As the Western world heads rapidly towards Christmas and the holiday period, life in India goes on much as normal. And on Triratna’s land in Bodh Gaya, place of the Buddha’s Enlightenment, Buddhavajra is just getting going. He’s a young Indian Order Member who moved there with his young family just over a year ago, with the strong intention to initiate Dhamma classes and retreats for local people - so often overlooked in the throng of pilgrims visiting the glittering temples. Since arriving he’s gathered a small community who live in two large circular huts on our land and, working closely with them, has just finished the first session of a very active Dhamma teaching programme. This culminated in a retreat for over 100 Bihari men, women, and youths. He sends us his latest news -
“Before this retreat started I was thinking maybe 75 people will come - but on the day we began 110 people arrived! I was a little bit worried about accommodation - and my budget. When it was planned I’d got sponsorship for 45, so from that to over 100 was quite a jump. In the end I asked my friends in Maharastra for donations and we were ok. I am very grateful towards them. 90% of those present were young, which was great - everyone was very helpful.
We are working a big area around Bodh Gaya. Three days before the retreat I went to give a talk in Bhabhua, a town 200 kilometres from Bodh Gaya. The talk was in the Doctor Ambedkar hostel there, so I spoke about why he accepted Buddhism. There were nearly 125 young guys listening, and I saw that even though they don’t know much about him, and are far away from where he lived and worked, they still have much faith in him. It is such a good thing we can spread the Dhamma here and introduce more people to Babasaheb (Ambedkar)’s thought. We just need some hard work and some help, and together we can change Bihar and the world!”
Back in Bodh Gaya he’s been running a programme of weekly classes and monthly day retreats, some of which are shown in the photos. These both feed into the bigger retreats, which then provide a pool of people wanting to take things further. It is wonderful to see Dharma activities for local people starting there after so many years.
Buddhavajra has a fundraising website with more details of his Bodh Gaya classes (and a donate button!) at www.justgiving.com/bodhgayadhammateaching. All donations will be very gratefully received, and used for his team’s travel and publicity expenses.
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