Ever wondered what a retreat in India might be like? Read on… or click ‘play’! Samuel Rawlings, Subhuti’s secretary, writes with news and a most delightful video (BLASTEAST!) shot on the 6th annual convention of India’s National Network of Buddhist Youth (NNBY).
He says: “The NNBY Convention saw some 400 young Buddhists gathered together for a week of celebration, study and play. Activities included Dhamma study, film screenings, Puja, work periods and planning for socio-political activism, much frolicking, and a ‘cultural programme’ (a variety show of music, dance, comedy and drama).
The work of the NNBY is vitally important in contemporary India. The younger generation have been growing up in a completely different world to that of their parents, and though many of them come from a culturally Buddhist background, their interests and attitudes to life are radically different to that of their parents. A veritable generation gap is opening up, very much comparable to what the western world witnessed in the mid-twentieth century. It is from, and for, this new generation of Buddhists that the NNBY has sprung: it seeks to re-express and explore the perennial truths of the Dhamma to young 21st century Indians.
Dharmachari Subhuti gave a series of talks over the course of the week on the theme of ‘Science of Dhamma’, in which he emphasized the scientific nature of the Dhamma: how the Buddhist spiritual path works with natural laws that are part of the nature of reality. His talks linked up Sangharakshita’s teachings on the lower and higher evolution, the 5 Niyamas [from the Theravadin commentarial tradition], and the 5-fold system of spiritual discipline. This theme was particularly appropriate for the young Indian audience, for whom the educational and career paths of science, engineering and technology are particularly esteemed, as you may gather from some of Subhuti’s jokes. You can find the talks either on Free Buddhist Audio or Vimeo (click the direct links or search for “subhuti science”)