuti was invited to unveil a bust of Dr Ambedkar. The India Kula commissioned the bust to be made especially for Adhisthana following a conversation with Bhante in 2018, and it has now taken up it’s place in the room above the shrine room, rededicated as ‘Bhim Smrti’.
Following a Pali Puja recited by Ratnashil and Abhayavati, we processed via the burial mound to ‘Bhim Smrti’, where the bust was unveiled and garlanded. Amrutdeep, Amoghasiddhi and Subhuti invoked the deep connection between Sangharakshita and Dr. Ambedkar, their shared vision of the dharma and it’s transformative potential for society, affirming Babasaheb’s relevance to the whole world. There was traditional Ambedkarite song and chanting, and we ended with the Dhammapalam Gatha. It was a powerful and affecting event – a highlight of the meeting for many present.
“As I worked on my description of that historic ceremony, and tried to bring out the significance of some of the things Ambedkar had done, I became more than ever aware how much there was in common between his approach to Buddhism and mine. Though the saying itself may not have been current in his day, for him, too, commitment was primary, lifestyle secondary, as his contemptuous dismissal of pseudo- monasticism in `The Buddha and the Future of His Religion’ abundantly testified. His assertion, in effect, of the fundamental unity of the Buddhist spiritual community, corresponded to my own insistence on the central importance of Going for Refuge…”
– Sangharakshita, from ‘The History of my Going for Refuge’
You can see a fuller version of the three talks at the dedication of Bhim Smrti, here.