How Karuna is helping to spread the Dharma in India
On Mon, 8 October, 2012 - 11:38
This week features a set of stories about Triratna’s social and Dhamma work in India in the run-up to October 14th and the anniversary of the great ‘mass conversions’ of 1956. These saw millions of Indians leave their ‘low-caste’ status in the Hindu caste system and convert to Buddhism under the leadership of the great Dr. Ambedkar. Andrea, from Triratna’s fundraising charity the ‘Karuna Trust’, writes with some of the background to this extraordinary ‘Dhamma Revolution’, and news of the part Karuna has played in it. She says - “In India, poverty, a lack of opportunities and caste-based discrimination reflects a set of interconnected economic and social problems. These are perpetuated by the hereditary caste system, which still determines livelihood, marriage, educational opportunities and social position.
At the bottom of the caste system are about 170 million people once called ‘untouchables’, and now known as Dalits. Many face great hardship, degradation and poverty, with severely limited access to basic services, and routine discrimination from the authorities and their dominant-caste neighbours. Whilst it’s true that economically India is developing rapidly, India’s development largely leaves behind the low castes, who, if anything, are becoming comparatively poorer - and years of social discrimination, prejudice and violence have left many Dalits suffering from low self-esteem, depression and a sense of inferiority.
Karuna supports ‘Mind Change’ projects that offer tools to improve the emotional, psychological and spiritual quality of people’s lives - tools such as Meditation, Non-Violent Communication and the Arts. We base our Dhamma programme on Ambedkar’s vision “The world cannot be reformed except by the reformation of the mind of man, and the mind of the world.”
We enable people to contact the Dhamma through our support of grassroot projects such as the Mazi Asmita (My Dignity) project which takes the Dhamma and meditation to women in isolated rural areas. We also provide conditions for people to deepen their practice of the Dhamma by attending residential retreats at Bhaja and Bor Dhoran retreat centres.
The Dhamma has enormous potential to grow in India and change millions of people’s lives for the better. This takes money, and over the years Karuna has built up a network of over 7,000 regular donors all across the UK using volunteer door-knocking appeal teams. As a result we send over £1 million every year to India - click here to see an interactive map of Karuna projects and project partners in India.
You can help the Indian Dhamma Revolution by engaging in a unique form of spiritual practice. By fundraising for Karuna on a door-to-door appeal or a phone fundraising campaign, you will develop new skills, learn now to connect with yourself and others more fully, live in community and take your practice much deeper”.
Tomorrow we’ll be featuring Karuna’s new ‘Dhamma Seed Fund’ set up to make grants to new Buddhist groups across India, however small. To find out more about Karuna, Fundraising, Appeals and India: