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How many mitras do you know? If you are reading this in India, the answer is probably, A lot!
There are around 10,000 mitras in India (where they are known as dhammamitras), including a staggering 850 women who have asked for ordination. With numbers like this, the Indian Mitra Convenors have their work cut out. This year, so far, they have organised three large mitra conventions.
Nagaketu writes: “The first took place at the Dikshabhumi in Nagpur (site of Dr Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism) on 17th and 18th January, during a Buddha Festival. The theme was “Buddhism and Art”, and Subhuti gave excellent talks exploring the theme. Ratnadarshi, Dhammadarshi, Prajnyasakhi, Jnanajyoti, Jnanoday, Prassanamitra, Nagaratna and I, and many dhammamitras, worked very hard for the success of the convention. Around 800 men and women took part in the event (from Vidarbha, Maharashtra, Chattisgharh, Uttar Pradesh and Telagana) which began with mitra ceremonies for 21 people.
The second convention was in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 6th-8th March, where Ratnasiddhi, Bodhisagar and Nagaketu gave talks. Around 80 men and women mitras and 10 Order members were present, along with participants from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Delhi. Vimaladitya and dhammamitras from Meeruth worked hard to make this event successful.
The third convention took place 28th-31st March, in another historic location: Mahad was the site of the civil disobedience organised by Dr Ambedkar in protest against Dalits being denied access to a water tank.
Ratnashil, Suchiratna, and Bodhisen gave talks at this event, organised by Satyadeep, Anantamitra, Pashil, Anandshakya and Amaraditya.
All three Conventions were very inspiring, and we hope to have a fourth for dhammamitras in south India. Our 10,000 mitras are spread all over India, some around Centres and some in very remote places, but the Indian Mitra convenors are trying hard to build a strong network and training system for them. It’s a massive task.”
Want to help with this “massive task”? Help 850 women (and their Dhamma brothers) train for ordination and change the lives of thousands more.
The India Dhamma Trust raises money to support the ordination training of Indian mitras. Donations welcome.