Triratna hosts first residential retreat in Odisha, India
On Thu, 2 January, 2014 - 05:48
The Indian state of Odisha is located in the remote north-east of the country, many miles beyond the usual Westerners’ ‘tourist trail’ and in many ways cut off from the rest of India. However young men and women from Odisha have for some years now been making the long journey south to study Buddhism and social work at the Nagarjuna Training Institute (NTI), Triratna’s training campus in Nagpur, and the first graduates have now begun returning home to begin the long process of establishing Buddhism and Triratna in their home state.
Vivekaratna, Nagaloka’s Director, writes - “Odisha, and their region of the state, Bolangir, are considered to be one of the poorest regions of the world. The region is beset with poverty, violence, scarcity, and deprivation. But now the NTI alumni are slowly and gradually developing a Buddhist movement for peace and justice in the region. And on 27 December they were delighted to welcome Dhammachari Lokamitra, who inaugurated their first four-day residential retreat. The retreat, on the theme of “Buddhism and Social Transformation”, is held under the auspices of the Kalingamitra Trust, the organisation formed by the NTI alumni to teach and propagate Buddhism and the teachings of Dr. Ambedkar in Odisha. The name Kalinga is the ancient name of Odisha, the place where the Emperor Ashoka fought his last and most bloody war and realised futility of violence, leading directly to his conversion to Buddhism”.
The retreat is part-funded by a grant from Triratna’s Karuna Trust, as part of its new ‘Dhamma Seed Fund’ which makes small ‘start-up’ grants to new Dhamma projects in India. This year, the second year of the Fund, Karuna was able to make grants of £10,000 to 6 projects, chosen from 11 applications totalling £39,000. We hope to feature more stories from Seed Fund partners in the future.